Doctoral students are considering their options as they graduate into a sparse job market.

In the last couple years the federal government has slashed research budgets and jobs. University budgets are also tight, leading many to cut the short-term teaching positions PhDs can try to leverage into a full-time faculty position.

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After eight years of study to earn her PhD, Jessica Willis sees few job opportunities and will go back to school again to study dentistry. (CBC)

Jessica Willis, a biomedical science student at the University of Prince Edward Island, expects to soon have her PhD after eight years of post-secondary education.

"I thought I'd have a pretty good chance of maybe getting some work with the Department of Fisheries, or Health Canada, Environment Canada," said Willis.

"I really thought there was a lot of different avenues I could pursue after my PhD."

None of those opportunities are looking so promising now. When Willis completes her doctorate, she plans to go back to school once again to study dentistry.

"There's been a lot of job cuts, so there's very few positions that are open for availability. I think a lot of PhD students are now faced with the trouble that they are overqualified," she said.

Robert Gilmour, UPEI's vice president of research, acknowledges this is a challenging time for PhD graduates across the country, but he said the availability of suitable work for doctoral grads tends to fluctuate and he suspects things will eventually turn around.