The Beyond Academia Blog

Beyond AcademiaOf the tens of thousands of graduate students who enter PhD programs every year, more than half will pursue careers outside academics. The NIH estimates that only 15% of PhDs hold tenure-track positions. This may come as a surprise to graduate students, who often assume that the tenure track is the norm. The truth is that there are a plethora of other career paths available to PhDs.

So what do the other 85% of PhDs do? Many pursue their passion for research in industry or non-profit organizations, while others get involved in extensions of research through science communication or entrepreneurship. There are countless other career options for PhDs, and we strive to be a resource for students and postdocs considering their next bold step.

What is Beyond Academia?

Beyond Academia is a professional development conference created by UC Berkeley PhD students and postdocs to expose our ranks to career options outside of academia. Our main objective is to educate students on the translatable skills they’ve acquired during their graduate work. We believe it is never too early for PhD students and postdocs to educate themselves about their career options.

The conference brings career professionals and successfully transitioned PhDs to speak with graduate students and postdocs considering alternative career options. The conference also includes workshops and networking events for close interaction between students and panelists. Our first conference was held in March 2013 and has been recognized by national media outlets like the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times.

Our upcoming conference will take place on February 20-21, 2014, and will again offer a diverse lineup of panelists. Our Keynote Speakers are Peter Fiske (co-founder of RAPT Industries) and Ellen Levy (Managing Director of Silicon Valley Connect), and panelists include representatives from Google, Genentech, and Exponent. Whether you are starting to look for jobs or just exploring career options, Beyond Academia provides a supportive, diverse, and empowering environment. Come join us in February and keep checking our blog for updated information!

Introducing the Beyond Academia Blog

Welcome to the Beyond Academia blog! We strive to be a resource for graduate students and postdocs exploring non-academic careers. We intend to offer a regular set of articles that discuss the challenges that PhDs and postdocs face in their “big transition” and the solutions/resources available. In advance of the February conference, we will discuss our conference panelists, themes, and how you can get involved!

We will also offer a regular series of articles and resources from students, industry professionals, and PhDs who have successfully transitioned beyond academia. We want this blog to be an interactive venue. Want to hear about a specific career path or want to write a post for us? Drop us a line at