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Ph.D. and then what?

When I started with my PhD in autumn 2006, I’ve been told that it is fantastic to become an educational researcher, because Britain would need several thousand new educational researchers within the next 5 to 6 years. This was then.
Now our faculties are reduced by about 50% some more some less. The country has not yet understood that education can be an enterprise too, and that projects do not always need millions to become sustainable, and most of all education is the foundation of a society.
The job chances are bleak, particularly in Scotland and I am sitting in front of my dissertation writing up, and wondering every single day: why the heck did I start this?*

Going back to Germany would even be worse. 130.000 Prof.-Dr.-titles circle over 38.000 professorial positions (, and the newly introduced Junior Professorships go to not so junior anymore and vastly over-qualified senior academics, who are desperate for work.
My family calls me because they read in the newspaper that some universities are desperate for academics in educational sciences. However, the newspapers forget to print that these positions are usually contracts of about a year or so … and then what?

After I spend some weeks fretting and brooding, keeping in mind the business plan and the logo for my company that lay ready to go in my office desk, I went to the career service. This is what came out of it. I could become a:

Policy Advisor
Curriculum Developer
Work for an Education Publisher
Work for a Conference Planning Company
Education Ministry
Museums Pedagogue
Divers Roles within Charities

So far I am only sending out applications to jobs that I really want to do. Principally, I think one should never do otherwise. However, this also means it takes much longer to find a job, and the payment is not always the best.

Any ideas or suggestions for jobs are welcome.

*I am just ranting. Of course I know why I did it, and I love my research and my data. Yet, sometimes when looking at the quickly decreasing number of photographs on our staff board – I wonder.

Categories: Teaching

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Nathalie Sheridan

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