Skip to main content

Special Considerations for Graduate Students

The main NCA engineering, manufacturing, and transportation industry page provides a helpful introduction to careers in these fields for all students, so make sure to read that, too. Here are some additional considerations for graduate students considering a career engineering, manufacturing, and transportation.

Develop Transferable Skills

There are many opportunities for graduate students in the fields of engineering, manufacturing, and transportation, and these won’t always be directly related to your area of research. Many employers report that they are more interested in a candidate’s skills (both technical and soft) than they are in hiring a candidate whose research perfectly matches the focus of a position. To get a sense of which skills are in demand in the area that interests you, read job descriptions and do informational interviews.

Get Connected

Join LinkedIn groups and follow companies to learn more about the field and to connect with insiders. Also, talk to alumni working in these fields. You can find them via and through the Northwestern University Alumni group on LinkedIn. 

Additional Resources

Graduate students whose programs are affiliated with McCormick School of Engineering and who are interested in a career in engineering are also encouraged to visit the Engineering Career Development in McCormick (ECD).

Common Career Directions for PhDs
  • Engineering
  • City Planning
  • Public Policy