A career exploration and planning program for Ph.D. students

The problem of excess supply and lower demand for Ph.D.s in the academic labor market has presented a number of career challenges and obstacles to many Ph.D. students. These challenges include: barriers in establishing stable employment in their occupational choice, a decisional struggle between breaking free of their personal career aspirations and moving toward previously unconsidered career alternatives, and difficulties in transitioning to nonacademic employment due to a lack of career exploration, preparation, and planning. This thesis proposes a six-session series designed to assist Ph.D. students in navigating through the aforementioned career challenges in order to effectively identify alternative career options with the purpose of heightening their success and life satisfaction and in preparing for their selected job entry. This program consists of the following components customized to meet the unique career needs of this population: 1) education on the multifaceted nature of the career development process; 2) a self-assessment component that includes an identification of their career impediments, interests, values, and skills; 3) a component on methods of career exploration; and 4) a career decision making, goal setting, and action planning component. The program concludes with an individual follow-up session to provide participants additional assistance in fine-tuning, re-evaluating, and/or modifying their career plans.