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Career Resources for Graduate Students

Graduate Drop-In Advising Hours

Career Planning as a Graduate Student

Graduate school is itself a stage of your career. Being a graduate student introduces you to a particular sector of work (academia) with associated norms, values, and expectations. At the end of your graduate program, you may choose to continue to work in that sector (through continuing further studies, beginning a post-doc, or applying for academic jobs), or you may decide to bring your knowledge and skills to a different sector (for-profit industry, government, healthcare etc.).

Most graduate students will consider more than one career option over the course of their degree, and many students will find their career paths to be influenced by a variety of factors (eg. family responsibilities, desired living location, desired income, labor market trends etc.)

 As a graduate student, your most valuable career development resources are curiosity, flexibility, and an open mind.

Career Learning and Exploration

The CSI&C is a hub of career development expertise, programs, initiatives, and resources integrated within the full range of students’ academic, co-curricular, & extra-curricular experiences. The CSI&C works in partnership with Faculties to support students to become career-ready graduates.  

Graduate students (Masters and PhD, any discipline and any stage of their program) can access services related to career advising and development through the CSI&C (located in Brock Hall, Room 1036, open M-F from 9 to 6).  Students can also access services for up to 1 year post graduation.

Danielle Barkley, PhD, works as the Graduate Career Educator and can serve as the key point of contact for inquiries related to graduate students (danielle.barkley@ubc.ca).

Want to get started with career development and exploration? Check out our Graduate Career Guide (coming soon!)

Where Should I Start?

Career Exploration involves consideration of:

Skills (what you know how to do, and are good at)

Interests (the type of work you like to do, the questions you want to answer, the problems you want to solve)

Values (what you care about, how do you want to show up in the world)

There are many ways to assess and reflect on these areas; here are two key resources for graduate students:

  • Imagine PhD (tailored to humanists and social scientists)
  • My IDP (tailored for researchers in STEM fields)

Additional Resources

Looking for sample documents or job search strategies?

Tools & Resources

Tools

UBC Graduate Game Plan

Wide-ranging discussion of strategies for graduate students to achieve academic and career related goals

My IDP

A combined self-assessment and goal setting tool, designed for students with graduate degrees in STEM fields. Includes information on academic and non-academic career paths

Imagine PhD

A self-assessment and goal setting tool, designed for students in social sciences and humanities. Includes information on a wide variety of career paths, annotated job postings, sample job documents and more.

Intersect Job Simulations

By completing job simulations you can consider which careers are of interest to you and utilize provided resources to explore future courses of action by following up with professionals in the career field.

Resources

UBC PhD Outcomes

Published in 2017 using data from 2005-2013,  this data reports on the career paths of UBC PhD graduates, including distribution across sectors, sample job titles, and satisfaction reports.

UBC Department Profile Career Outcomes

On the “Prospective Students” page, most programs will include a “Career Outcomes” section with information about where recent graduates are working, their job titles, and more.

 O-Net

Detailed database listing many occupations with information about skills required, and what the job is like

University Affairs

Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside Higher Education

    Advice & Community

    Career Path Profiles

    From PhD To Life

    Interviews with individuals with PhDs now working in a variety of fields discussing their career transitions

    Guide to Post PhD Interview Websites

    List of 8 websites, all of which are focused on capturing career transition stories post PhD.

    Blogs & Websites

    The Professor is In

    Wide ranging and detailed career advice, primarily targeting those seeking academic jobs in social sciences and humanities, but with helpful advice about careers in general.

    Cheeky Scientist

    Advice for graduates with STEM degrees looking to transition to industry

    Connected Academics

    Career Advice, community posts, and profiles for humanities PhDs, especially from languages and literature. Includes resources for faculty members and department chairs.

    Many scholarly associations (AHA, APA, etc.) will have career resources designed for graduate students available on their websites.

    Opportunities

    This list represents some examples of opportunities for graduate students to gain experience and expand their networks.

    UBC Work Learn

    The Work Learn program offers paid, part-time work opportunities on campus for current students.

    MITACS

    Canadian  organization working to connect industry and academia. Offers funded internship opportunities, post-doc opportunities and professional development training opportunities to students from all disciplines

    UBC Public Scholars Initiative

    Provides funding for UBC PhDs to pursue community-connected research.

     UBC English/History PhD Co-op

    Opportunity for PhD students in English or  History to complete a related co-op term as part of their doctoral degree

    UBC Sustainability Scholars Program

    Paid internship program that matches UBC graduate students with on- and off-campus sustainability partners

    UBC Graduate Pathways to Success

    A palette of non-credit workshops, seminars and other activities to support graduate school success and professional development.

    Stories

    An arts perspective: Peter Wrinch

    Peter Wrinch was focused on a career in academia throughout his studies in Russian History. He now has a career in the not-for-profit industry as the Executive Director at Pivot Legal.

    An academic's perspective: Marwan Hassan

    Marwan Hassan is a Professor and Geography Department Head at the University of British Columbia. He gives insight into choosing a career in academia and methods of achieving a job.

    An engineer's perspective: Veronique Hadade

    Veronique Hadade has a Masters in both Mechanical Engineering and Management, which she has applied to a career in Business Development at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates.

    Combining technical and business skills: Leslie Ng

    Leslie Ng supplemented her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering with an MBA. She now works for the City of Vancouver as an engineer and planner for the sustainability team.

    From a CFO and Mentor: Kathryn Hayashi

    Kathryn Hayashi is the Chief Financial Officer at the Centre for Drug Research and Development, with a career spanning a variety of industries from music to biotechnology.

    Transferring technical skills to industry: Harish Vasudevan

    Harish Vasudevan holds a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from UBC. After deciding that academia wasn't for him, he focused his career on industries requiring high intellectual capital instead.

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