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What Can I Do With My PhD?

If you are wrapping up your PhD, congrats!  Completing an advanced degree is quite an achievement.  It's likely you haven't had to think too much about employment prospects, but once the end of the road is in may be thinking "what now?"  Today's blog will outline some options that you may want to consider.  

Postdoc:  A postdoctoral researcher (postdoc) is a temporary position in academia, industry, a nonprofit organization, or government.  This type of role is primarily for gaining additional education and training in research for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue a particular career path.  It may be a stepping stone to a faculty role.  

Faculty: Many PhD candidates pursue their advanced graduate degree with hopes of obtaining a full-time, tenure track faculty position at a university. With an interest in both gaining and transferring knowledge, a faculty position seems a likely career fit for PhD graduates. Keep in mind that though a tenure track faculty position is the most coveted, it may also be a litter harder to come by. Those who are interested in remaining within academia as faculty might also consider part-time or adjunct positions.

As a student surrounded by academics, it can be difficult to see the wide variety of opportunities that lay beyond graduation. The Versatile PhD provides knowledge and support through regular panel discussions and resources for those exploring non-academic career options. Through the Graduate School’s subscription, all Ohio State students, faculty, staff, and alumni have access to the full resources of the Versatile PhD, and participation is completely confidential. Learn more here.

Research: Opportunities in specialized areas in line with industry and non-profit research and development will put your thirst for knowledge and discovery to good use. Ohio State PhD graduate in Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Lauren Slutzky, currently works with Battelle Memorial Institute as a Research Scientist. To learn more about her overall responsibilities and tips for success, read more here.

Higher Education: Professional, administrative roles at a university allow you to stay within the higher education environment and impact the student experience in a different way.  

Government: Civilian government employees, and even those who enlist in a military branch, have opportunities to conduct governmental research within their field of study. Matteo Muratori, an Ohio State PhD graduate in Mechanical Engineering, now holds a position at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as a Transportation Engineer. Find out more about Matteo and his career insight in the Alumni Success Stories here.

Law: Many firms employ PhDs as technical specialists for patent applications, though most will require you become a certified patent agent within a year of employment.

Consulting: Positions that assess big picture problems and employ analytical skills to provide methods for addressing the underlying problems for businesses, organization, and government.

There are quite a few options for you to consider!  Please come visit ECS if you'd like help with resumes, CVs, cover letters, or any other job search related items.  

“If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple: Know what you are doing, love what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing.”
-Will Rogers 

About the author

Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor is a Career Counselor at Engineering Career Services.