What happens next?

Perhaps you have already decided on a future career? As a putative doctor it will presumably be a question of a career in the academic sector or in business. Plan your graduate study together with a supervisor and examiner so that your studies can be adapted according to your wishes for your future career.

Universities and colleges

One way of beginning your academic career after taking your doctorate might for example be an appointment as a researcher or lecturer. In the subject areas of certain Swedish universities and colleges there may be an opportunity for a position immediately after obtaining your doctor’s degree. In most areas, however, obtaining a position requires doing a post-doc (postdoctoral research). This means that you will spend a number of years conducting research at a different university, normally abroad.

The most common way of financing a post-doc is with a grant (but there are also some people who are employed by the university or institute at which they are doing their post-doc). Remember to apply for these grants and posts in good time. You may often need to submit an application in November/December, for example, in order to take up a post in September/October the following year. Ask your supervisor and examiner for their views of your chances of an academic career, and what they did after their graduate study.

Some links to searchable post-doc grants:

Remember that other rules apply to sickness and parental insurance, unemployment benefit, pensionable income and so on during your post-doc period. By all means get in touch with someone who has already done a post-doc in the country to which you are applying for valuable tips. Advice is also given in the Manual for post-docs, published by the Swedish Association of University Teachers, SULF (N.B. you need to log in).

Business

Many companies are faced with a transition to a more scientific way of working and the need for more advanced knowledge of technical subjects. This means raising the level of expertise at these companies and this opens the door for more graduates to enter the labour market. This applies particularly to those companies that have a division working on research and development. Certain companies are looking for cutting-edge skills within a specific field of research, while others are seeking your general ability to work according to scientific methods. As a doctor you are used to a systematic way of analysing, preparing and structuring information, and are used to working independently in an internationally demanding environment. These are qualities that will certainly be of use to you in your career.

Remember that most companies are looking for those of you who primarily fit in as team workers. It is therefore important for you to stress your social abilities; your academic qualifications are obvious from your doctorate.

Chalmers Careers Service sets up meetings between the university and business. For example, they organise evenings at which only graduates are invited to meet potential employers.

Published: Thu 14 Oct 2010. Modified: Fri 30 Dec 2016