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Humanists At Large

Humanists at Large (HAL) exposes PhD students in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences to meaningful work beyond academia that capitalizes on humanistic knowledge and skills. It is part of a national effort to make the diversity of humanities careers visible, viable, and valued. Career opportunities beyond faculty positions are not readily apparent to PhD students in the humanities. HAL comprises a set of resources and a program for Stanford PhD students.

HAL Program

The HAL program brings together a selected group of ten Stanford PhD students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. HAL Fellows come together to learn about and explore diverse career paths.

The HAL program takes place throughout Winter and Spring quarters each academic year. The pilot year launched with a cohort of nine Fellows and a program from February through June 2020. HAL moved from in-person to virtual learning due to COVID-19. The second cohort of ten Fellows met from January through June 2021. The third cohort will be selected to meet from January to June 2022.

A detailed description of expectations and schedule is available here.

Program Goals

The 2022 HAL Fellows do four things together:

Participate in a cohort community of Fellows who are all doctoral students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The cohort builds a peer group for learning and support.

Learn the process of career exploration. Career exploration is an iterative process of learning about yourself —your values, skills, and interests— and learning about possibilities out in the world.

Practice the strategies of exploring career and applying for jobs. Some of the specific skills we will work on together are conducting informational interviews, writing resumes, creating LinkedIn profiles, and interviewing.

Engage with the humanities employment ecosystem in the Bay Area. HAL identifies organizations and people who use humanistic thinking, skills, and values in their work. HAL Fellows connect with them through informational interviews and site visits.

Scheduled Sessions

The HAL program meets these goals by starting with the curriculum of the Stanford Life Design Lab’s Designing the Professional class. This course is taught for graduate students in Winter quarter, 2022 in person and in Spring quarter, 2022 online and all HAL fellows are expected to take it if they havent done so. We will build on that curriculum with Humanist-specific conversations, as well as skill sessions and site visits.

Designing the Professional Class (ENGR 311B). Winter or Spring Quarter: Wednesdays, 5:30 - 7:30 pm. We strongly prefer that you take the Winter quarter class.

Ten HAL-only sessions. Every other Monday, 4:00 - 5:30 pm. with adjustments for holidays, via Zoom. 

Winter quarter: Jan 10, Jan 24, Feb 7, Feb 14, Mar 7.

Spring quarter: Mar 28, Apr 11, Apr 25, May 9, May 23.

Site visits to places where humanities PhDs are employed. During April and May; dates and times TBD.

HAL Resources

Looking to explore career opportunities beyond academia? Whether or not you are a HAL fellow, we have resources to help you along the way.

Bay Area Humanists at Large Directory Find PhD humanists working in the Bay Area who are willing to talk with you about their work and career paths. Search the directory by discipline of origin or current work role.

Profiles of Humanists at Large How did other PhD humanists make the transition from being a PhD student to fulfilling careers beyond the academy? How do they use their humanistic thinking, skills, and values in their work?  What advice do they have for you? Read these profiles to find out.

Imagine PhD This free on-line tool is aimed at humanities and social science PhD students. It has three self-assessments and a variety of resources to help you explore 15 job families that are particularly suited to humanists and social scientists.

Disciplinary Societies

Many humanities disciplinary societies embrace career diversity. Check out the abundant resources curated by these societies.

About Us

Humanists at Large (HAL) is made possible through the generous support of the Dean of Humanities and Sciences. The program is housed at BEAM, Stanford Career Education, under the PhD+Postdoc team. The program is led by Chris Golde. If you have any questions about HAL, please email Chris at golde at