Career Planning and Development

Careers don't just happen—they are planned. It may be hard to think beyond graduation, but it is crucial for your long-term success to set a goal and make a plan for reaching it.

There are a multitude of possible career paths for graduate students, so be sure to tap into the following campus resources to optimize your time and training at UCSF with your long-term goals in mind.

My Annual Plan (MAP) and myIDP
Developed for UCSF students, MAP is an annual planning tool to help you identify short and long term goals to help you make timely progress through your degree program and achieve your career objectives. Download your MAP and start making plans today!

Once you have taken your qualifying exams, you will want ramp up your career planning, and use the more in-depth career planning tool "myIDP." This award-winning online tool will help you examine your personal and professional goals, and to explore a wide range of career options.

Make the Most of Your Rotations
If you're a first-year student in the basic and biomedical graduate programs thinking about your lab rotations, please review our guide on Conducting Successful Rotations for Basic and Biomedical Students! This guide was developed by the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) and the Graduate Division Dean’s Office. Learn the what, how, when, and why of rotations and get tips on how to navigate a rotation so that you can be sure you find a lab where you can achieve your goals.

The Office of Career and Professional Development
The Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) helps prepare UCSF students and postdoctoral scholars for careers rich in scholarship, leadership and discovery. 

OCPD provides programs, services, individual assistance, and web and print resources designed to enhance your academic, professional, and career development.

Motivating INformed Decisions: The MIND Program
MIND is a career exploration program, based on best practices emerging from five years of experimentation, that challenges the current perceptions of PhD training. It brings interactive programming to students and postdocs, links them with professionals in a wide variety of careers, and provides the tools and resources to support them through their career exploration journey. Visit the MIND website for more information on how to participate.

Identifying a Mentor and Cultivating a Mentoring Network
The Council of Graduate Schools has produced Great Mentoring in Graduate School: A Quick-start Guide for Protégés, a useful guide that includes helpful advice and tips on a range of topics such as identifying a mentor, engaging with mentors to develop a professional identify, cultivating networks, and serving as a mentor to others.

Hone Your Communication Skills — Enter Grad Slam!
Being able to talk about your research clearly and learning how to adjust your talk for different audiences will serve you well throughout your career — in job interviews, presentations, or making a pitch for funding. Entering Grad Slam is like getting a crash course in giving a great talk. (And you could win up to $4,000!)

Networking and Career Exploration through Campus Organizations
There are over 100 registered clubs and organizations at UCSF, including many focused on exploring career interests and options. They also provide valuable opportunities to network with your peers, faculty, UCSF alumni, and leaders in academia, industry, and other areas of science. Some great examples:

  • Interested in science advocacy? Get involved in Carry the One Radio. Founded by a group of UCSF neuroscience and biomedical sciences students, Carry the One has developed a series of short, accessible podcast interviews with scientists, in order to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the public.
  • Concerned about science policy? Check out the Science Policy Group, dedicated to educating UCSF students and postdocs about science policy issues as well as taking action to support science advocacy.