Explore Career Options

UT Austin helps graduate students prepare for a wide range of careers in academia, industry, nonprofits, government, and business. Explore careers that advanced degree alumni can pursue by taking a zero-credit hour course or by viewing our short Alumni@Work videos profiles and our dashboard of career outcomes.

Alumni Profiles   Career Exploration Courses Career Outcomes

Discover Your Career

Career exploration is like a research project. Following a structured approach can help you determine whether a career of interest is a good fit for you based on key aspects of your professional and personal identity.

  • Self-Assess

    Assess your interests, skills, and values using career exploration and planning tools like ImaginePhD or myIDP.

  • Form Career Research Questions

    Pick a career to explore based on your skills and interests. Meet with a graduate career advisor to identify which careers to start exploring and develop your career research plan.

  • Collect Data to Answer Career Research Question

    Use online research and planning tools, informational interviews, and experiential learning to collect data on a specific career.

  • Analyze Data

    Use the data you collected to evaluate whether the career aligns with your skills, interests, and values.

  • Summarize Findings About Career

    Assess your answers to see if you should continue exploring that career. If not, examine what you learned about yourself and how that will change your career research. Meet with a graduate career advisor to reflect and set next steps.

Career Exploration and Planning Tools

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at UT Austin have access to multiple online resources to assess their skills, interests, and values and explore career options of interest.


ImaginePhD is a career planning tool for advanced degrees in the humanities and social sciences, featuring skills, interests, and values assessments that introduce 165 different job families identified through national PhD career outcome data. Each job family includes exploration and application resources like job boards, sample resumes, job simulations, and individual profiles. Create an individual development plan to establish a timeline for your goals in your degree and your career exploration.


Self-Assessments and Individual Development Plans

Creating an individual development plan, or IDP, can help you identify skills, interests, and values, while tracking career goals and accomplishments. Career planning tools such as MyIDP and ChemIDP walk you through the process.

Individual Development Plans


VersatilePhD is a career exploration tool for careers in industry, nonprofit, government, and business. It features career stories and application documents from PhDs who successfully transitioned into these fields. The platform also features webinars, online career exploration courses, discussion forums, and job boards. To access UT Austin’s subscription to this premium platform, log in with your UT EID.

Versatile PhD


Aurora is a career education tool for careers in academia, industry, nonprofit, government, and business. It features a video library of interviews with PhDs and online career exploration and preparation courses. Visit the Beyond the Professoriate page, select University of Texas at Austin and log in to Aurora.


Intersect Job Simulations

Intersect is an online platform for PhD-level humanists and scientists to explore future career options through experiential projects. Job simulations offer insight into the specific, real-life duties of varying career paths. After completing a job simulation exercise, you will be able to determine if you would like to further pursue the career field before committing energy and time to an internship or additional training. The simulations are not meant to replace an internship or externship experience or a formal course, but to give you an idea of what kind of experience you want to invest in next.


Informational Interviewing

Informational interviews are a way to learn more about careers of interests by asking individuals about their professional experience. To find connections, request informational interviews, and develop strategies for these conversations, visit the Networking page.


Experiential Learning

Experiential learning opportunities include internships, part-time positions, projects, and contract and freelance-based work. These experiences build valuable skills, while allowing you to assess your interest in pursuing the work full-time.

Experiences & Internships

Meet with an expert

Make a confidential appointment with a Graduate Career Advisor to explore next steps and prepare for your career.

Make an Appointment