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TRaCE: Track, Report and Connect, Exchange

TRaCE Transborder logo

TRaCE Transborder aims to

  1. produce a detailed picture of career outcomes for humanities PhD graduates at the 12 Partner universities (listed below);
  2. tell the stories of the education and career pathways of the PhD graduates, especially the stories of PhD grads who have found their way to non-academic careers; and
  3. help build a PhD community inside and outside the academy.

TRaCE’s integration of statistical data, narrative knowledge, and community building is unique in the world among PhD tracking projects.

TRaCE Partner Universities

  • McGill University (Ca)
  • University of Alberta (Ca) Queen’s University (Ca)  Australian National University (Au) 
  • University of Queensland (Au)
  • UCLA (US) 
  • University of Massachusetts (US)
  • Durham University (UK)
  • University of Ghana (Gh) 
  • University of Hyderabad (In)
  • Utrecht University (Nl).

Track & Report

TRaCE gathers information about humanities PhD programs and career outcomes from partner universities to produce research deliverables including

  1. an online, publicly-accessible archive of PhD outcomes, including both quantitative and qualitative information, for ten graduating cohorts, 2013-2022, from the partner universities;
  2. a quantitative, international study of humanities PhD career paths; and
  3. “a storybook for PhDs”—a collaborative study of the problems and solutions for humanities PhDs seeking fulfilling and valuable careers.

The study will be based on the narratives, and will include the narratives, of nine PhD grads from nine countries.

Connect & Exchange

TRaCE resets the process of PhD skills training by beginning to think through student needs from the perspective of where they will end up. Despite the valuable skills Humanities Doctoral students gain while completing their degree, they all too often experience difficulties that include:

  • Long completion times
  • Poor employment prospects
  • Low social impact
  • Protracted transition to career paths

IDP Design transforms the PhD experience by utilizing from year one narratives about future career pathways. The program leverages three resources: TRaCE’s database of interviews with PhD graduates, internal referrer networks and collaborative project-definition techniques. The assembled team uses collaborative problem-framing and solution-ideation techniques, drawn from the world of design thinking, to test the student’s research ideas and create a roadmap for the student’s PhD program. The team’s combined knowledge, skills, and experience enrich the student’s research, social impact, and career prospects.

Durham University’s Engagement

Durham University is a full partner university in the TRaCE programme, where it represents the UK.

We have trained a team of postgraduate students who are spearheading the Track-Report phase with an anticipated completion date of January 2025.

IDP design (Connect-Exchange) launched in January as a pilot in two departments Theology and Religion and History.  It will roll out from there to other departments in 2025.


Discover more

Find out more about postgraduate research degrees and postgraduate funding at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Durham University.

Postgraduate Research Degrees

Find out more about the Faculty of Arts and Humanities' Postgraduate Research Degrees.
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Postgraduate Funding

Find out more about Postgraduate Funding at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
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