Visualization of gender, race, citizenship and academic performance in association with career outcomes of 15-year biomedical doctoral alumni at a public research university

PLoS One. 2018 May 17;13(5):e0197473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197473. eCollection 2018.


It has long been thought that biomedical doctoral students pursue careers primarily as tenure-track/tenured faculty at research institutions. Recent reports showed, however, that the majority of biomedical doctoral alumni engage in a variety of careers. Wayne State University (WSU) undertook a project to understand the career trajectories of its biomedical doctoral alumni to create programs to better prepare its students for careers in multiple pathways. Data were collected on career outcomes of WSU's biomedical doctoral alumni who graduated in a 15-year period from 1999-2014. Careers were classified into three tiers by Employment Sector, Career Types and Job Functions and career paths were examined by alumni gender, race, U.S. citizenship status, and association with certain academic characteristics. Several statistically significant differences in career paths among all demographics were found. For example, women were more likely to be in teaching and providing healthcare, men in faculty and research; Black alumni pursued careers in Government at higher rates and Whites in For-Profit careers; Asians and non-U.S. citizens spent more time in training positions than others. There was no association of academic characteristics such as GRE, GPA, and Time-to-Degree completion with careers in the two largest sectors of Academia or For-profit. Since our trainees are engaged in this rich variety of careers essential to advancing biomedical science and research nationally, it is imperative for the graduate training community to embrace all careers as successful, and transform the model for biomedical doctoral training to foster student success across this broad career spectrum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Performance / statistics & numerical data
  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Career Choice*
  • Education, Graduate / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Racial Groups
  • Sex Distribution
  • Training Support / statistics & numerical data
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*