Being a tenure-track professor is not the only career available at a university for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars. According to recent findings in 2014, the number of non-academic administrative positions at U.S. colleges & universities has doubled in the last 25 years. It is not uncommon for PhDs, who spent most of their professional career in academia, to transition to a more administrative role in the university. Examples of academic administration positions include: admissions, grant writing & fundraising, public affairs and communications, and student services. Read publications like the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed to keep up with the current issues that universities are facing and the roles that administrators play in their resolution.
Connect with Yale Alums in Academic Administration
An excellent way to learn about careers in academic administration is to talk to alums who have chosen this path! Be sure to explore Cross Campus and LinkedIn to identify alumni to connect with. In addition, many Yale GSAS alums have shared their experience in academic administration though our GSAS and Postdoc Community Spotlights, including:
- Tom Magaldi, PhD Genetics: Administrator of Career and Professional Development at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Amy Hodge, PhD Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry: Science Data Librarian for Stanford University Libraries
- Dina Dommett, PhD Italian: Director of Student & Programme Services at Oxford Saïd Business School
- Leigh Harris, PhD English Language and Literature: Associate Director of UCLA Writing Program
Learn from Current Academic Administrators @Yale
Holding informational interviews is a terrific way to learn more a career path and build your professional network.
- Click here to connect with administrators with PhDs at Yale who have volunteered to discuss their experience with GSAS students and postdocs.
- Participate in the Yale Graduate and Professional Student Senate‘s Academic Administration Mentorship Program. Look out for the call for applications during the academic year!
Selected Online Resources
There are numerous additional resources to learn about career paths in academic administration, including Individual Development Plan online tools, academic association websites, and publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education. Get started with this sample of online resources:
- Versatile PhD: Narratives by PhDs on their job search in academic administration, resume examples, panel discussions, and a jobs board.
- Imagine PhD: Career exploration resources for Higher Education Administration and Human Services jobs (including industry and university settings); online networking and training resources; and targeted cover letter and resume examples.
- ChemIDP: Roles and responsibilities; duties; jobs boards; and profiles for university Academic Professional staff
- “So, You Think You Want to Be an Administrator?” – Insidehighered.com
- “Admin 101” series – Chronicle of Higher Education
- Career Diversity for Historians: Career Paths, American Historial Association
- “A Humanities Ph.D. Finds Her Niche in Administration“, Chronicle of Higher Education
Gain Relevant Experience in Academic Administration
- Try a job simulation through InterSect Job Simulations for university administration careers: “Career Advising“, “Develop and Market a Program“, and “Project Summary for a Research Experience“
- Apply to be a McDougal Graduate Student Fellow or GSAS Professional Experience Fellow.
- Take a leadership position in one of Yale’s graduate student organizations; many of these roles involve communications and collaboration with university stakeholders.