February 1, 2011
Roberta Spalter-Roth and Nicole Van Vooren recently wrote a Footnotes article on sociology PhDs employed in non-academic positions. (See “Should New PhDs Consider Non-Academic Careers?”). Given that last year’s Job Bank Survey showed that junior sociologists faced a difficult job market, the article asks if there any signs of movement within the sociological community to encourage new sociology PhDs to consider and pursue professional sociological careers in research, practice, or policy outside of the academy?
This year, we will be conducting a new survey of non-academic PhDs, the planning of which will include a focus group here in DC this spring to discuss what issues and questions should be in the subsequent questionnaire. ASA members are also encouraged to send suggestions to email@example.com.
February 17, 2010
A QUESTION F OUR READERS: Why are bachelors and masters sociology degree holders dissatisfied with the career preparation and advising at their institutions? Should this be the responsibility of faculty members?
A little background from ASA’s survey findings…
In a 2005 survey, sociology majors evaluating their undergraduate programs reported that they were least satisfied with the quality of career advising. Graduates of terminal masters programs expressed the same dissatisfaction when asked to evaluated aspects of their program in a 2009 survey. Why?
When we first surveyed seniors in the sociology major in 2005, as part of a longitudinal study on sociology baccalaureates, nearly three quarters of the cohort reported that they intended to exclusively work and not going to graduate school within 12 months of graduating, although 50 percent reported actually being employed (some while also attending graduate school) when surveyed again in 2007. See our research briefs on initial findings from the Bachelors and Beyond Survey, and the 2007 follow-up report, “What Are They Doing With a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology?“.
When looking at graduate programs, we find that a significant number enter masters programs in sociology for vocational reasons, as reported by the ASA Task Force on the Masters Degree in Thinking About the Master’s Degree in Sociology: Academic, Applied, Professional, and Everything in Between. In a 2009 survey of directors of graduate programs, one third of 122 responding departments offering a terminal master’s degrees in sociology had a professional, applied, or clinical track. (See “What Can I Do with a Master’s in Sociology? The Department as Context”). Almost 60 percent of masters graduates responding to our student survey in that same year said that they enrolled in a masters program with the expectations of obtaining a better job, and about 43 percent of respondents said that they did not expect to pursue a PhD or other graduate training, at least within the foreseeable future. (See “Paying Attention to the Master’s Degree in Sociology.”)
What explains this dissatisfaction?
We invite readers to share their opinions, experiences, and comments on this issue by clicking on Add Comment at the end of this post.
Note: do not provide personal information if you wish to remain anonymous.
June 3, 2009
We have added a new page to the ASA website on the Bachelor’s and Beyond Survey. Visit http://www.asanet.org/research/bacc_survey.cfm to learn more about the longitudinal study of sociology BAs from the class of 2005, view findings, and download briefs and questionnaires.