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Placement and Process to Degree

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At the core of its mission, the Graduate Center English Ph.D. program strives to prepare its students for positions—both inside and outside of the Academy—that emphasize the talents that they acquired during their graduate work: quality research and scholarship, deeply analytical reading abilities, thoughtful and thought-provoking writing, skillful teaching talents, and committed, purposeful service to an intellectual community.  In combination these talents shape the personalities and careers that make the life of the mind, the labors of the scholar, and the love of teaching so valuable and worth it. 
While Placement in a faculty position (or an alternative intellectual employment) designates the important "final product" of the Ph.D. candidate, the process by which to achieve the abilities that will "land that job" demands an attention to work-in-progress that students will do throughout their advancement in the Ph.D. program.  Scholarship remains at the heart of this endeavor, and students should focus their efforts on the research and composing so crucial to academic life, yet they must also consider how they will circulate their research among their peers in their professional fields, apply their knowledge to real life social issues, share their expertise with less-experienced students, and improve the educational conditions to which they have dedicated themselves.
As with most Placement sites, this webpage celebrates the achievements of our Ph.D. students who have graduated from the GC English program but, equally, it provides resources for students who currently aspire to finding a position after completing the doctoral degree.  It describes the mentoring, workshops, and online tutorials that the program hopes will answer some of students' inquiries or, at least, provoke them to ask more questions.  Additionally, we hope that students hoping to join our Ph.D. program will recognize the scaffolded and ongoing support that we provide Ph.D. candidates as they work towards their degrees. 
Below you will find a worldwide map that shows the educational institutions where graduates of our program have found themselves.

Placement Events and Activities

Throughout the academic year, the Ph.D. program—under the advisement and participation of the Placement Committee—offers a variety of panel discussions,  workshops, and  mentoring opportunities for students preparing to go on the job market.  These include:

  • A mid-summer dossier writing workshop (with guided peer review)
  • A late-August/early-September dossier review of job letters, CVs, and teaching statements
  • Autumn panel discussions and group workshops about Placement protocols and strategies
  • September mock interviews for potential candidates on the market
  • Subsequent mock job talks for candidates who have campus visits
  • Individual mentoring with advisors and/or the DEO, Placement/Process-to-Degree

In the Spring semester as candidates discover their placement possibilities, the program continues to provide advisement about job interview activity and/or contract negotiations.

Process to Degree

Students on the job market will have the most vested interests in the workshops and resources offered by our Placement efforts, but students who intend to apply in the next year may also want to do some preliminary investigation about their preparedness for the job market. While they should continue to devote the majority of their time to pursuing their own research and scholarship, a moment to pause and self-evaluate about the status of their current publications, their professional conferences, their teaching activities, and their service to their intellectual communities may serve as a useful introspection about what lies ahead of them and how they have prepared for their professional futures. They may want to revisit documents such as the CV and teaching statements as well as brainstorm a first draft of their job market cover letter. (With the first-year portfolio exam, students may have produced some texts that act as points of departure for this dossier work.) Students may also refer to Sample Paths to Degree to consider the trajectories of their Ph.D. and professional endeavors.

• Students preparing for the job market should join the English Ph.D. Placement listserv where the program posts positions, discusses matters related to the job market, and answers related questions. Since it only fields questions about English Studies, the listserv is reserved only for English Ph.D. students. To subscribe, email Nancy Silverman, APO, English Ph.D. Program.

• Students can also seek guidance and sign up for employment-related workshops at the Office of Career Planning & Professional Development (3300.08) or visit their website.

• During the semester, the English Ph.D. program offers numerous hands-on workshops and panel discussions related to the job market. You may also find information and online tutorials about various topics at the following links: