OAC releases Doctoral Destinations Project

Posted on Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

The Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) has released findings from a new project, Doctoral Destinations: PhDs with Impact, which highlights PhD career pathways. It is the first under the umbrella of OAC’s Graduate Destinations Project. 

Developed by OAC’s Research and Graduate Studies (RGS) team, the project shares 2019 employment data of over 650 alumni who graduated with PhDs from 1999 to 2019. They found that OAC PhD graduates are employed in all sectors including post secondary (47.9%), private (27.4%), government (15.5%), not for profit (4%), other public (2.9%) and individual (2.3%). 

“We know there is demand for highly qualified graduates from our programs, but we wanted to verify the career outcomes and opportunities,” say Leigh West, manager of graduate recruitment and programs. “It is important for prospective and current PhD students to know that there are many traditional and alternative career opportunities for OAC alumni.” 

Collecting and highlighting career data of PhD graduates has been a trend among universities and other industries in recent years. These studies contextualize the value of doctoral studies and show the diverse opportunities for PhD students.

“In undertaking the Doctoral Destinations Project, we were motivated by a desire to explore the career paths of our doctoral alumni,” says Dr. Rebecca Hallett, associate dean of research and graduate studies. “While the majority of OAC PhDs find careers in the post-secondary sector, there are now so many opportunities for our PhD alumni to find rewarding careers where their knowledge and skills allow them to excel.”

The initiative will consist of multiple reports. The first report, which is available now, includes an overview of the Doctoral Destinations Project and highlights key demographics including employment sectors and locations. Later this year they will release data on specific career pathways and occupations within each sector.

“Our PhD students conduct discovery and applied research with local, national and global impact,” says West. “We pride ourselves on supporting industries, government, and non-profit organizations focussed on food, agriculture, health, environment, rural communities, and more.”

The RGS team plans to continue the OAC Graduate Destinations Project with similar research and analysis for OAC master’s programs.

“It’ll be interesting to see what employment data over the next five years looks like,” says West. “We are excited to continue sharing our findings and expand it to include master’s level graduates.”

The Doctoral Destinations Project can be viewed online here.

To learn more about OAC graduate programs visit the program pages here or contact Leigh West at gradinfo@uoguelph.ca.

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