Alternative careers with a PhD

Getting a postgraduate research degree equips you with many of the vital transferable skills you need in all workplaces. For example, time spent doing a PhD, MPhil, MRes or an EdD all involve critical thinking, problem solving, project management, communication, IT skills, dedication and resilience. As such, if you’re considering a career outside academia after your postgraduate degree, then the opportunities are vast. Here are some useful resources and links to help you work out what you can do with your research degree and how to get started.

Case studies

A good way to explore potential career paths for postrgaduate research students (PGRs) is to find out what people who have graduated in the past have gone on to do. Try some of the researcher case studies on the following websites:

  • Vitae have a collection of career stories in their What do research staff do next? section on their website, describing the experiences of research staff who have moved to other non-academic occupations
  • jobs.ac.uk include some professional case studies in the career advice section on their website, including a variety of roles across many sectors
  • Networking - face-to-face and online - will help you discover potential paths; talk to alumni and use sites such as LinkedIn to find out what Bristol graduates are doing now

There's also support available from professionals with a PhD, via online groups such as PhD Careers Outside of Academia on LinkedIn.

Working in industry

Each sector will vary in terms of the skills and experience you need to work in that industry. Start by using our sector guides to find out about qualifications, skills and experiences needed in particular industries. Other sites have information on how researchers can get into particular industries, for example: