TRaCE is the next phase of Future Humanities: Transforming Graduate Studies for the Future of Canada.


The approximate 75% of PhDs who do not end up in academic jobs, frequently disappear from department websites and from university view.  To address these many gaps in university tracking and supporting of PhDs in the humanities, the TRaCE project will develop a national project to track PhDs in the humanities, especially those who pursue jobs outside the academy.

T = Tracking
R = Reporting
C = Connecting
E = Exchanging (knowledge)

Our goal is to begin to change the picture of the humanities and change the picture of what humanities PhD actually contribute to Canadian society. We seek to enhance public recognition of the value of humanities, and to make evident to students, faculty and to the world-at-large how PhD training actually leads to a multiplicity of career pathways, rather than just one.


IPLAI has instituted a pilot project with universities across Canada, both Anglophone and Francophone. At least 2 departments/programs at each university will track the PhD graduating cohorts for 2004 through 2014. Download our project description and guidelines.

Our point of connection will be a web-portal and networking platform, which we are beginning to develop. A TRaCE Planning Meeting, Nov 7th-8th in Montreal, funded generously by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada and the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, will inform the shape, metrics and form of our portal. We seek to create a more outward-looking academic community, one with non-academic PhDs in it. Here are 6 questions we will discuss during our working meeting:

  1. What do we want to know about the grads?
  2. What tracking methods have worked well?
  3. How do we organize, present, and employ the data that we collect?
  4. Which aspects of TRaCE will require human labour? Which can be done via platform/portal?
  5. Why in the first place might non-academic PhDs want to enter into community with faculty and students?
  6. How do we wed tracking and community building? What are some metrics by which we can measure community building and engagement?


Future Humanities is a SSHRC-funded initiative to transform graduate studies in Canada and engage in global discussions about humanities education and training. Founded by Paul Yachnin and Leigh Yetter through McGill University’s Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI), Future Humanities embraces the changing landscape of university education and proposes new ways of confronting the global “crisis in the humanities.”

Future Humanities brings together students, faculty, administrators, those who have transitioned out of the academy, and leaders in creativity and commerce to address questions about the futures, actual and potential, of graduates from MA and PhD programs in the humanities. For what are we training our students? What other goals can we envision in addition to a career in the academy? Do we have an obligation to produce career-ready graduates? If no, then what is the role of humanities graduate education, and what is the relationship of humanities research and education to the world beyond the university? If yes, how do we preserve and integrate the historical, literary, and theoretical core of humanities scholarship while addressing the needs of the modern labour market?