Careers Service

Broad options

A description of your broad options plus destinations of University of Edinburgh PhD graduates.

For many, the expectation is that after completing a PhD, graduates will continue on the academic research and / or teaching route. However, the reality is that PhD graduates end up in a much wider range of career areas.

You can begin to consider your options by looking at the broad routes you could take after completing your PhD.

  1. Progress in a linear direction by choosing a career in academic research and / or academic teaching.
  2. Continue with research but in a different environment such as industry, third sector agencies, public sector or other commercial research organisations.
  3. Use expertise or subject knowledge developed during your PhD but not to conduct research, e.g. science communication, conference organisation, software development, archive work.
  4. Choose an entirely new direction, something in which you have no previous experience or qualifications but where you can use skills developed throughout your PhD.

PhD graduates across the UK have found opportunities in all four of these broad areas. The ‘What do doctoral researchers do?’ publications plus the career stories produced by Vitae are useful reading to help you explore the wide range of options open to you at the end of a PhD.

See our career planning pages to help you decide which direction is right for you.

University of Edinburgh PhD Graduate Destinations

All UK universities carry out a survey of their graduates six months after graduation. The data provides a useful picture of the many and varied paths that people embark on after graduation. You can find destinations data for your School in the "What can you do with your degree?" section of our website:

What can you do with your degree?


An overview of the destination data of Edinburgh PhD graduates from three consecutive years (2012-2014) is also available in the document below: