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Stories from the Field details the narratives and numbers that give voice to some of the conditions and futures facing today’s UC humanities PhDs. In Stories from the Field, Humanists@Work charts the economic outcomes and career trajectories for humanities PhDs against those of their peers in other disciplines, drawing conclusions from data gathered by quantitative surveys and qualitative focus groups of UC PhD alumni. At a moment when a global pandemic puts unprecedented pressure on the infrastructures of graduate education in the humanities, Stories from the Field offers alumni reflections on the meaning of humanities doctoral education and its impact in a broad field of professional environments.

Stories from the Field combines data from two UC-wide projects centered on graduate education in the humanities: 

Doctoral Survey. The UC Office of the President (UCOP) and Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) conducted a broad survey of UC doctoral cohorts (representing years 2001-2, 2002-3, 2008-9, 2009-10, 2013-14, and 2014-15). This effort to survey alumni is part of a national effort to better understand how existing graduate education and professionalization prepares (or not!) doctoral students for a range of post-graduate careers.

Alumni Focus Groups. Throughout 2019, Humanists@Work conducted 6 PhD focus groups and 3 in-depth interviews with UC PhD alumni working outside the professoriate. Alumni had much to say about their doctoral training and experiences in graduate school.

Although the Stories from the Field data booklet contains many data points to consider, we weren’t able to include all of the interesting thoughts we heard from speaking with alumni. To learn more about the data outcomes, visit UC Humanists and Work. Of note, “Collected Musings” includes key quotes and anecdotes from UC alumni, including a fascinating list of “anti-skills” that alumni focus group participants discussed behind closed doors.