Report out on Pathways Through Graduate School and into Careers

Patrick S. Osmer — April 25, 2012

Patrick S. Osmer,
Vice Provost of Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School 

The national report Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers is out, and I encourage all of you to read it. Full report and executive summary. Additional information is available at

The report provides solid information to all of us who are involved in graduate education, and it makes recommendations for universities in general as well as employers and government. We will be using it to guide some of our next steps at Ohio State.

I’m glad to say that we are already ahead of the curve on some of the challenges facing our colleagues at other institutions. For instance:

  • Ohio State graduate programs are increasingly tracking the placements of all of their graduates, not just those who go on to faculty/researcher careers. The Graduate School has developed a platform for the graduate programs to keep track of placements and to be able to pull data from it.
  • In the Graduate School, we are in the midst of a project analyzing the impact of Ohio State graduate degree recipients in Ohio, and we will host a summit on this topic in the fall for employers, policymakers, and educators.
  • Last fall, the Graduate School subscribed to the Versatile Ph.D. to support graduate students, faculty, and staff who are interested in learning about the full range of career options available to people with doctoral training.

I chaired the ETS and Council of Graduate Schools commission that created the report, and it was released last week during a legislative event in Washington, DC. Congressman Steve Stivers spoke at the opening event. He was clearly supportive, and I’m pleased to report that the other legislators and staff that I visited were equally so. It’s clear that they understand the need for graduate education and the importance of it to the country. The release was also covered in the media and is generating interesting commentary. See Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed

Now we can go on to next steps at Ohio State. We need to:

  • Increase the number of graduate programs that track the placements of our graduates and to follow our graduates throughout their careers
  • Strengthen career services available to graduate students while they are here
  • Provide professional skills education and internship opportunities to graduate students

These action items dovetail with some of the other initiatives that we already have underway, especially future directions in doctoral education and professionally oriented master’s programs.

I’d like to hear from you as well. Please read the report or executive summary and share your ideas.


Patrick S. Osmer is vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School at Ohio State. He is currently serving as past chair of the board of directors for the Council of Graduate Schools. Osmer was chair of the Ohio State astronomy department from 1993-2006.


Showing comments 1 to 10 of 11 | Next | Last
Re: Report out on Pathways Through Graduate School and into Careers
Mon April 30, 2012, 17:36:56
Dear Dean Osmer:
In response to your email asking students to have an input on how to help students find jobs, I have few suggestions that I hope will be helpful.
just to put things in perspective I am a graduate student in the MCDB program, and doing my PhD at the VetBioscience program since 2005!!
1-What I have felt is lacking severely is an encouragement from the faculty to get a dual degree. They want us to be dedicated to PhD, and not think about other professional degrees that will help us become more competitive in the job market. While on the other hand med/vet/pharmacy students can work toward an MPH or MBA along side their degree. Getting an additional professional degree is crucial nowadays given the difficult job market and the even more difficult academia track.
2-I guess there are few services that help in job search at OSU, but it seems they are not well advertised! We need to have a university run database of jobs that we can log into and find what we are interested in (I know versatile phd is similar but it is still small and not enough span of jobs is available, I hope to see it grow fast). In addition it would be helpful to get graduates working in different fields to talk about their job and maybe help recruiting. Ideally this effort should be in coordination with departments and programs to tailor to the specific needs of the students.
3-Study duration. I know I have been more than enough doing my phd and I am not the only one, I know of some students who have reached the 9 years mark! I am not going to go into details in what should happen and why they took too long, but in comparison students coming from Europe have a solid PhD, good science and research skills and they graduate in 3-4 years! why is it taking us 5-6-7 years to graduate? the longer we stay the less competitive we become. In the course of my education I have seen several ways to cut on the long duration and time wasted to get the PhD (at least in Biology).
Finally I hope this is of some help, and please feel free to contact me if you have any question
Patrick Osmer
Re: Report out on Pathways Through Graduate School and into Careers
Mon May 07, 2012, 13:43:35
Thanks for your comments and for providing observations from your own perspective on dual degree programs, career guidance, and time to degree. These are important topics, and we are working on them in the Graduate School. I value your input.

Patrick Osmer
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