Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Political Science Job Market

Here are some discussions about the political science job market. The bottom line is that it's extremely competitive. In the past, let's say a decade or so ago (I went on the market in the fall of 1999) having a peer-reviewed article as a graduate student made you stand out. Now there are far more candidates with publications. This does not mean you can't get a job offer without a publication, but the other parts of your application--and, of course, your performance in the interview process, which is so critical--must stand out more.

As virtually every post (and every year there are multiple) points out, going on the market is very stressful and uncertain. It is extremely hard, indeed nearly impossible, to know what will make a department click with a particular individual. We can't even use the word "department" in a unified sense, as even the most collegial departments like mine have people with different interests.

If there is any lesson these days, though, it is start publishing as a graduate student. It is not sufficient, but at least pushes you further down the road of necessary.


csccat 9:57 AM  

As a long term observer of the job market, I'm not sure this is a good trend. It puts pressure on grad students to get lines on their CVs rather than produce good scholarship. I've heard papers (at LASA even!) where I've had real doubts about the presenter's ability to conduct research in Spanish. Some of the papers I've discussed at the Northeast PSA were downright incompetent. These papers were not flawed because the writers were pressed for time (we all have that problem). They showed shortcoming in methodological skills (and I don't mean stats) or lack of reading any literature from before 2005. Take this mentality about conference papers and apply it to the pressure to publish and you can see where our field is headed.

Does anyone tell grad students (as one of my professors once told me) "You shouldn't be presenting a paper on that because you don't know enough yet about which questions to ask?"

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