With the lowest reported number of job openings for historians since the 1980s, it is a hard time to have a history Ph.D.
The American Historical Association reported a 12 percent decrease in full-time job listings on its site from the previous hiring season, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. From June 2016 to June 2017, there were only 501 full-time job listings — the lowest amount since 1984-1985.
In the 1980s, there were only approximately 600 history Ph.D graduates annually. Now, there is an estimated 1,100 new history Ph.D graduates per year.
This is the third consecutive year in which the AHA has reported a decline in job listings, according to Inside Higher Ed. Since 2011-2012, the number of job listings has decreased 45 percent from the reported 1,064 listings during that hiring season.
Not every specialization saw uniform decrease in job opportunities, though. While job opportunities in Latin American, North American, or World History have all remained approximately the same, African and Middle Eastern history have taken the largest hits with a 50 percent decrease.
Penn's history program has consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, with College Factual placing it number four out of 615 nationwide. However, the number of undergraduate history majors at Penn has declined. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of students graduating with a BA in history dropped from 150 to 103. There were also a slew of faculty departures from the program in the last decade. More than nine faculty members left the department between 2008 to 2015.
History Ph.Ds are not the only ones in the humanities taking a hit. Inside Higher Ed added that the Modern Language Association also reported a decline in job listings for those specializing in English or foreign languages.
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