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    2018 Reports

    Career Pathways Brief: Preparing Future Faculty for All Types of Colleges and Universities

    December 2018

    According to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Survey of College Graduates, 49% of doctoral degree holders employed in 2015 worked for colleges and universities in some capacity. For over two-thirds of the PhDs employed by colleges and universities, teaching is their primary or secondary work activity. In fact, 43.8% of the postsecondary teaching workforce, including those employed at community colleges, hold a doctoral degree (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). Though the vast majority of research doctorates are conferred by Doctoral Universities, these institutions only make up 7.1% (311 of 4,360) of degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2018a) and enroll just over one-quarter of the approximately 20 million undergraduate students (NCES, 2018b). Using survey data from the Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) PhD Career Pathways project, this brief provides new insight into how PhDs feel about their preparation to work at different types of institutions. 


    Career Pathways Brief: How Well Did a Humanities PhD Prepare Them?

    October 2018

    The vast majority of humanities PhDs still work in felds related to their doctoral education and are satisfed with their jobs. According to the National Survey of College Graduates by the National Science Foundation (NSF), 92% of humanities PhDs working in 2015 held jobs that are closely or somewhat related to their PhDs. Furthermore, 85% of humanities PhDs who are employed are satisfed or very satisfed with their current work. This percentage is consistent for the 92% who work in related felds as well as the 8% who work in felds unrelated to their humanities PhD degrees (NSF, n.d.). Though these national data tell us about humanities PhDs in the workforce and their satisfaction with their current jobs, little is known about their views on their PhD training. Using survey data from the Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) PhD Career Pathways project, this brief provides new insight into how humanities PhDs apply their doctoral training in the workforce.


    CGS Research in Brief: Trends in International First-time Graduate Enrollment
    October 2018


    According to the 2018 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees (GE&D), first-time graduate enrollment of international students at participating institutions declined by 3.7% between Fall 2016 and Fall 2017. This brief highlights some additional analysis pertaining to international graduate enrollment trends.


    Data Sources: Increasing Number of Graduate and Professional Students Are Former Pell Recipients

    July 2018


    The latest national data suggest that increasingly more former Pell recipients—thus, students from low-income backgrounds—are pursuing graduate and professional programs. However, the data also suggest that many of them begin their advanced education with sizeable undergraduate debt and continue to rely on student loans to finance their education. Graduate schools should proactively help these students make informed financial aid decisions and manage and reduce their borrowing and debt.


    Pressing Issue: Mental Wellness of Graduate Students

    April 2018


    A number of recent studies have drawn attention to the mental health challenges experienced by graduate students. Studies note that the prevalence of mental health challenges among PhD students is higher than that of the highly-educated general population, and much higher than in the general population. The most recent study published in Nature Biotechnology reported that 39% of their participants, mostly doctoral candidates, fell into the moderate-to-severe depression range, while other studies reported that one in two PhD students has experienced psychological distress, and one in three is at risk of a common psychiatric disorder. Some factors known to adversely affect the mental wellness of graduate students have also been noted in CGS’s recently concluded “Doctoral Initiative on Minority Attrition and Completion (National Science Foundation grant number 1138814)” project. In that study, we found that underrepresented minority doctoral candidates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields were more likely to feel isolated from other students and worried about their mental or physical health than their peers.


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.