Frequently Asked Questions


Q: My institution does not subscribe to Versatile PhD. Can I still join?
A: Yes, anyone can join VPhD for free. You’ll get access to helpful content and features (see below). Register here.

Q: What do I get when I register?
A: The basic member account gives you access to:

  • – Supportive discussion forums
  • – Members directory
  • – Jobs feed
  • – Information about local meetups in many cities
  • – General information in the PhD Career Finder

Q: What do I get if I can take advantage of an institutional VPhD subscription?
A: Once they validate their connection to a subscribing institution, VPhD members get everything that comes with a free account, plus:

  • – Resumes & cover letters that got PhDs their first post-academic jobs
  • – Detailed inside information about many great career paths from the PhD perspective
  • – Long term stories of PhD success outside the academy
  • – A six-module Options for Success Career Discovery Course
  • – Potential contacts in non-academic organizations: PhDs and ABDs who have gone into non-academic careers and might actually help

Q: I think I am at a subscribing institution. How do I get access to the subscription-only resources?
A: Each subscribing institution has its own access portal. You will have to go through that portal once in order to unlock the subscription-only resources. Find your institution in our list of current subscribers and follow the links or prompts. These portals rely on institutional authentication systems, so if you’re currently enrolled at or employed by a subscribing institution, it should be much like accessing any other online resource intended for members of the campus community. If you are at a subscribing institution but can’t get through the portal, please contact the office hosting the subscription to find out why.

Q: Do I retain my access when I graduate?
A: Once you have validated your connection to a subscribing institution, your access lasts as long as the institution maintains its subscription.

Q: What happens if my institution stops subscribing?
A: Your Versatile PhD member account will remain active, but you will no longer have access to subscription-only content and features.

Q: I want my institution to subscribe to VPhD. How can I help that happen?
A: Reach out to your graduate dean or the director of your Career Center and ask for it. One model for doing that is described in this PDF.

Q: Can I pay for my own subscription? If so, what is the cost?
A: We are working on this! We realize many people who want the content are prevented from accessing it because they are not at a subscribing institution, or not at an institution at all. We hope to offer an individual subscription sometime in calendar 2017. Feedback and ideas welcome.

Q: I am not a PhD yet. Can I still join?
A: Absolutely. Anyone with an interest in non-academic careers for PhDs may register to become a Basic Member.

Q: I’m a Master’s student. What about me?
A: You are absolutely welcome to use the site. Look before you leap into a PhD program!

Q: Will I get spam?
A: No. VPhD does not rent or sell its member info to anyone, ever. You control the emails you receive. Paula sends out “monthly messages” once a month but you can even opt out of those if you wish.

Q: There was a Phd Career Panel Discussion on the site recently, but now I can’t find it. What happened to it?
A: We leave panel discussions up for a couple of weeks, then take them down for editing/archiving. They are later made available to university subscribers in the PhD Career Finder.

Q: How can I sign up for the Monthly Message email newsletter?
A: Join Versatile PhD and you will automatically be added to the Monthly Message recipients list. If you do not receive one within a month, check your spam folder. You can also opt out of the Monthly Message by changing your profile settings.

Q: Is there a local meet-up in my area? Does it cost money to attend the local meet-up?
A: Joining VPhD gives you access to a list of local meet-ups. There is no cost to attend.

Q: Does Versatile PhD share information about me with my institution?
A: We never share information about individual users with subscribing institutions. We report only aggregated data to the institutional offices that fund a subscription.

Q: Why should I trust this site?
A: The VPhD community was founded by a PhD in crisis just like yourself. In 1999, Paula Chambers started a email list about non-academic careers for Humanities PhDs when she was dissertating in English at Ohio State. That community grew under her warm, consistent leadership and has now become the wonderfully cohesive community that it is today with a range of new, innovative approaches to PhD career development. 100% of the content is original, not found elsewhere, and is created by PhDs, for PhDs.