Choices for Ph.D.s in engineering: Analyses of career paths in academia and industry

Monica Farmer Cox, Jiabin Zhu, Benjamin Ahn, Jeremi S. London, Shree Frazier, Ana T. Torres-Ayala, Rocio C.Chavela Guerra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Our study presents the career trajectories of engineering Ph.D.s from the perspectives of both industry and academia. In this report, we identified approximately 34 engineering Ph.D. graduates from U.S. programs who: (1) worked only in academia; (2) worked only in industry; (3) worked in academia first and now work in industry; or (4) worked in industry first and now work on academia. Using curricula vitae (CVs) as a main data source, we mapped out the detailed career trajectories of each participant. The comparisons within and across different groups characterized the particular career developmental models for each group. Both academia-only and industry-only groups demonstrate a relative linear developmental career path. However, it is notable that participants in the academia-only group tend to hold multiple appointments when compared to their industry-only peers. Participants from groups (3) and (4) showed much more complex career patterns than the first two groups. Also, all of our participants in the last two groups hold leadership positions currently. This observation emphasized the importance of leadership skills training for engineering Ph.D.s. Overall, this reports summarized pilot findings on career trajectories of engineering Ph.D.s. It provides unique insights for both the career planning of recent engineering Ph.D. graduates and the training and preparation of current engineering Ph.D.s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Choices for Ph.D.s in engineering: Analyses of career paths in academia and industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this