Public Pathways: Lessons about PhD Careers from 10 Years of Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows provides insights into potential PhD career paths through the lens of the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program (2011–2022)—a postdoctoral fellowship that placed nearly 200 humanities and interpretive social sciences PhDs in two-year positions in a variety of government and nonprofit organizations across the United States.

Conversations with past fellows and graduate career professionals revealed that the descriptions of fellowship positions themselves were useful examples of future roles, and aided in career exploration, so, in concert with advice and recommendations in the report itself and resources from our member societies, this page features example versions of past job postings from the fellowship. The positions were taken up by fellows across the humanities and interpretive social sciences, from theatre history and criticism to English, German studies, and history. They offer insight into some roles where fellows were able to make an impact and develop professionally. These are just a few examples of the roles humanities PhDs have thrived in and can serve as a starting point for exploring the wide range of jobs outside of academia.

What an incredible advantage it is in the non-academic world to have rigorous academic training. And I don’t necessarily mean subject matter expertise. […] I’m regularly surprised at how much my ability to harness the kind of skill set that I had as an academic comes in extremely handy in all sorts of contexts that I wouldn’t have guessed.

Michael Tiboris, F’15 at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs
now Clear Water Farms director at the River Alliance of Wisconsin

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