The Graduate School

The Non-Academic Route


Not every student undertaking a postgraduate research degree will want to pursue a career in academia; for some, this will be apparent from the very start, while for others it may be a dawning realisation as they progress through the degree. In any case, many things can change in the course of the three plus years it takes to complete a research degree.  Overall, it’s important to maintain a sense of self-awareness throughout the course of your PhD; assessing and reassessing your personal and professional aspirations and motivations will help you to make the right career choice for you.

Research degrees are highly regarded by employers working in a wide range of sectors; specialised industries are particularly aware of the unique skillset that a doctoral graduate can bring to their organisation. Some positions may not require you to hold a PhD or other research degree; but the skills you have attained throughout the duration of your research degree – such as presentation, public speaking, teaching, time management and organisational skills – will work to your advantage.

Within the non-academic route, there are two options for research students:  to continue to work in a research capacity outside the higher education sector or to pursue a non-research career. Click here for a discussion of the types of opportunities available in research careers and careers outside of research.

PhD graduates pursue successful careers in a range of areas outside of academia.  Popular destinations which directly relate to the research, communication, project management and analytical skills developed through the PhD include:

 PGR Careers Beyond Academia

You may wish to consider:

  • A research career outside academia;
  • Pursuing a career related to your discipline;
  • Applying the transferable skills developed during the PhD to the same broad range of careers open to all graduates;
  • Self-employment, entrepreneurship or freelance careers;
  • Developing a ‘portfolio career’ by combining several of these aspects.

Look out for monthly PGR Careers Options emails providing more detail on relevant opportunities.


Further Information