Marquette Graduate School bolsters career-readiness with new Ph.D. requirements

Feb. 16, 2024

MILWAUKEE — The Marquette University Graduate School has announced three new “career skill” requirements for Ph.D. candidates to ensure each graduate has the opportunity to reflect on their desired career and acquire additional career-related skills needed for them to pursue their chosen path.

The three career skills requirements are career discernment; communication; and diversity, equity and inclusion. This requirement will apply to all students admitted to a Marquette Ph.D. program beginning with the fall 2024 semester.

“This new requirement will address a perceived disconnect between students’ preparation and the realities of the job market upon graduation,” said Dr. Doug Woods, dean of Marquette Graduate School. “Often people think the only career path for Ph.D. students is to become a professor, but we know that such jobs are becoming scarcer. We also know that people with Ph.Ds. can use their degrees very successfully in many ways that go beyond the traditional professor job. At Marquette, we are committed to allowing our doctoral students to find a career path that best speaks to their values and to best prepare them for it.”

As part of this new requirement, Ph.D. students must complete one or more approved courses, workshops or practical experiences in each of the identified categories. The objectives of each skill are:

  • Career discernment: Students will explore and define their own identity, experiences and skills and how their chosen career pathway fits with those values.
  • Communication: Students will be able to communicate effectively and ethically with nonacademic audiences.
  • Understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion: Students will learn universal design principles and be able to work and interact effectively with persons from diverse backgrounds who have varied values, ideas and opinions.

“Our data suggests that only 45% our current students enter a Marquette Ph.D. program with the intention of entering a tenure-track academic position upon graduation,” Woods said. “Such findings suggest that doctoral education, rooted in the Jesuit Apostolic Preference of creating a hope-filled future for our youth, should not only be effective in preparing graduates for a challenging academic job market, but in all careers to which they find purpose and value.”

About Marquette Graduate School

As one of, if not the first Graduate School established at a Jesuit university, Marquette Graduate School opened its doors in fall of 1922 and recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. In that time, it has awarded nearly 30,000 advanced degrees, including over 26,500 master’s degrees and 3,100 doctoral degrees The Graduate School offers Ph.D. programs in 20 different disciplines, as well as an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program which provides students and faculty with opportunities for creative customized academic programming and research that crosses the boundaries of traditional disciplines.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or