Jobs for People with a PhD in Gender Studies

Jun 11, 2019

If you have earned your PhD in gender studies, there are various career opportunities available to you. You could choose to stay in academia, becoming a professor or a postdoctoral research fellow or choose to use your expertise in a non-profit setting or as a social worker.

A PhD in gender studies is an advanced degree that delves into the intricacies of how gender affects culture, society, technology, medicine, biases, and much more. There are several career paths for those who earn this degree, many of them in the realm of academia. However, PhD holders can also use their skills in other ways, including working for non-profits or in the field of social work. The table that follows indicates specific careers for those with a PhD in gender studies as well as the salary and job outlook statistics.

PhD in Gender Studies: Careers and Statistics

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Professor $74,140 (sociology teachers, postsecondary) 10% (sociology teachers, postsecondary)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow $48,222 (postdoctoral research associate)** 2%-4% (social science research assistant)
Editor $55,390 (editors with newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers) -1%
Director, Non-Profit $65,392 (executive director, non-profit organization)** 15%+ (social and community service managers)
Social Worker $49,470 16%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale

Careers for People with a PhD in Gender Studies

Professor of Gender Studies

After earning a PhD in gender studies, many people will continue on in the world of academia by joining the faculty of a university. Usually, although not always, gender studies is housed in the sociology departments of universities. Some people will earn titles such as Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies or Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, depending on their specialty. Professors are required to teach undergraduate and graduate classes in their specific fields and also must do research as well as write and publish scholarly books and articles.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Sometimes a professorship in the right field and specialty isn't available right after someone graduates with their PhD in gender studies. When this is the case, another job option is that of postdoctoral research fellow within a sociology or gender studies department. These types of positions let people continue with their research while also assisting professors and faculty with their research. The main reason why one chooses this job is that it can lead to a professorship down the road.


Another career option related to academia for those with a PhD in gender in studies is that of academic editor. There are numerous, peer-reviewed academic journals that focus on gender studies and related fields such as women's studies and feminist theory. An editor is responsible for soliciting, editing, and publishing material.

Director of a Non-Profit

Outside of the world of academia, some with a PhD in gender studies choose to put their skills and knowledge to work for non-profit organizations. As gender studies gives someone expertise in subjects such as women's right, diversity, feminist theory, queer theory, and sexuality, they are able to work with non-profits that advocate for things such as increasing human rights for women and girls, ending sex trafficking, providing access to health care, and similar worthy causes.

Social Worker

While a PhD in gender studies isn't necessarily required for social workers, this kind of degree could prepare one for more advanced and specialized jobs in the field. This degree can improve your skills and understanding of marginalized groups, such as women, and the specific needs and strategies for improving their lives. A PhD in gender studies expands a social worker's knowledge base so that they may be more effective at their jobs, overall.

With a PhD in gender studies, it is possible for someone to continue their career in academia by becoming a professor or postdoctoral research fellow; they can also work as an editor of an academic journal. There are also many opportunities outside of academia with social justice non-profits that advocate for human rights or with social work agencies.

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