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Beyond the PhD – resource for Arts and Humanities research students

by Fiona Christie on February 4, 2009

This is a guest post from Julia Horn at the University of Reading who has developed a new resource for PhDs in the Arts and Humanities.

Moving on from an arts and humanities PhD is so often a double edged experience. The familiar task of writing the thesis will be replaced by something else – but what? Will it be postdoctoral research, university teaching, or something outside academia? For postgraduate researchers who are ready to explore the possibilities of life beyond the PhD, or who just want some motivation, Beyond the PhD, which is freely accessible via the internet, is a useful starting point.

Conceived and developed at the Centre for Career Management Skills (CCMS) at the University of Reading, Beyond the PhD brings together audio interviews, video discussions and articles. The website offers a rare opportunity to listen in on the experiences of people from across the UK, at different ages and stages of life, who have been through their PhD in an arts and humanities discipline and made the transition into a variety of work beyond it. Their candid personal reflections on facing challenges, responding to opportunities and reaching decisions are captured in almost 300 searchable audio clips.

In addition to autobiographical material, this site features articles that offer personal perspectives on issues relating to PhD researchers and their career development. Beyond the PhD also features a collection of video clips of small group discussions about similar issues from a professional perspective. Careers advisers discuss the nature of career guidance and what PhD researchers might expect to gain from it. Academic skills trainers discuss the government agenda for skills training for postgraduates in the arts and humanities and how this is being realised in universities.

Beyond the PhD is a good place to explore possible career paths within and outside academia, but it aims to complement rather than replace the existing support for PhD researchers. A select list of online and print resources is also available via our links page.

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