The Graduate School

Adviser Bio and Services

Elysse Longiotti provides career advising to PhD students in The Graduate School
Brett Boettcher provides career advising to MA/MS students in The Graduate School

Graduate Student Pathways

Graduate programs train you in a specific set of skills and areas of expertise. These can prepare you for a broad spectrum of careers, including both within academia and beyond. As placement survey data collected by The Graduate School shows, alumni of Northwestern University graduate programs find employment in a variety of universities and colleges, non-profit/governmental organizations, and private industries.

Non-academic work environments may emphasize skills and experience over academic credentials. As the job seeker, your task is to articulate to prospective employers how the skills you have developed through academic research, teaching, and service will be an asset in their non-academic settings. To convey your message confidently and clearly, you first need to identify these transferable skills for yourself.

Skills Employers Value in PhDs and MAs

  • Design and management of multi-faceted projects
  • Research methods
  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Synthesis of complex information
  • Persuasive and explanatory writing
  • Public speaking
  • Teaching and training others
  • Independent work
  • Organization and time management
  • Creative problem solving
  • Comfort with abstract concepts
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership and independence
  • Collaboration
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Knowledge of multiple languages
  • Knowledge of technical software

Additional Resources

Skills Rubric
Academic Job Search
Non-Faculty Careers

Sample Job Titles of Northwestern Graduate Alumni

Academic Field Job Title Organization
Arts and Humanities Assistant Professor
K-12 Teacher
Consultant
Director of Communications
Researcher
Senior Language Education Specialist
University of California, Berkeley
St. Ignatius College Prep
Council for Strategy Innovation
University of Chicago Library
Maxim Institute
Education First
Social and Behavioral Sciences Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor
Postdoctoral Fellow
Policy Advisor
Associate Research Scientist
Program Manager
Global Marketing Institute
College of William and Mary
Columbia University
Ontario Public Service
Educational Testing Service
Tulane University
Physical Sciences, Math, and Engineering Postdoctoral Associate
Consultant
Senior Scientist
Scientific Communications Specialist
Instructional Developer
Assistant Professor
Geoscientist
Princeton University
SG2
QD Vision Inc.
HDMZ
Purdue University
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
ExxonMobil
Life Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow
Associate Consultant
Postdoctoral Fellow
Senior Medical Writer
Senior Consultant
Software Engineer
Postdoctoral Scientist
Argonne National Laboratory
ZS Consulting
University of Missouri
AbbVie
Navigant Consulting
WaveMetrics Inc.
Eli Lilly and Company