Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Which career?

The route from DPhil to postdoc to academic career is the obvious one once you have embarked upon research work. You may already be certain that an academic career is right for you, and if this is the case then there are resources in this section and elsewhere in the University to help you design your academic path.

It is important though to understand that there are far fewer permanent academic posts available than there are people wanting them! Although the good news is that having Oxford on your CV is a good competitive advantage, it’s still a good idea to remain flexible in your approach to career development.

If you are not sure that you want an academic career, or know which non-academic career you want, or don’t know at all! - the resources in this section are designed to help you.

Do start thinking about your career as early as you can. This doesn’t mean you must decide on the career path you want at the beginning and stick to it, more that if you start with your career in mind, then you can be thinking about how to build your portfolio of skills and experience as you go along. The skills you develop during your DPhil and postdoc are sought after by many sectors. See the sections on skills development for DPhil students and skills development for research staff.

This slide illustrates some of the career paths taken by researchers

Also – remember your career belongs to you and you must make decisions about it based on what’s right for you rather than on the opinions of those around you. This section brings together tools and links to help you do that.

Tools to help you decide on your career direction

Start by looking at the career development cycle:

Then have a look at the following tools. If you already know which career direction you want to take, you can use them to start taking control and designing your own path.

Know you want an academic career? - PDF version or view 'Know you want an academic career?' as a webpage

Know which non-academic career you want, or not sure? Start with the Values and Career Anchors tools:

Core values PDF handout or view the Core Values handout as a webpage

Career Anchors PDF handout or view the Career Anchors handout as a webpage

Then check out how the Careers Service can help with academic and other careers  - particularly the sections on How the Careers Service can help and Explore Careers

The Careers Service

The University’s Careers Service offer a very comprehensive range of help and support, and it’s well worth having a look at the different ways they can help, in particular:

How the Careers Service can help

Explore Careers

Build skills


Job search and applications 

Other resources is a good site for job searching, and also has these useful resources for career development: 

Career Development Toolkit for researchers

Career advice

Transferable Skills - the Secret of Success

Vitae resources:

Career Development

Professional Development


On this page