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Career Resources for Graduate Students

Advising Appointments & Drop-In 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 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)

Graduate Student Career Activation Project 2021 - Applications Now Open!

As a graduate student, it can be tricky to know how to move towards your career goals - or even to know what those goals are.

The CSI&C wants to support graduate students as they activate their careers, and we have funds available to help you try stuff out. By participating in the GSCAP 2021 program, you’ll have access to the following:

  • A tailored, small-group workshop to help you explore career and life design
  • Funding (up to $500 per participant) for prototyping and trying out actions related to career exploration
  • Participation in a cohort of other graduate students exploring career and life design
  • Access to 1-1 coaching

What You’ll Need to Bring/Contribute

  • Curiosity and an openness to exploring potential career goals
  • Encouragement to support the goals of your cohort members
  • Adequate time to attend the Career Design Lab and to explore prototypes and actions that emerge from the launch workshop

Funding must be disbursed and utilized by March 31, 2021. Students should expect to be engaging in their prototypes between February 24 and March 31, and ensure they will have adequate time to do so

To learn more about how previous GSCAP participants have leveraged the program to expand their career horizons, check out the artefacts at https://students.ubc.ca/career/career-resources/career-resources-graduate#gscap-student-projects

Eligibility

All full-time students enrolled in a graduate program administered by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are eligible and encouraged to apply.

In order to participate, students must be available to attend the Career Design Lab session on February 25, 2021 at 2pm Pacific Standard Time. The session will be held virtually, via Zoom, and will require active participation and access to video and audio. Students who cannot attend the Career Design Lab session will not be eligible to participate in the program, or receive funding.

Students are not required to obtain the signature of their supervisor at the time of application; however, the expectation is that students will show judgement, good faith, and transparency as they plan career development opportunities, and will honor all existing academic and research commitments.

How To Apply

In order to apply, please submit the following to katherine.cheng@ubc.ca, Graduate Career Development Coordinator, by February 8, 2021:

  • a completed application form
  • a resume/CV (any length/format is acceptable)
  • a 300-word statement responding to the following: What’s your biggest career question? How would your grad school experience be different if you could take action towards answering that question?
  • Optional Statement: The CSI&C is committed to supporting equity and career intersectionality. If there is anything you would like us to know about you and your identity as we consider your application, please feel free to share in a short statement. Any of this information will be kept confidential.

Any questions about the program or application can be directed to danielle.barkley@ubc.ca.

Additional Resources

Looking for sample documents or job search strategies?

Tools & Resources

Tool

UBC Graduate Game Plan

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

My IDP

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

Imagine PhD

Access a self-assessment and goal setting tool, designed for students in social sciences and humanities. It includes information on a wide variety of career paths, annotated job postings, sample job documents, and job simulation activities.

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

Access a detailed database listing many occupations with information about required skills and qualifications.

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. This resource is hosted by the MLA (Modern Language Association).

    Many other 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.

    GSCAP Student Projects

    Graduate Student Career Activation Project (GSCAP) provides UBC graduate students the creative freedom to prepare for the career of their dreams. Students work directly with the CSIC and are granted up to $1,000 to invest in their career development. The stories below highlight the achievements of our 2019 cohort. 

    Inclusive Fitness: Savoy Williams

    Savoy Williams is a personal trainer  and Masters student at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. Savoy completed the CanFit Pro Personal Training certification and now uses this training to empower gender and sexually diverse students to engage in an active lifestyle.

    Video Credit: Love Intersections

    Aerial Agroecology: Evan Bowness

    Evan Bowness is a PhD Candidate with the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability. Evan's research harnesses the power of drone photography to tell stories about how we use land. GSCAP funding has allowed him to acquire some of the necessary training and certification to be able to fly places that require special permission. Evan is in the process of creating a photo series, including aerial photos at UBC Farm photographs showcasing the diversity of agroecology at UBC. To read more about Evan's experience, click the link below

    Kinder Morgan 'Tank Farm'
    Mountain range in British Columbia
    Agroforestry Farm in Southern Brazil

    Being Blind in a Sighted World: Laura Bulk

    Laura Bulk is a PhD candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences; her research focuses on disability and belonging in academia. Laura used GSCAP funding to attend a mentorship and networking event to support early career scholars with disabilities; since then, she has started a new position as an Accessibility Advisor supporting UBC students in health programs. The video below highlights Laura’s ongoing research.

    Podcasts and Psychology: Kyle Gooderham and Drake Levere

    Kyle Gooderham and Drake Levere are two PhD students with the UBC Department of Psychology. Drake and Kyle used GSCAP funding to  enhance thier research focused podcast, BrainBuzz. The episode below takes a look at how PhD students can enhance research through communication tools like podcasting, as well as how the GSCAP has helped them explore future career possibilities. 

    Listen here 

    Cross-Cultural Food Systems: Wilson Mendes

    Wilson Mendes is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Mendes utilized GSCAP funds to attend a 3-day workshop to learn more about how to address structural racism, and plans to apply these learnings to ongoing research food system policies, planning, and governance.

    Languages for Learning: Sonia Medel

    Sonia Medel is a PhD student in the Department of Educational Studies. Medel used her GSCAP funding to enhance her multilingual fluency in Quechua in preparation for community engagement and federal/international policy employment. The funding was applied to host open workshops where members of the UBC community could come together to benefit from language learning led by a local expert. 

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    Centre for Student Involvement and Careers

    Current Service Update

    In support of social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers has suspended all in-person operations and has transitioned services to online delivery. The physical CSI&C will remain closed until further notice. 

    Brock Hall
    Room 1036
    1874 East Mall
    Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
    Canada