CGHE seminar 75

What factors influence PhD students’ intentions to work outside academia?

  • Thursday, 26 Apr 2018 12:30 - 14:00
  • Room 828, UCL Institute of Education
  • Hugo Horta, University of Hong Kong


Doctoral studies have been changing, and although a PhD continues to be a degree mostly focused on research, it has been shaped to confer PhD students with broader sets of skills, intended to prepare them for jobs outside the academic sector.

This change results from two intertwined trends. First, the transformation of universities into engines of knowledge, associated with rising audit cultures (mostly based on metrics), stagnating public funding, and the relevance of the research mission.

Second, the traditional job market for PhDs, the academic job market, has been seeing throughout the world a decreasing number of professoriate positions relative to a growing massification of doctorates. Universities benefit from having PhD students, and students demand PhD degrees. This dynamic is to continue, even if the result so far is an increased number of PhD holders in contingent, precarious positions.

This research looks at PhD students at three Asian flagship universities (National University of Singapore, The University of Hong Kong, and Seoul National University) and analyses the determinants that shape the preferences for them to choose career paths outside academia upon conclusion of their PhD.

The findings are expected to contribute not only to the academic literature (studies of this nature in Asia are scarce) but also possibly raise polemic policy implications.

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Hugo Horta

Hugo Horta

Hugo Horta is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of Hong Kong. He was previously deputy director of a research centre in Portugal (IN+/IST), Advisor to the Portuguese Secretary of State of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, and served as the Portuguese National delegate to the European Research Area Steering Committee on Human Resources and Mobility. He is currently coordinating-editor of Higher Education and sits on the editorial boards of Higher Education Policy, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Asia Pacific Education Review and the Journal of Higher Education and Science.

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