More Bad News on the PhD Job Market

I hate watching game shows where people have already won a certain amount of money, and then they’re asked to risk it all for the chance to win even more. No matter the odds they always seem to go for it. Idiots. I find myself torn between the desire to yell at the TV or go find my daughters and explain things like logic, odds, and financial management. Usually I just turn off the TV and get a book.

job market for PhDs teachingUnfortunately, pursuing a Ph.D. in today’s job market feels a lot like this. It’s not that you can’t win. But the odds are not in your favor.

Last month I posted some troubling statistics on the realities of the academic job market in the U.S. (see How Bad Is the Job Market for PhDs?). But those statistics covered doctoral programs across all fields of study. So, if you’re interested in the specifically Christian fields, those stats were a bit too broad.

Now I have better stats.

Last week I heard a presentation that included the most recent statistics from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). ATS represents 261 graduate theological schools in North America, including almost all of the largest programs. (Liberty and Wheaton are the notable exceptions.) So, although this data doesn’t cover every school, it should be fairly representative. And, if you’re thinking about pursuing a Ph.D., you should know at least two things:

1. Enrollment at theological schools has declined steadily since 2006

It should come as no surprise that hiring at theological schools depends entirely on enrollment. No new students, few new hires. So a steady decline is bad news for the job market. And ATS is expecting to see another 1-2% decline for the current academic year.

There’s always the chance that someone will die (please don’t pray for this; it’s not nice) or retire. But today’s faculty are waiting longer to retire and are more likely to continue working part time even after they retire. So that’s limiting the number of positions becoming available through attrition.

And adding to the challenge, today’s students take fewer credits on average than students in the past. So, even if a school reports that its overall enrollment has grown, it’s entirely possible that the actual number of credits taught has still gone down. That’s not good if you’re looking for a job.

2. Theological schools are hiring half the new faculty they were two years ago

In 2008 ATS schools hired 420 new faculty. In 2009 they hired 339. By 2010 the number was down to 226. That’s an almost 50% decrease in just two years.

That number, by the way, includes anyone who had previously worked at a non-ATS school, which would qualify as a “new hire” in ATS terms. So the actual number of new PhDs hired by ATS schools in 2010 is probably less than 200.

That becomes a problem when you consider the number of new PhDs produced every year. ATS schools alone graduate over 400 new doctoral students every year. Add in the students graduating from non-ATS schools (including all of the overseas programs) and you begin to see the shape of the market.

So what does this mean if you are considering a PhD or you’re already in a doctoral program?

1. There are jobs out there

226 isn’t a great number, but it’s better than nothing. And, if these stats are correct, it means that the PhD job market at theological schools is still probably better than the PhD job market overall (100,000 new doctoral degrees for 16,000 new professorships).

2. It will take you longer to find a job

Of course, this won’t be true for everyone. Some will cross into the promised land of higher education right away, sowing seeds of jealousy among their unemployed peers. But you must be prepared for your job search to take longer than in years past. That means you need to give some thought to how you’re going to sustain yourself in the meantime. And, if you’re determined to continue pursuing a job in higher education, you need a plan for staying current in your field so that you are still marketable two or three years down the road.

3. You’re less likely to land a full-time job.

Fewer students taking fewer credits. That’s a recipe for fewer full-time positions. I was actually a bit surprised to see that the ratio of full-time to part-time professors at ATS  schools has stayed the same over the last decade. But I don’t expect that to hold for long. Higher education in general has shifted massively in the direction of hiring more part-time faculty, and I’ll be surprised if theological education doesn’t follow suit, though not to the same extent/

4. You should consider other avenues for teaching

You may not find a job in higher education. It’s as simple as that. But I always encourage my students to remember that teaching is the goal, location is the variable. So get creative and consider other ways of using your training (e.g. churches, parachurch organizations, overseas teaching, etc.).

5. Think long and hard before starting a doctoral program

This should be obvious, but I couldn’t end without saying it.



44 Responses to “More Bad News on the PhD Job Market”

  1. Brian LePort February 9, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Are you smiling at your desk giggling at the rest of us?! :)

  2. Marc Cortez February 9, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    I am now!

  3. jim February 9, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    i disagree with your sorrow. here’s why-

  4. Steve Giese, Ph.D. February 9, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Exacerbating the hunt for teaching positions for those who hold doctorates is that many colleges and seminaries tend to favor, quite naturally, grads from their own institutions, after all, they are groomed toward that institution’s teachings and they are a known entity. Furthermore, depending where you earn your Ph.D., you might very well “appear” to be a poor choice at another seminary or college that teaches contrary doctrinal positions. For example, how many Reformed schools are going to want a Dispensationally trained Ph.D. and conversely, how many Dispensational schools are going to hire folks trained in Reformed theology? All this to say, choose your school and degree focus with some thought as to how that school and degree plan will stamp you in the future.

    Lastly, as a frined of mine once said, entering into a doctoral program, graduating and finding a job often requires super human powers, like the ability to leap over tall buildings. Unless you feel truly called and nothing in the world can change your mind, don’t waste your time and money.

    His grace to you,

    Steve Giese, Ph.D.

    • David Layman September 4, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      “Unless you feel truly called and nothing in the world can change your mind, don’t waste your time and money.”

      As a “full-time part-time” college teacher since 1994, that’s all that needs to be said.

  5. Dwight Davis February 9, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Every time I read blogs like this I get a little bit terrified. I’m a master’s student hoping to do Ph.D work in the next few years and I keep hearing that it may be useless for me to do so. I feel I have a calling to academic ministry. I guess it all just comes down to the sovereignty of God.

    • Steve Giese, Ph.D. February 9, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      As for my comments on the matter, I would only suggest that you be very cognizant of what you are getting into. It might well be that you will end up with a Ph.D. and no place to excercise that level of knowledge, at least not in an institution of higher learning. If it’s the knowledge you are seeking, that can be obtained apart from a formal doctoral program and you will save a considerable amount of money! If you wish to teach in and institution of higher learning, you will need the Ph.D. Just know that jobs are hard to come by and that you might very well end up working in an unrelated field.

      His grace to you,

      Steve Giese, Ph.D.

    • Gary Shogren February 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      Hi Dwight, When I took my PhD in the 80s, the market was just starting to get tight, and I pastored and taught part-time before I got my first full-time position. I wouldn’t have traded those experiences for anything.

      My advice is to remember the truth that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” For me that means that on Judgment Day I’ll be judged as a person with a PhD and I guess you will be too. It’s harder and harder to get a traditional post in a seminary, but there are always avenues to employ your training. You will find those ways, if you don’t wait around for God to give you the job you are thinking of (and I say this as someone who believes in divine sovereignty!) and if you are willing to have your vision stretched beyond traditional limits.

  6. Marc Cortez February 9, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Dwight, that’s why I always hesitate to write these posts. I feel that I need to get the information out there and make sure that everyone is informed as they make their decisions. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t move forward. You just have to do it with your eyes open.

    And I still say that more of us need to keep open the possibility of teaching in different venues. I’m sure that God calls some people specifically to higher education. But I think that many are like me – we love to teach and we’d be happy to do it just about anywhere. If that’s the case, then you continue training to be a teacher while remaining open to where that might be.

  7. Marc Cortez February 9, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Steve, I absolutely agree that if you want to pursue a job in higher education, you absolutely need to pick a doctoral program based on the kind of school that you’d like to teach at. (Of course, with the job market being so competitive, that’s a bit like picking the homes that I’d like to buy once I’ve won the lottery.) Every doctoral program opens some doors and closes others.

    • Steve Giese, Ph.D. February 9, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      Amen,Marc, but what happens sometimes, I am speaking from experience, is that you choose a school you respect and would be thrilled to work at, but over the course of your studies, your convictions end up being somewhat different than the institution you chose to attend. As in my case, I, being a bit naive, chose a Dispensational school with Arminian leanings and came out the other end with Reformed convictions. As such, Dispensationists look at me as the guy that switched camps and the Reformed folks look at me as the guy from that other camp. Since hires are few and far between with lots of qualified candidates, the tendency is to pick a purebred. As Dwight suggested, the sovereignty and providence of God is at play, we just have to remain moldable to God’s perfect purpose for our lives and that sometimes requires more muturity than we prefer to exercise :o)

      His grace to you,

      Steve Giese, Ph.D.

    • Steve Giese, Ph.D. February 9, 2012 at 10:29 am #

      If I may, I will toss in this quote from an article I read a while back, I apologize for not knowing the source, but I think the comments are interesting and perhaps even informative to those considering doctoral studies. After the quote, I will also toss in a link to a worthy article on the matter:

      “As to where to go for doctoral work, going outside your denomination’s tradition can both help and hurt you. For instance in my own denomination, Wesleyans who go from Indiana Wesleyan to Asbury Seminary to get an M.Div and D.Min might be considered too parochial with not enough exposure to the broader world of theological pursuits. O the other hand, if you go from Southern Wesleyan to Gordon-Conwell for your M.Div then on to Princeton for the PhD, you will get more theological scrutiny and may be considered “tainted.” There are places where you won’t even make the first cut if you boast a doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. Not because you didn’t learn—but because they won’t trust how your mind was bent there. So picking a school for your doctorate can frankly be a lose-lose proposition. Therefore, pick one and quit worrying. Pick one where you would like to study.” (END QUOTE)

      This link is probably well worth your time to read if you are considering a teaching career in higher education.

      His grace to you,

      Steve Giese, Ph.D.

  8. brian February 9, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I think it should be noted too more and more theological schools are going the adjucnt route to save money so they may have one (maybe two) full time tenured NT prof(s) (for example) but the rest will be adjuncts. That isn’t too good a job prospect either….

  9. Gary Shogren February 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Marc, these are serious and useful data, many thanks, I will use them.

    I once did a rough calculation and decided that, the US has 5% of the Christian population, but 90+% of the theological resources.

    And so, I have to ask: For whom is the job market this awful? For those who want to have the Dream Job – teaching in English, living in the suburbs, receiving a good salary and having a great library and with time off to do research. In that case, a PhD is not enough; get in line, and there are many superior people ahead of you. We could drain off half the theology PhDs in the US and spread the wealth around, and it probably wouldn’t make a bit of difference in the quality of seminary education. Please, let’s not rationalize that, “Well, we have a lot of needs here at home, too.”

    Alternatively, if people are willing to work in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese; willing to leave one’s comfort zone; willing to seek support; open to buying one’s own books; willing to work in the inner city or abroad; then it is absolutely a employees’ market.

    I taught in two institutions in the northeast US, then part-time in Romania and since 1998 full-time in Costa Rica, a country of 4 million with an evangelical population of close to a half million. Up until last year, if my stats are correct, I and another man were the only evangelicals teaching in this country who had PhDs in New Testament. I know of no-one in the entire country, native or foreign, with a PhD in Old Testament. I’m not talking about “no Reformed person” or “no expert in the Early Prophets”; I mean, nobody. I could multiply examples.

    Although I love what I do, this is no romantic crusade to educate the benighted, nor is it any job for someone with a Messiah complex. It is exhausting to teach in a second language, and for me that includes teaching Greek or Greek exegesis in Spanish. To do research, I have to finagle a combination of internet, purchases, faxes from friends in the US, and visits to Westminster Seminary (at best) once a year to make a pile of photocopies. I’ve written articles and two full commentaries (1 in English, 1 Spanish) in my spare time, plus theology blogs in two languages. I manage 50% more classroom hours than is common for a US professor, while also overseeing all of our graduate students. After a dozen years working in Spanish, I still have to ask someone to proof my handouts and PowerPoints. My institution (Seminario ESEPA) is very kind and generous, but they and I know that I have to be deployed more than full-time.

    The Bible, by the way, does not contain a verse that says one needs a special revelation to teach abroad, any more than one needs a vision to go to Seminary A or Seminary B. Teaching in one’s home country is no more the “default” option biblically than teaching abroad. All of these options are covered by the Great Commision.

    I dialogue with PhDs from North America and Europe who are considering working with us. Sometimes they balk because of the language, sometimes because of the finances. “I just finished a PhD and my family made many sacrifices; my wife will kill me if I bring up going abroad to teach.” There are many reasons for teaching in the US. Nevertheless, when I hear people complaining about the lack of jobs in the US, it strikes me the same way as do the pictures of starving children, while Americans wrestle with overeating. Theologically, we are overfed, while most of the world makes do with our leftovers.

    • Abu Daoud November 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

      Excellent post, and thank you very much for saying as much.

  10. Marc Cortez February 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Gary, you make a great point. It’s actually very similar to Jim West’s argument (see his link above) about seeing this as an opportunity to direct more of these theologically-minded people into the pastorate. If we can take this as an opportunity to get people thinking more actively about cross-cultural education or pastoral ministry, outstanding! But my concern here is the same as the one I expressed on Jim’s post. I’m not sure that it’s a win for the church (locally or globally) if we direct a bunch of people into ministries for which they are under-prepared (few, if any, PhD programs intentionally prepare students for cross-cultural education) and which really just serve as backup plans to their real dreams (idealistic though they might be). I think we absolutely need to help people catch a vision for cross-cultural education. But I wouldn’t want to encourage that as a backup plan for what people should do when they can’t get the job they really wanted.

    By the way, since you have quite a bit of experience with cross-cultural education, are you aware of any PhD programs that really take it as their mission to train people for that kind of ministry?

    • Gary Shogren February 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

      Wow, Marc, thanks for the quick response!

      I took your advice and looked at Jim’s post, very fine. Other pastor-theologians: Ignatius, Irenaeus, Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, etc. John Stott. It’s not appreciated that Calvin wrote his Institutes as a pastor, not a professor.

      Jim argues that if there are more theologians available, then the level of pastoral quality will rise. I would like to think so, but I’m not sure it plays out that way in reality. There already ARE surplus PhDs, and I doubt they are making an impact – but I live abroad and don’t know that for certain. Would Osteen’s church really swap him for a PhD? For one, they could do so now if they so wished. My guess is, Osteen’s church has Osteen because they want Osteen and not a Brainiac.

      I am not aware of PhD programs which include cross-cultural communication as part of the package. BUT neither am I aware of any that offer formal training in adult education, communication, multi-media, etc. PhD programs typically offer NO vocational training, and it shows. I have taken no formal training in cross-cultural work; I was not a missions guy in college or seminary. I wish I had taken more formal training, but all of the “missionary” preparation I got was through my sending agency, and also on the ground here.

      I absolutely agree that working in the Third World should not be an “ace in the hole” for people who can’t get jobs elsewhere. But, given the theological wealth in North America and the relative poverty elsewhere, shouldn’t that cause people to think that teaching abroad should be the first choice, and teaching in N America a back-up?

      By the way, one of the principal reasons we prefer not to send Latin students to seminary in the US is that they tend to get snapped up by US institutions to work in the Spanish-language division or, to put it honestly, to help fulfill “diversity” goals. This leads to serious brain drain – the country which had 1 talent has it taken away and given to the country who already had 10 talents.

      Again, thanks, I’m definitely reposting your article and sharing it with my students.

  11. Jennifer Dawn McLucas February 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    I immediately realize I’m out of my depth when I read so many profound comments and realize I’m still laughing about it not being nice to pray for someone to die. Ha!

    • Gary Shogren February 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      Jennifer, he’s not kidding, it has almost come down to that. Or “retire” at least.

  12. Gary Shogren February 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    BTW, to shameless plug my blogs:
    English –
    Spanish –
    Missionary –

  13. lisa February 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    In this discussion, please prayerfully consider the massive imbalance of resources–SO many pastors overseas need better training! Go invest for the glory of God! (Easier said than done, I know).

  14. Andreas Kostenberger February 10, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Come study with us in the Ph.D. program at Southeastern, we have an excellent placement record. If God called you, we can equip you to serve him. Contact Jake Pratt at or go to

  15. Marc Cortez February 10, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Gary, I’ve actually bumped into a number of doctoral programs lately that do include some element of educational training. (Unfortunately, I didn’t write them down.) There seems to be a significant trend, at least in US programs, away from the older (and still dominant) model of just training students in research/writing and toward a model that takes seriously the fact that quality teaching requires intentional training. As far as I can tell, those programs are still in the minority, but I expect to see that continue to change.

    And let me know if you ever run across any programs that take cross-cultural training seriously. I would definitely want to let people know about that.

    • Steve Giese, Ph.D. February 10, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Redeemer Theological Seminary in Dallas, a former extension seminary of WTS, seeks students interested in cross cultural ministry, and they are very interested in students from varied ethnic backgrounds. I would strongly encourage anyone considering a seminary education to give Redeemer a serious look.

      His grace to you,

      Steve Giese, Ph.D.

  16. Marc Cortez February 10, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Andreas, thanks for stopping by. I’ve heard good things about your program over there (even though you’re on the wrong coast!).

    • Carrie L. Bates February 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      I am just finishing an MA in English and Communication at a local university (SUNY). Originally, my Masters was going to be in New Testament and I was going to go to seminary, but family circumstances made it necessary to alter those plans. So I stayed home, got a full-time job, and have managed one grad class per semester. I had hoped to go on to do doctoral work in New Testament at seminary, with the goal of teaching at seminary, but new family circumstances have made it necessary to alter those plans, too. Now I am looking at a distance program in Classics (PhD) with the goal of teaching at one of the four secular colleges in our area, probably as an adjunct at two or three of them and supplementing my income by working as an independent educational consultant (tutoring and offering classes in critical thinking). I have made plans, God has diverted those plans, and I have adjusted. I am thrilled with the opportunity to further my education, and although the education I am receiving is not the one I had envisioned, it is just right. I research and write across disciplines, which I find enormously rewarding, and which would not have happened if I had entered the program I originally sought. I hope I function as salt and light on the campus in my current role as graduate student and that I would continue in that vein as an adjunct, or wonder of wonders, as a full-time tenure track professor should a position open once I am qualified.

  17. Myk Habets February 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Well if someone has a PhD in Old Testament, is an Evangelical, good in the classroom, has or wants to publish, and is Baptist (or baptistic), there is a superb job going at Carey Baptist College, Auckland, New Zealand! Google us and email the principal ASAP – it will be filled fast. :-)

    • Marc Cortez February 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Myk. I actually know someone who might be a great fit for that position. I’ll make sure they know about the opening.

  18. Tom Smedley February 14, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    I walked across the stage, tam on head and faux parchment in hand, in May of 2010. My degree in “Communication Studies” at Regent University put me $100K in debt, but allowed me to investigate things that have intrigued me for decades. It’s scary to see the debt balloon beyond reason, but you can’t jump a chasm in two hops. And if I did not get my PhD now, then when would I? My “dream job” would be teaching in exotic Silk Road lands — but my family isn’t on board with that dream, so I adjunct at a school 150 miles away. This story is still being told — for the second half of my adult life, I want to be a college professor, and now I have the credentials.

    BTW — the “take away” I take away from this article is — the need to continue researching and publishing, if I wish to stay current / marketable.

  19. Tyler Wittman April 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    As a PhD student myself, I hate seeing these statistics even if it is healthy to face them squarely. Truth is, I prayed long and hard about starting down this road, so my wife and I trust that the Lord will use these years of academic preparation in some way, shape, or fashion.

    To get to the point of my comment, though: when I started my program, they told us to take these sorts of stats with a grain of salt because they rarely take into account what percentage of PhD candidates hope to land academic jobs after their training. The head of the school told us that under 40% of all humanities PhDs are actually looking for academic jobs. Given, this statistic was coming from a man exhorting us to take stats with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, it’s something to throw into the mix.

    [congrats on the move to Wheaton, btw - great program and great folks]

  20. Cliff R. Loriot November 3, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    [Dr.?] Cortez,

    I stopped reading the blogs and cried when I came to your February 9, 2012, comment about educational institutions needing to prepare PhD’s for cross-cultural ministry.

    Please forgive me for using your blog as a soapbox.

    I’m an Alaskan. But as a PhD candidate in Old Testament at a school in the lower 48, my goal is to return to Alaska to start a small-footprint hybrid brick and mortar/online seminary there. At this point, my projected opening date is October 3, 2016.

    Alaska is a beautiful state, but its overall socioeconomic situation is the worst in the US. The suicide, substance-abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape rates are some of the highest in the nation. Some rates per capita are six times higher than the national average.

    Yet it is 1,500 miles by air and 2,500+ miles by land to the nearest state in the lower 48–where all the seminaries are located. And many who come to minister in Alaska are sadly unprepared for what they encounter.

    The time zone difference also makes distance education extremely difficult because many schools operate on ET–which is a 4 hour difference. The subsistence lifestyle also does not allow Alaskans to conveniently follow traditional academic schedules. (Moose season is the month of September.)

    Furthermore, the culture in Alaska is very different from that of the lower 48 states, not just because of the frontier mentality, but also because of the wide variety of cultures present. First and foremost are the Alaska Natives. Most of the other people come from the Pacific Rim countries, but they also come from countries around the world–including Africa and India, but especially the northern latitudes such as Russia, Siberia, and the Scandinavian countries or northern Europe.

    Most of these people have come here (I still say “here” even though I’m in the lower 48 right now) to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They come from over 100 countries. This means Alaska is ideal for training people to return to their own countries and minister to their own people.

    My objective is to train people to establish culturally sensitive churches and minister to the psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs of their fellow countrymen. Along with the traditional Master of Divinity core courses, our program will emphasize cross-cultural church-planting, cultural sensitivity, and crisis counseling.

    I believe the Lord has uniquely prepared me for this.

    First of all, I have been exposed to a wide variety of cultures. I am what is now known as an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK). My dad was a linguist, so we lived in several places, including Peru (South America), Eastern Kentucky, and Philadelphia, PA.

    After I left home, I lived for decades at a time in southeast Michigan, western North Carolina, and the Alaska Interior (Fairbanks).

    During that time, I earned a Bachelor of Theology in Pastoral Studies, my Master of Divinity, a thoroughly cross-culturally-oriented Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (University of Alaska Fairbanks), and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Administration (via distance education).

    Most of all, however, the Lord has given me a burden for Alaska that I cannot shake. If there’s any place on the face of this earth that I believe needs the good news about Jesus Christ, it is Alaska.

    My goal is not only to provide Alaskans with a seminary education IN Alaska that meets the needs of Alaskans, but also one that combines the best of what technology can provide with the personal, face-to-face interaction that students and professors need.

    I do not believe that a fully-online program can meet all of the students’ needs (2 Tim 3:10-14). My goal, then, will be to design the program to include up to 20 hours of residential modules.

    Well, now that I’ve vented my passion and made an implied plea for your prayers regarding my endeavor, let me say that I realize that subsequent blogs (i.e., post-02/09/2012) may have addressed what I just covered, but I wanted you to know that there is someone out there heading in that direction.

    I know of some who have made some steps toward it and others who have realized the need for it, but as far as I know, I am one who is actually trying to fully meet the need of a specific culture. I hope there are others.

    If you decide to post my comment, thank you. And thank you again for your comment.

    Cliff R. Loriot

    • Marc Cortez November 4, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Hey Cliff, thanks for your comment. That was a fascinating look at theological education in Alaska. Before moving to Wheaton, I taught at Western Seminary (Portland, OR), which has quite a few connections with pastors and churches in Alaska. So I’m somewhat familiar with what’s going on up there, but there’s nothing like hearing a first-hand account from someone ministering in/for that context.

  21. Abu Daoud November 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    I just am wrapping up a PhD in divinity (close enough, no?) and am very content working as a missionary to Muslims. I teach on the side at a local university but that is not my main job or main source of income. Consider the mission field. It is wonderful and dynamic, trying and exhilarating. Even if I got an offer for a TT position I would not automatically take it.

  22. Martin November 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    There are a lot of people who want PhDs, but they have nothing to contribute. Too many PhDs are just dealing with largely irrelevant issues. Students line up to undertake a PhD, and it takes them a year to think up a topic! Many end up just do an area of interest of their supervisor. Its the qualification that people are after, not serious research. Apart from teaching Greek or exegesis, these people will have trouble finding serious jobs.


  1. Is the declining job market of academia good for the church? « Near Emmaus - February 9, 2012

    [...] Cortez wrote a post today that should lead to fear-and-trembling for such people. In “More Bad News on the Ph.D. Job Market” he notes that the Association of Theological Schools reports the [...]

  2. What to do with your PhD when you can’t get a Job. | What I See - February 10, 2012

    [...] Cortez has been crushing the dreams of PhD students again, this time specifically for those who might teach at an ATS accredited [...]

  3. Theological PhD’s and the Local Church « Zack Ford - February 10, 2012

    [...] market decline for PhD recipients in general, and especially in the field of Theology. The article, “More Bad News in the Ph.D. Job Market,” notes the following points about the Association of Theological [...]

  4. How to Avoid Postgrad Burnout | Everyday Theology - February 15, 2012

    [...] posts on the difficulties of the academic job market. (See How Bad Is the Job Market for PhDs? and More Bad News on the Ph.D. Job Market.) But I know that many will pursue postgrad programs anyway. And, to be honest, I can’t blame [...]

  5. February’s Top Posts | Everyday Theology - March 2, 2012

    [...] More Bad News on the Ph.D. Job Market [...]

  6. Your Dreams Are Dead | Everyday Theology - March 8, 2012

    [...] More Bad News on the Ph.D. Job Market Share this: [...]

  7. "He Desires a Noble Task" The Erosion of the Evangelical Pastorate - September 3, 2012

    [...] to the life of mind in college makes lots of people want to stay forever (see the huge glut of underemployed Christianity-related PhDs, perhaps even worse than the secular [...]

  8. September’s Top Posts | Everyday Theology - October 1, 2012

    [...] More Bad News on the PhD Job Market /* Share this: [...]

  9. Some Words on the Job Market « Catholic Kung Fu - December 27, 2012

    [...] I have reviewed the situation with some cantankerous humor, but little hyperbole. No, the situation is not torture or death, but it is ominous and unyielding. I am being honest, and here are even more stats. [...]

  10. Looking for Good Doctoral Students | Everyday Theology - June 18, 2014

    […] a tough road. You’ll invest tremendous time, effort, and money in the journey, and given the tough Bible/theology job market, you can’t know if there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. (And actually, given what […]

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image