Find out how we can help you explore your career ideas and the pathways available to you.
The most common career route after a PhD is a post-doc position. These are typically fixed term contracts for one to three years. Post-docs complete research related to their PhD to build their academic expertise, as well as writing publications and attending conferences.
As academic careers are extremely competitive, in addition to research and publications you’ll need (in the majority of cases) to build up good teaching and administration experience to demonstrate how you’ve contributed to your department and institution beyond your research. In some cases, researchers may take a teaching or a research-focused academic career route, though the majority of roles will expect you to do both.
There are many other roles in academia and Higher Education that don’t include teaching and research, but instead support the functions and administration of a university.
You can look for jobs using:
If you're ready to apply for an academic positions, see our advice about applying for a job and our example of an academic CV.
Research careers outside academia
There are various industries outside academia that allow you to make use of your research experience and skills, such as central government, think tanks, charities and NGOs.
There is a wide range of roles and sectors that you can go into with a PhD. For most roles you’ll need to de-emphasise the technical content of your research and market the vast amount of transferable skills that you've gained from your PhD. 10 Career Paths for PhDs and Career Planning for PhDs have exercises to help you review your skills.
Outside research roles, you may find that there are not that many roles that specifically ask for a PhD. You may find a small number of specific roles in large corporate firms, such as management consultancies, investment banks and quantitative finance.
You can also find out about starting your own business, going freelance or developing a social enterprise.
You can search for jobs using:
If you are ready to apply for a non-academic role, see our advice for applying for a job. You can also see an example of a non-academic CV.
Also see an example of a cover letter for jobs following a PhD – this can be used to apply for academic and non-academic roles.
How we can support you
We offer PhD researchers one-to-one appointments, which can be used for:
- career exploration
- CV feedback and application review
- applying for work opportunities and further study
- interview preparation.
You can make an appointment directly with the careers consultant for your School by emailing them. You don't need to use CareerHub to book.
Find the contact for your school:
- University of Sussex Business School – Sarah Coleman
- Education and Social Work – Andy Howard
- Engineering and Informatics – Kathryn Mountford
- Global Studies – Helena Joyce
- IDS – Helen Gorman
- Law, Politics and Sociology – Helen Gorman
- Life Sciences – Kaz Field
- Mathematical and Physical Sciences – Kathryn Mountford
- Media, Arts and Humanities – Tim Bradshaw
- Psychology – Vicky Raynard
- Sussex Centre for Language Studies – Tim Bradshaw