Archive for the 'Start Here' Category

What are we doing here?

While this is a question most graduate students might ask themselves at various points in the 8 years it takes to complete a PhD in the humanities (about the national average), it’s really about this corner of the internet. What are we doing here, at Alternative PhD?

If you’re an alternative academic or hold a PhD and non-T-T job (in or outside of academe)…

I (and the grad students I know) are very interested to hear about exactly how people have made the transition to non-traditional academic paths from their PhD programs. We’re steeped in the dire statistics of the job markets, we’re interested in learning about our options, but it’s sometimes hard for us to see the next step. I think we (grad students in this kind of position) could really learn a lot by just seeing how other people have made their choices and negotiated this path.

I think that having guest contributors would be a great way to share these kinds of experiences/professional profiles. If you would be interested in writing something for me to formally share on the blog, that would be really fantastic. Or, if you had some tips/advice/guidelines for grad students, that would be wonderful, too — even just a brief bullet list of ideas would be a great starting point.

My biggest incentive is to meet the needs of grad students. I have found some fantastic resources about translating the PhD into other fields (such as The Versatile PhD), but it seems to be me that grad students are in a unique position, wondering about questions like:

  • Should I even finish the PhD if my heart’s not on a T-T job?
  • I have a few years while finishing the dissertation. What can I be doing to make myself  more attractive to non-traditional academic jobs or jobs outside of academe?
  • How can I negotiate dealing with advisors and departments if I’m not going on the academic job market? Who can I tell?

If you are a graduate student asking yourself questions like these…

Email me! I would love to hear from other graduate students: What questions so you have? What are you interested in learning about? What would be useful for you? (I will be creating new pages devoted to job/fellowship opportunities and online communities.)

And finally, thank you!

I’m overwhelmed with the support I’m finding online, and am so appreciative that perfect strangers are excited and willing to support a project like this. (Especially when my own department has essentially turned its back — something I partially understand, but still think is the wrong attitude in our current job climate/humanities crisis).

Thank you.

alternativephd [at] gmail [dot] com


Hello world!


If you are a graduate student considering nontraditional career paths either within or outside of academia, you are among friends. If you have a PhD and have followed your own path, you are among people who need your support and insight.

Here, “alternative academic” isn’t a dirty word.

Here, making valuable contributions to the world at large isn’t limited by the number of articles you’ve published or how many courses you teach.

Here, intellectual collaboration and exchange is something that can take place dynamically and in real time, not just in classrooms or between the pages of an academic journal that takes years to see the light of day.

Here, we can learn to negotiate and embrace the changing nature of doctoral research, humanities training, and scholarly communication instead of closing our eyes and pretending it isn’t happening.

Here, we can share resources, stories, dreams, and fears without dismissal, judgment, or guilt.


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