Assistant Professors in Archaeology- some information on jobs.

Posted on February 14, 2012

10


Yesterday, I posted the number of archaeologists working in academia in the US and today I will look at the subset of Assistant Professors. There are currently roughly 260 archaeologist who are assistant professors working archaeology-based subject departments in the US (i.e. those that have classes in archaeology and degree concentrations in archaeology). For those unfamiliar a assistant professor is a non-tenured member of staff who has the potential to achieve tenure, usually after about 6 years of work. The down side of this position is that if they  do not achieve tenure then they are out of a job at that university. This position is a good gage of the recent labour market for academic archaeologist (last 6 years) because they are the entry level position.

A big concern/complaint is that there are no jobs to be had at research universities e.g. those that give out PhD’s. I took a look at these positions by the degree given at their respected university department they work for-

AA 1 0.4%
BA/BS 84 32%
MA/MSc 60 23%
PhD 115 44%

There is no previous research to compare this against so it is hard to tell if this is a good thing or bad thing for those trying to get jobs at research-based departments. I would say that 44% at departments that give out PhD’s is pretty good but maybe not for those who don’t want to teach at a liberal arts university.

Assuming these numbers roughly translate to the number of posts available in the last 6-7 years then the number of jobs that have opened up is roughly- 37-43 per year. These numbers are pretty much in line with what you see offered on the Archaeology Academic Job wiki for the last couple of years. Though with about 145+ archaeology PhD’s being produced each year the odds of getting a job are still not great (must take into account those that did not get a job the year before will be competing as well or looking at the numbers above, those who didn’t get a job in the last 10-30 years).

An interesting breakdown in when these archaeologists obtained their jobs shows that:

1. When you got your degree does not necessary preclude you from obtain an academic degree, contrary to the belief that if you haven’t landed an academic job within fives years of obtaining your PhD then you are done. Some people who obtained their degrees in the 1980’s have recently gotten jobs. Though the majority of archaeologists have graduates in the last ten years.

2. It appears that it might take a few years after graduating to obtain a position-

Year of PhD Count
no year listed 19 7.3%
1983 1 0.4%
1988 1 0.4%
1989 2 0.8%
1990 1 0.4%
1991 3 1.2%
1993 1 0.4%
1994 1 0.4%
1995 3 1.2%
1996 1 0.4%
1997 2 0.8%
1998 5 1.9%
1999 5 1.9%
2000 5 1.9%
2001 11 4.2%
2002 16 6.2%
2003 19 7.3%
2004 15 5.8%
2005 29 11.2%
2006 35 13.5%
2007 27 10.4%
2008 20 7.7%
2009 18 6.9%
2010 15 5.8%
2011 5 1.9%

So what programs are producing these graduates? Well some obtained their degrees at non-US universities, about 8%-

University of Alberta 1 0%
University of Cambridge 5 2%
Australian National University 1 0%
Oxford 1 0%
Simon Fraser University 1 0%
University College, London 1 0%
University of Calgary 1 0%
Univ Sydney 1 0%
University of East Anglia 1 0%
University of Manchester 1 0%
University of Southampton 1 0%
University of Toronto 3 1%
University of Toulouse-le Mirail 1 0%
University of Bradford 1 0%

The majority obtained their degrees from US-based universities-

Bryn Mawr College 1 0.4%
College of William & Mary 1 0.4%
Cornell University 1 0.4%
Iowa 1 0.4%
Stony Brook University 1 0.4%
Temple University 1 0.4%
University Massachusetts 1 0.4%
University Massachusetts Amherst 1 0.4%
University of California Santa Cruz 1 0.4%
University of Connecticut 1 0.4%
University of Georgia 1 0.4%
University of Illinois at Chicago 1 0.4%
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1 0.4%
University of Kentucky 1 0.4%
University of Minnesota 1 0.4%
University of Missouri 1 0.4%
University of Nevada 1 0.4%
University of Nevada Las Vegas 1 0.4%
University of Nevada, Reno 1 0.4%
University of Utah 1 0.4%
University of Wisconsin-Madison 1 0.4%
University of Wyoming 1 0.4%
University Wisconsin-Milwaukee 1 0.4%
Boston University 2 0.8%
Michigan State University 2 0.8%
Stanford University 2 0.8%
University of Arkansas 2 0.8%
University at Buffalo, SUNY 2 0.8%
University of California, Davis 2 0.8%
University of Colorado, Boulder 2 0.8%
University of North Carolina 2 0.8%
University of Virginia 2 0.8%
Vanderbilt University 2 0.8%
Yale University 2 0.8%
Brown University 3 1.2%
Northwestern University 3 1.2%
Pennsylvania State University 3 1.2%
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 3 1.2%
University of California, Riverside 3 1.2%
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 3 1.2%
University of Oregon 3 1.2%
Washington University at St. Louis 3 1.2%
none given 4 1.5%
Binghamton University, SUNY 4 1.5%
Southern Methodist University 4 1.5%
Syracuse University 4 1.5%
Wahington State University 4 1.5%
Indiana University 5 1.9%
Ohio State University 5 1.9%
University of Florida 5 1.9%
University of Pittsburgh 5 1.9%
University of Washington 5 1.9%
University of California, Los Angeles 6 2.3%
University of Chicago 6 2.3%
University of New Mexico 6 2.3%
Texas A&M University 7 2.7%
Tulane University 7 2.7%
University of California, Berkeley 7 2.7%
University of Tennessee 7 2.7%
University of Texas at Austin 8 3.1%
University of California-Santa Barbara 8 3.1%
Arizona State University 9 3.5%
Harvard University 12 4.6%
University of Arizona 12 4.6%
University of Michigan 15 5.8%
University of Pennsylvania 16 6.2%

Close to 65 universities out of the roughly 88 or so PhD programs in the US. Not bad but roughly 26% of programs are not producing any academic archaeologists. BEFORE anyone reads into these numbers that- AZ, MI, Harvard, Penn, etc. are the best programs for producing academic archaeologists, it is important to remember that the number that matters is  number of jobs against the number of graduates they produce.   If Harvard produces 200 graduates but only 12 jobs that is a horrible rate of placement while if UA graduates 15 and places 12 they have a great success rate. I will have to look to see if I can find graduate numbers to compare against these results. Till then those are the numbers to ponder.