PATHS is a Mellon-funded initiative that prepares UChicago Ph.D. students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to make an impact in the world. PATHS programs and resources help participants chart a course for their professional training toward careers in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

PATHS is implemented by UChicagoGRAD and conceived collaboratively by deans and faculty from the Division of the Humanities, the Division of Social Sciences, and the Divinity School. The program features workshops, internship opportunities, one-on-one advising, conversations with alumni, and treks (employer site visits)—all tailored to the needs of humanities Ph.D. students.

With support from the Mellon Foundation, PATHS is pioneering an experimental curriculum of courses, boot camps, and seminars in areas such as leadership, digital literacies, and communication. This curriculum prepares Ph.D. students for aspects of employment that are often ignored in disciplinary training and heightens their ability to apply their specialized skills to career opportunities in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

To learn about upcoming PATHS events and opportunities, subscribe to the PATHS newsletter by emailing See the latest edition of the newsletter here. For general PATHS inquiries, contact PATHS Coordinator Celeste Cruz-Carandang at



PATHS is led by an advisory board of faculty from the Divinity School, Humanities Division, and Social Sciences Division.

  • Claudia Brittenham, Art History (Liaison)
  • Bill Brown, Visual Arts
  • Sarah E. Fredericks, Divinity (Liaison)
  • Joseph P. Masco, Anthropology
  • Jason Merchant, Linguistics (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Deborah Nelson, English
  • David Nirenberg, Social Thought (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Emily Lynn Osborn, History (Liaison)

Creating Experimental Skill-building Curricula

The PATHS program seeks faculty and staff proposals for innovative courses focused on helping graduate students build skills in areas such as communication, digital literacies, and leadership. These courses should be designed to better prepare UChicago Ph.D. students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences for aspects of employment that are often underemphasized in disciplinary training.

Courses should be taught by professionals with applied expertise who will challenge students with hands-on learning experiences. Courses can take many forms—from short “boot camps” and workshops to seminars and traditional ten-week classes. Proposals from all divisions and fields of inquiry are encouraged, but priority will be given to courses that can appeal to graduate students from multiple disciplines.

Proposal Guidelines

Interested faculty or staff members can contact the PATHS faculty liaisons, Claudia Brittenham (, Sarah E. Fredericks (, and Emily Lynn Osborn (, for more information and guidance in developing proposals.

A complete course proposal will include:

  • Course description detailing the course’s learning objectives, expected outcomes, size, format, and proposed timetable
  • Brief CV or resumé for the instructor
  • Proposed budget, including instructor honorarium and any additional expenses (e.g. transportation, supplies, etc.)
  • Letters of support from relevant departmental and committee chairs (optional)

Proposals for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Please submit completed proposals to Celeste Cruz-Carandang (, the PATHS Coordinator at UChicagoGRAD, by the following dates:

  • Fall Quarter: July 15, 2019
  • Winter Quarter: October 14, 2019
  • Spring Quarter: January 13, 2019


Online Career Exploration Tools

  • Versatile Ph.D. allows you to explore career options and see samples of successful job documents from humanities Ph.D. recipients.  Access premium content by logging into GRAD Gargoyle and clicking “Versatile Ph.D.” in the quick links on the right-hand side.
  • ImaginePhD is a free online individual development tool designed specifically for doctoral students and alumni in the humanities and social sciences. ImaginePhD guides users to identify their skills, values and interests and to explore job families that best fit their individual needs.

External Resources and Initiatives

  • The Modern Language Association’s Connected Academics initiative includes an advice blog, toolkits, discussion groups, and resources on specific career tracks.
  • American Historical Association’s Career Diversity for Historians effort includes a mentorship network, personal narratives, and a data visualization tool that provides program-level information about the outcomes of History PhDs.
  • The Paideia Institute’s Legion Project shares the career stories of holders of Classics PhDs. It also functions as a network of these “Legionnaires.”
  • The American Philosophical Association publishes Beyond Academia, a handbook for philosophers interested in pursuing careers outside of academia.
  • The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program places recent humanities PhD alumni into two-year, full-time positions at governmental, cultural, and community organizations.
  • Humanities Without Walls prepares a cohort of doctoral students for careers both within and outside the academy through a series of summer workshops in Chicago.