Princeton University
Princeton Survey Research Center

Woodrow Wilson School

Consultation Education Project Management

Mellon PhD Survey

In 1990 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation undertook a decade-long program aimed at increasing financial aid available to graduate students in the humanities, helping them complete their PhDs and encouraging departments to improve the programs they offered.

As part of the effort to evaluate the Mellon initiative, in 2003 the Foundation conducted a survey of graduate students concerning their experiences as they pursued PhDs. Researchers learned a great deal about what it took to complete the degree and the departmental attributes associated with completion. The results of their analysis are reported in a book, Educating Scholars: Doctoral Education in the Humanities, which was published in 2009.

When the original survey was done, however, many survey participants had not been in the job market long enough to provide meaningful insights on such crucial matters as getting tenure track positions and tenure itself. Since then, widespread concern has developed among new PhDs, graduate students, faculty members and administrators about the difficult job market and the logic of preparing young scholars for the professoriate when they may have trouble finding positions they want.

Unfortunately, very little systematic evidence has been gathered from those with PhDs in the humanities about the career paths they have followed and when, if ever, they found jobs they considered appropriate. The Foundation has developed this follow-up survey in order to collect more complete information about those experiences. The survey is being conducted by the Survey Research Center at Princeton University. For more about the findings from the earlier research and how it can be applied, please click here.

Please be assured that the responses you provide to this survey will be kept completely confidential. You can skip any questions you do not wish to answer. We hope that you will participate in this follow-up survey, even if you did not participate in the 2003 survey, so that your thoughts and experiences can be represented in our analyses. If you have questions regarding the survey, please contact Margaret Orlando at the Survey Research Center toll-free at 866-386-0478 or by email at