New UK Course Prepares PhDs for the Realities of a Crowded Job Market

In a recent article in the journal Nature Biotechnology, University of Kentucky Assistant Professor Nathan Vanderford and doctoral candidate Heather Norman-Burgdolf describe a course developed to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows be prepared for the realities of the job market.

Every year, doctoral graduates enter the job market in search of tenure-track professorship positions at universities throughout the world. Unfortunately, the number of new Ph.D. recipients increases each year while openings for current and new professors fail to keep pace.

As a result, it often takes years for many doctoral graduates to land a tenure-track position at a college or university or before deciding to look for work outside of a university setting. When they finally do decide to look for work outside of academia, they often find their graduate training has not adequately prepared them for the demands of the job market.

With support from the UK Graduate School and the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, the course titled, “Preparing Future Professionals,” is open to all students regardless of their training stage and offers instruction on basic skill sets needed on a competitive job market, such as how to leverage transferable skills obtained in doctoral training for any number of career paths and how to prepare for job applications and interviews.

Vanderford hopes this course will fill the gaps in current doctoral training.

“Many institutions are not providing basic work readiness training to their PhDs and finally this issue is gaining international attention from top academic scientists. I believe that it is important to disseminate what UK is doing to address the issue,” Vanderford said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or allison.perry@uky.edu