Transitions to Work

Careers after the PhD

Our PhDs have been highly successful on the job market.

Of the department’s 66 new PhDs during the period 2006-2015, two-thirds of graduates preferring academic employment currently hold tenured or tenure-track academic positions. Most of the others work in governmental or NGO positions related to their PhD training. (More recent PhDs are not included here because new PhDs often take from 1-3 years to enter tenure-track academic jobs. Some hold postdoctoral fellowships; some teach in temporary positions; and some remain on campus in various capacities.)

Many UBC PhDs from 2006-present hold tenured or tenure track positions at major universities in North America and elsewhere–including University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Western Ontario, York University, University of Ottawa, University of Calgary, University of Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, University of Essex, Sophia University, National University of Singapore, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Ritsumeikan University, University of Sheffield, Queensland University, Simon Fraser University, MacEwan University, University of Fraser Valley, University of Manitoba, Memorial University, McMaster University, and Cardiff University.

PhDs from 2014 to the present currently hold or have held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, University of Toronto, Queens University, Oxford University, Duke University, and others.

Some UBC PhDs have taken positions with government agencies, NGOs, or private-sector employers—including Statistics Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, the US Department of Defense Asia-Pacific Center, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Deutschebank (London), and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, among others.

Computing a placement rate: the best measure of the placement rate is a 10-year moving average, with the last 3 years dropped, as more students graduate into postdocs rather than TT positions. This measure has the advantage of covering a decent time range, and using a large number of observations, so year-to-year fluctuations can be minimized. By this measure, we take the 2006-2015 graduates and compute as follows for our current placement rate:

Number of graduates: 66

Number preferring academic employment: 53

Proportion preferring academic employment: 80%

Number placed in TT-equiv. positions: 36

Placement rate: 68%

Careers after the MA

Our MA students have been highly successful in pursuing both academic and non-academic careers.

In recent years, approximately one-third of MA graduates from our program have gone on to pursue a PhD. Many have been offered PhD admission at US institutions such as Duke University, University of California San Diego, University of Michigan, Brown University, John Hopkins University, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin; many have been admitted at Canadian institutions, such as University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and Queen’s University; and some have been admitted to programs outside North American such as Cambridge University.

Many of our MA graduates have gone on to careers in the worlds of policy, politics, and NGOs. Past MA students have taken jobs as policy analysts, planners, data analysts, researchers, and consultants. They have gone on to work for government agencies, NGOs, and private sector employers including the United Nations Development Program, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, Statistics Canada, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority, the City of Vancouver, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

  • Data for 52 MA graduates May 2015 – Sept 2018:
    • 31% pursued PhDs in Political Science
    • 21% pursued government/policy-related positions (e.g. legislative intern, policy analyst)
    • 21% in NGO/private/corporate positions (e.g., as analyst, educator)
    • 15% in academic administration
    • 5% in international research-related positions
    • 4% pursued law degrees
    • 2% pursued MBA degree