Careers for PhDs

Career Paths in Academia and Industry

Whether you’re interested in exploring opportunities in industry, focusing on teaching and research in academia, or keeping your options open, we can help.

PhD students often question when to start looking for employment post-graduation. In addition to networking and trying on various experiences throughout their program, the answer to this question depends on the norms of each industry or interest area. Check out this PhD recruitment timelines resource for when a variety of industries have peak recruitment.

For personalized, one-on-one advice on how to leverage your PhD for a fulfilling career, schedule an appointment with a Career Advising & Professional Development counselor. To connect with the right people and information, see our calendar for panel talks, workshops and networking events.

For updates about PhD career workshops, resources and opportunities, join the CAPD Grad Student Newsletter or the CAPD Postdoc Newsletter depending on your status.

PhD Career Tools

Luckily, you’re no stranger to research. Reach out to alumni for informational interviews using MIT’s alumni directory. Search for alumni by company, course, year of graduation, and more. You can also network and research using LinkedIn. Quintessential Careers also offers more resources about informational interviews

In addition, the following tools and resources will help you explore different PhD career paths and find opportunities.

MIT PhD Survey

Our annual “Earned Doctoral Degree Survey” tracks the plans of MIT doctorates after graduation in both industry and academia. Data includes how graduates found jobs, top industries and companies, employers by department, and salaries.

MyIDP: Career Planning for PhDs in Science

MyIDP (or Individual Development Plan) is a free tool for science PhDs to explore career possibilities and find the career path that fits you best. Work with a career counselor to review your results and develop a plan. Features include:

  • Exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values
  • A list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests
  • A tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you on track
  • Articles, guides and other resources
  • Related videos to the IDP and career planning.

ImaginePhD: Career Planning for PhDs in Humanities and Social Sciences

ImaginePhD is a free tool for humanities and social sciences PhDs to explore career possibilities and find the career path that fits you best. Work with a career counselor to review your results and develop a plan. On ImaginePhD you will be able to:

  • Assess your career-related skills, interests, and values
  • Explore career paths appropriate to your discipline
  • Create self-defined goals
  • Map out the next steps for your career

Developed by experts from over 50 universities, ImaginePhD offers a unique platform that teaches PhDs about popular job sectors, search strategies, and how to transfer skills across settings.