See how current graduate students around the world feel about their future career paths in next week’s issue of Nature as the results from the 2015 Nature Careers Graduate Student Survey are published.
One challenge that many graduate students face when deciding on future career paths is finding information on what the options are, and how other graduates got there. Although some information is collated by universities and by the Survey of Doctoral Recipients, run by National Science Foundation in the United States, for example, it’s not enough for students to make an informed decision.
“Graduate students would make better decisions [about their future careers] if they had better data,” says Paula Stephan, a labour economist at Georgia State University. So, to do their bit and help young graduate students arm themselves, Nature Careers runs a bi-annual, global survey of graduate students.
Many say that mentors should have an active role to play in preparing students for their future careers, but in 2011 the graduate student survey run by Nature Careers demonstrated that as the years went by, graduate students were less and less satisfied with the support they received.
Other surveys have shown that this decrease in support could in part be due to the growing lack of interest in academic careers as the students move through their PhD programmes.
In 2013, the Nature Careers graduate student survey also explored the issue of debt, and how students were increasingly worried about how the financial burden of grad school would affect their future careers.
Whether these trends have continued, the Nature Careers team is trying to find out. This year, the survey looks to answer questions that many graduate students will have on their mind: What do science graduate students around the world expect to pursue for their career? What do they really think about industry – or academia? How do they decide on a career path? Are they getting useful advice from their adviser or from their institution? And how do they feel about their graduate programme?
Find all this out and more in Nature Careers on 21 October 2015, when we publish the results of our 2015 survey. We had almost 3,500 respondents from all corners of the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe and Central, North and South America.