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Hello, May I just say thank you for all the work you have done in running this site. Although I will only be just starting grad. school, this is one of the only places I have found a significant amount of advice for one's early-career. I am hoping that in a few years I will be able to take advantage of the mentoring program offered. So, if you can, please keep 'Philosophers' Cocoon' going as I think I am just one of many people who find this site incredibly helpful.

Helen De Cruz

Marcus, I am of course not an unbiased observer, but I want to express my gratitude for your tireless work on the Cocoon and making the philosophy world just a little less miserable - I found the Cocoon very useful when I first stumbled upon it, and I am still enjoying interacting on the blog now.

Marcus Arvan

Justin and Helen: thank you both for the very kind words!


I want to say thanks as well.

It strikes me that one difference between 2012 and 2018 is that probably the market is even worse now for the humanities. Many philosophy programs have been shut down the last six years. The out of control tuition fees are deterring students from degrees that aren't obviously connected with the jobs that they'll need to pay off the 50-100 grand in debt they'll rack up.

I did a little research and found some links:

Humanities enrollments are down in Canada.


'In September, for example, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania announced that it was closing its sparsely populated degree programs in German, philosophy, and world languages and culture.'

'Harvard had a 20 percent decline in humanities majors over the last decade[.]'

'Some 45 percent of the faculty members in Stanford’s main undergraduate division are clustered in the humanities — but only 15 percent of the students.'


Anyway, I just think it's good to keep in mind that whatever experience Marcus has had and advice he can give, which we all greatly appreciate, it might be that things are even worse now, and people should be aware of that.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Pendaran: Thanks for chiming in, and for sharing that information. For what it is worth, I'm not sure the job-market is worse now. I first went on the market in 2007-8, during and right after the beginning of the Great Recession. If I recall correctly, that is when the job-market was at its very worst in terms of available jobs.


It's hard to find particularly good information, but it's my understanding that whatever 'recovery' we got for the overall job market did not happen for the humanities; in fact, it just got worse and worse. See this.


Looking at job openings, this seems to support that the market is definitely worse now than in 2008, but just a tad worse than in 2012. We don't have data for 2017. This data at least supports the claim that the market is no better now than during the recession. That's pretty scary in and of itself!

However, job openings is just the demand side of the equation. If we look at PhD's being awarded, it has continued to climb (no data for 2016 or 2017). The recession in fact probably increasing enrollments. Who wants to deal with that job market! I know that had something to do with my decisions!

So, I think today it's worse that it's ever been for fresh PhDs. Job openings are at best no better than during the recession, but there are more PhD's awarded.

There are other things too look at too, like salaries. Have salaries in the humanities kept up with salaries overall? I doubt it.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Pendaran: Thanks for the link to those charts. Fair enough!

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