You are here

Getting Started ~year 1-2

During this part of your graduate career, we suggest you explore careers just to find out what’s available. You’re likely to discover many careers you haven’t heard of, let alone considered. Check out some books, take a look at some blogs, or join some groups on campus.

Where do I start?

  • My IDP
    • “This website is sponsored by Science Careers, UCSF, Burroughs Wellcome, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the FASEB. It offers an online self-evaluation of your individual strengths and weakness, specifically in regards to three areas: your skills, interests, and values. Once you take the initial IDP evaluation, there are functions that show you what career paths are particularly compatible with your strengths, as well as provides tools for you to set personal professional goals and keep you on track to accomplish those goals. I think it is a great first step to opening the doors to many diverse career paths, but you have to be very honest with yourself when you take the IDP evaluation to get the most out of it.” -Melissa
  • PhD Career Guide
    • “PhD Career Guide gives an in-depth overview of the different career categories. They also give an idea of what the career progression, work hours, and compensation will look like for each career. I found the breadth of information really helpful.” -Allie
  • Branching Points
  • Versatile PhD
  • What Color is Your Parachute? By Richard Bolles
  • Career Opportunities in Biotechnology & Drug Development By Toby Freedman
    • “This book provides a ton of information about job opportunities outside of academia. There are lots of additional reading resources to go with each career. Additionally, she breaks down personality strengths and weaknesses for each job so you can better understand if it might be a good career for you.” -Erin

What’s available at Duke to help me explore careers?

  • Succeeding beyond grad school course by Mohamed Noor (Fall only)
    • “This course is best taken early on, but it can benefit graduate students regardless of their level. It is a very relaxed class with the only commitment being time (one hour a week for half of a semester).” -Jared
    • Side note: Mohamed also teaches a course called “Succeeding in Grad School” that, while not post-Duke career-focused, is also a great course that has a similar minimal time commitment. -Melissa
  • The Career Center
    • Check out the Career Center's website and specifically their calendar of upcoming events.
    • Many of the seminars they offer are recorded and can be viewed online if you cannot make it in person
  • Join the Career Development Calendar and check out the Graduate Student Professional Development Blog

What is a pre-doc grant and how do I write it?

Writing a pre-doctoral grant helps you practice and refine your general science-writing and grantsmanships skills, both of which can be transferrable to many career paths inside or outside of academia. There are many different pre-doctoral grants to which CMB students apply, keeping in mind that they often include research-area specific requirements or stipulations to apply. Some of the most popular are the National Science Foundation, American Heart Association, and Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA (F31). A good way to learn more about these awards is to check the respective websites, or better yet, talk to other CMB students who have applied and received them!

  • Scientific Writing (UPGEN702, Fall only) is an excellent way to learn about how grants are structured and how to approach the design and writing. You also get the chance to write and have a full-sized grant reviewed, and participate in an NIH-style study sections. Great preparation for your prelim and submitting a grant application. -Marcela
  • Pivot - Duke's paid subscription facilitates searches into funding opportunities for graduate students, post-docs, professors a tutorial can be accessed here
  • Duke Office of Research Support - Duke's own database of more pertinent but limited funding opportunities
  • Contact the DGSA if you are interested in reaching out to other CMB students who have received these awards in the past.

Links to other pages

Getting Started ~year 1-2

Getting more in depth information ~year 2-4

Preparing to transition ~year 4-7

People to talk to for your career development plan