I am a current history undergraduate student who would like to teach someday! I would really like to teach at the collegiate level but I hear that it's becoming very competitive to find a tenure track? How come?

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    Not a (self-contained) answer, but I strongly recommend you read "The Professor is In" by Karen Kelsey. The first few chapters in particular give a great answer to your question and are a great way to get a realistic view of the job market.
    – cag51
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 2:33
  • The title of this question contained two different questions (the other being "how do I become a professor?"). I've edited it so that it has just the question that you've asked in the question body. However, it's still not totally clear to me, because I don't know what a "four year institution" is. Perhaps this is a regional term? If it matters, you might want to explain it.
    – Flyto
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 8:30
  • A "four year institution" is a term in the US and other places with similar systems. It is an institution where, in most programs at least. the highest degree is the bachelor's degree. (Nominally, study there takes four years. It corresponds to the European system of the finial year of secondary school plus the three years of a bachelor's degree.)
    – GEdgar
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 11:37
  • One rather high-profile take on this issue: chronicle.com/article/Graduate-School-in-the/44846 (TLDR; the humanities job markets are really, really bad)
    – BrianH
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


My wife is a historian, and I can attest: it is extremely competitive. The basic reason is that many more people are earning Ph.D.'s than are being hired to tenure track positions.

  • Interesting! I can believe that!
    – TS2906
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 20:51

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