Careers in CEEES
Deciding to pursue a graduate degree, particularly a Ph.D., is a big decision that should be taken seriously. While your primary reason for pursuing further studies should probably be to expand your knowledge base and work in a discipline you are passionate about, at the same time it is reasonable to ask what the future might hold for you in terms of a career. Most people think that pursuing a Ph.D. is setting the track for an academic position as a professor at a university. In the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences we currently have around 90 Ph.D. students at any given time and while several do pursue further academic interests post-Ph.D., not all do. So a natural question is: where do our graduates end up?
Based on recent graduation statistics, short term, about two thirds of our graduating Ph.D. students continue in some sort of academic research position, with the majority (50%) working as postdoctoral research scholars, both at universities and government research labs, here in the United States and abroad; a smaller number directly obtain adjunct (8%) and assistant professorships (8%). In today’s competitive environment it is rare to get a faculty position at a top university, without some postdoctoral experience and so these numbers should be considered normal for a top level research university. The remaining one third of students typically pursue successful careers in industry (e.g. consulting, the insurance sector, structural engineering, hydrogeology, water management, staff geologist) the nonprofit sector (museums and charitable organizations) or government, including military.
Long term the numbers change a little with approximately one third remaining in academic positions at universities, one third working in government (including research positions at National labs) and nonprofits and the final third working in private industry.