Diversity Studies Professor: Employment Outlook and Requirements

Nov 18, 2020

Career Definition for Diversity Studies Professors

Diversity studies professors teach classes that focus on identifying and determining the influence of factors like sexual orientation, religious beliefs, age, class, race, gender, and ability. They are typically employed by community colleges and 4-year universities, where they develop and present course materials in classrooms or large lecture halls. Professional duties include assigning and reviewing out-of-class work and mentoring or advising students. Once they've met their instructional obligations, diversity studies professors are usually free to pursue research for publication and serve on departmental or school-wide committees.

Education Doctorate in humanities or social science field
Job Skills Create and present course materials, assign work, mentor students; must have time management skills, be detail oriented, and analytical thinking skills
Median Salary (2019)* $71,530 (all postsecondary social science teachers)
Job Growth (2019-2029)* 9% (all postsecondary teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Diversity studies professors typically hold a Ph.D. in the humanities or social sciences, such as English, political science, sociology, or psychology, among other areas. A reputation in the field can be key, as well as the ability to present individual subject areas within the context of diversity or multiculturalism. In addition to a Ph.D., which can take seven years or more to complete, diversity studies professors must pursue comprehensive coursework in their field and publish the results of their research.

Skills Required

Diversity studies professors must have the time management skills necessary to juggle their teaching and office responsibilities and conduct research. They should also be detail-oriented and adept at creative and analytical thinking. Strong interpersonal skills are useful when working with colleagues, students, and university staff.

Career and Salary Outlook

Diversity studies professors may start as assistants before progressing to associate and full professorships. Opportunities for tenured professorships are highly competitive and may not be available at all institutions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teachers, including diversity studies professors, can look forward to a 9%, or much-faster-than-average, increase in jobs nationwide from 2019 to 2029. The BLS also reported that the median salary for social sciences professors was $71,530 as of May 2019 (www.bs.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Anthropologists and Archaeologists

Anthropologists and archaeologists study how human beings and their behaviors began and developed over time in a global context, and their research activities can include those associated with archaeological remains, culture, and language. While completion of a 4-year program in anthropology and archaeology may qualify new graduates for entry-level work as assistants or field associates, a master's or doctoral degree in either discipline, in combination with experience, is usually required to obtain a position. As reported by the BLS, anthropologists and archaeologists will enjoy a 5%, or faster-than-average, growth in jobs nationwide from 2019 to 2029, with competition expected to be high in this very limited field. In May 2019, professionals working in anthropology and archaeology were paid median annual salaries of $63,670 (www.bls.gov).


Sociologists are usually employed by local and state government agencies, consulting firms, research organizations, and postsecondary schools, where they examine social behaviors and societal institutions. As with anthropologists and archaeologists, completion of a master's or doctoral program in the subject is the usual requirement for securing a position; graduates with 4-year degrees in sociology may find entry-level jobs in education, public policy, or social services. The BLS reports that employment of sociologists nationwide is projected to increase by a rate of 4% between 2019 and 2029 in what is essentially a very limited field. As of May 2019, sociologists earned median annual wages of $83,420 (ww.bls.gov).

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