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Thanks so much for posting this new thread, Marcus Arvan!

Has anyone heard back from either the Notre Dame Educational Initiatives position or the Duke Director of Academic Programming position? Thank you!

Alt-Ac Curious

I have a question about working at a hospital as a clinical ethicist. Does anyone know about such positions? My PhD focuses on ethics and social-political philosophy, not necessarily bioethics or medical ethics (though I have some experience teaching this). Would the fact that I don't specialize in bioethics/medical ethics immediately rule me out for this kind of position? I imagine that someone who did have these specialities would be better suited for the position.

transitioning grad student

@Alt-Ac Curious: I've looked briefly into such positions. I'm in a similar position where I specialize in ethics and applied ethics, but not bioethics. There is a board of job postings in bioethics at http://www.bioethics.net/jobs/. From what I can gather by reading the job descriptions for clinical ethicist positions, yes, it does look like having a background in bioethics is necessary. Which is disappointing. I'm happy to be proven wrong by anyone with more insider knowledge of the industry, though.

Mike Barkasi

I remember a large discussion about clinical ethicist positions here awhile back. The upshot was that these are highly professionalized jobs with their own career stream (degrees/certificates, internships, professional associations, regulations, etc.). My sense was that while philosophers (obviously) have natural paths into this stream and many do well, it's not like you just show up ready for the job. There's special training, professional standards and laws to learn, etc. My guess is that your lack of philosophy bioethics AOS doesn't rule you out, but your (presumed) lack of all that specialized training does. Hopefully someone with experience will be able to advise on the best way to get that needed training and experience.


Alt-Ac Curious: I'm a clinical ethicist, and what Mike Barkasi says is right. Your research focuses certainly don't rule you out, but you would likely need additional formal training (in the form of a clinical ethics fellowship) to become a full-time clinical ethicist. While it's true that these fellowships are often filled by philosophers who specialized in medical ethics, they also get filled by non-philosophers or philosophers whose PhD training was in a different (though generally still ethics-related) area.

Depending on where you are in your training, you might also consider 1) shadowing in a hospital setting or 2) seeing whether you could get involved in a local hospital's ethics committee. These experiences would give you a better sense of what working in a medical setting entails, and they could also help you if you do decide to apply to clinical ethics fellowships.


I know a philosopher who now serves on a hospital ethics committee who got their PhD in aesthetics.

I am also not sure that an AOS in bioethics as philosophers understand it is is necessarily an advantage for a clinical ethics position. When I taught philosophical bioethics in a med school, students much preferred the more purely case-based, less theoretical approach that was also taught to them by medical faculty.

If you are a careful reasoner who can speak to medical professionals at a level they understand and value, that seems more important that the subject of your PhD.

Debbie from Accounting

Are there any particularly recommended resources for alt-ac resumes or cover letters?

Decision Split

It would be helpful to see folks discuss their most rejected paper that was ultimately published in a peer-reviewed journal.

I ask because I have a paper that has received a few unanimous referee rejections and then split decisions at top 10 generalist journal and a top 3 ethics journal.


This job might be of interest to some people: Research Assistant for Nick Bostrom (50k/yr), remote.


Saw it advertised over at 80000 hours, which (for those who don't know) has a job board worth checking out. https://80000hours.org/


"Are there any particularly recommended resources for alt-ac resumes or cover letters?"

I didn't answer at first because I hoped someone would reply with a particularly good guide on translating a CV into a nonacademic resume. Since no one has answered, I'll just reply with two quick thoughts:

1. I've seen a lot of these guides, and they all basically look the same to me. After an afternoon Googling and browsing them, you get the gist.

2. None of these guides are very helpful anyway, since writing a good resume for a job in field X requires knowing what the people in field X look for. So, at best, a CV-to-resume guide needs to be tailored to a particular field. I recall a post here awhile back from a philosopher who transitioned into project management that nicely sketched out how to translate philosophy work experience into project management work experience. Still, I suspect that this sort of knowledge is mostly built up first-hand. If you want to know how to make yourself a good candidate for doing grant writing (for example), you need to work some grant writing jobs and get a feel for the skills and resume lines employers will be looking for. Or, at least, talk to someone who does grant writing and get them to help you translate your experience into a grant-writing resume.

A final quick thought: If a job ad has a list of qualifications, it's a fair bet that the automated algorithm sorting applications is going to throw out resumes that don't have lines matching most of the key words from that list. So, a basic strategy for writing a resume for a job is to translate the qualification list into your resume bullet points.


I want to move to Scandinavia. I am an EU citizen but I do not speak any of the Scandinavian languages. Does anyone have tips on what jobs might be available there that would be a good fit for philosophy phds or how to find such jobs?

Viking warrior

Generally, if you want to teach philosophy at the BA level in Scandinavia, you need to be able to teach in the national language (or one of the other Scandinavian languages). But there are jobs in philosophy of science where this is not the case. Jobs are advertised on university HR pages, but often also in typical places where jobs are posted in Europe.

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