College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Exploring Career Pathways:

Whether you are pursuing a career within or beyond the academy, career exploration and preparation should occur throughout your time in graduate school.

This does not necessarily mean you should be drafting cover letters while completing your coursework or applying for positions while you are preparing for your comprehensive exams. However, regularly assessing your skills, interests, values, and ultimate career goals is essential as these often radically change as you progress through your program.

For example, during your first or second year in your program you might discover that you really enjoy teaching but have become less enthusiastic about running your own lab or multi-year research projects. Perhaps you enjoy research but prefer writing shorter policy papers or find yourself drawn to community engagement projects in education or the arts. Whether you are pursuing a career at a research intensive university, a liberal arts college, a museum, non-profit agency, or a technology start-up company, regularly exploring your interests and values and the career options that best align with those interests and values is vital in finding a career path that is a good fit for you.

Getting Started

We understand that career exploration and self-assessment both take effort and can often be daunting, and we're here to help! The resources on this site are here to help you get started, but we also want to encourage you to make an appointment with our Graduate Professional Development Coordinator, Dr. Nicole Reiz , and the career coaches in the University Career Center to help you explore and navigate the various career pathways open to you.

We recommend beginning your career exploration first through career self-assessments and individual development plan tools that have been developed for graduate students. Once you have discovered a career path or paths that interest you, we encourage you to explore these areas further through informational interviews, volunteering, and networking to really get a good sense of if that career path is a good fit for you. The resources below have been developed to assist you. Please contact us if you have any questions at


Career Exploration and Self-Assessments


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Networking, Informational Interviews, and Volunteering


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Other Exploration Resources


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