Career opportunities for PhD graduates

Career Advice
09 March 2017 | Career Advice | Guest Author

Few things are as satisfying as finally getting your Ph.D. and turning to the next chapter in your life. The feeling of accomplishment often fills you with unrivalled joy but that feeling tends to slowly drift towards the question: “Well, what do I do now?”.

It's a big question that every Ph.D. student asks themselves before, during and after their Ph.D., and it's a question that rarely has a simple answer. One of the reasons for this is the fact that there are so many job opportunities available to you, and the scope widens with each passing year. Since there are so many options both in academia and industry you might find it hard to figure out what path you wish to take.

In this article you will see some of the best and most popular career opportunities for Ph.D. graduates, so you can make that very big decision a little easier.


Writing is a very popular career path for Ph.D. graduates and the reason it is popular is because the possibilities are seemingly endless. Whether it's conference papers, progress reports or newsletters and articles there are plenty of opportunities for Ph.D. graduates in writing.

During your Ph.D., you will have written and rewritten many pieces of work, and while few job will require writing thesis length pieces, the skill you gain during your Ph.D. will make you primed and ready for the writing world.


If you found that during your Ph.D. you both enjoyed and excelled at researching for your thesis, then you could continue on in the Higher Education sector by becoming a professional researcher. You can stay in the area of the subject that you were trained in which allows you to grow and evolve while remaining comfortable.

The good thing about this career opportunity is that it doesn't have to begin and end in academia. You can become a researcher for documentaries, online blogs, and screenwriters, making it a job that can take you to many different avenues.


A very common career opportunity that Ph.D. students gravitate to is a career in teaching. You can lecture on the subject you did for your Ph.D. or you can start from the ground up and begin teaching in pre or high school. In teaching, there are several training programs that you have to take to get the necessary licenses and experience but the actual knowledge you need teaching and the focus and understanding you need for grading papers is a skill you learn during your Ph.D.

Oral communications

If you found yourself slightly uneasy with the writing aspects of your Ph.D. but found it easy to perform presentations or talk to both large and small groups of people, the job opportunities in the oral communications field are widespread and fulfilling. A great benefit is that most companies will provide training to sharpen your public speaking skills and it's a refreshing break from academia making it a very attractive position to fill.


The great thing about having a Ph.D. is that it tells prospective employers that you are dedicated, able to work on your own, and task-driven. This means that having a Ph.D. can open up doors that you may not have previously imagined, and one of those doors is internships. Internships are hard to come by but something that puts you in front of the queue is having a Ph.D. so if you have been interested in an industry outside of your Ph.D. or academia, don't think that you can't access it. People who have had a literature Ph.D. have gone on to intern at music magazines and multimedia companies so considering an internship can vastly widen your net when seeking career opportunities.

Before reading this article you have been overwhelmed by the number of possible choices or you may have thought the choices at your disposal were very limited. Either way, as you can see above there are plenty of opportunities that you can utilize to have an exciting and fulfilling career after you get your Ph.D.

Joan is an Assistant Manager at, a curious individual, avid reader and a passionate creative writer.

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