Advertised job openings vs number of new history PhD’s


The humanities PhD is still a vocational degree to prepare students for a career teaching in academia, and there are no jobs. Do not get a PhD in history.

Look, I get it. Of all the people on AskHistorians, I get it. You don’t “love history;” you love history with everything in your soul and you read history books outside your subfield for fun and you spend 90% of your free time trying to get other people to love history as much as you do, or even a quarter as much, or even just think about it for a few minutes and your day is made. I get it.

You have a professor who’s told you you’re perfect to teach college. You have a professor who has assured you you’re the exception and will succeed. You have a friend who just got their PhD and has a tenure track job at UCLA. You don’t need an R1 school; you just want to teach so you’d be fine with a small, 4-year liberal arts college position.

You’ve spent four or six subsistence-level years sleeping on an air mattress and eating poverty burritos and working three part-time jobs to pay for undergrad. You’re not worried about more. Heck, a PhD stipend looks like a pay raise. Or maybe you have parents or grandparents willing to step in, maybe you have no loans from undergrad to pay back.