The OPTIONS Program

OPTIONS = Opportunities for PhDs: Transitions, Industry Options, Networking, and Skills

The OPTIONS Program is an initiative by the Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies and the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) to support U of T Engineering PhD students and post-doctoral fellows who wish to explore career options.

Take a deep dive into career management with a twelve-week, non-credit program. Facilitated by faculty and professional development experts, participants will develop their capability and discover meaningful career pathways.

The OPTIONS Program covers the following themes: 1) job market conditions for engineering PhDs and post-doctoral fellows; 2) unique skills and strengths participants bring to the workplace; 3) strategies for landing a job; and 4) preparation for being on the job. Learn more here.

The OPTIONS Program is open to PhD students (who have completed qualifying and/or comprehensive exams) and post-doctoral fellows who want to develop their personal/professional skills and explore career options. Involvement in the program requires participants actively engage in discussions and support their peer’s career preparation.

Participants who complete the program will receive a certificate of completion.

Applications have closed.


Complementary Events

In addition to the twelve-week program, there will be two to three complementary events per semester open to all PhD students and post-doctoral fellows. These events provide a sneak peek into the school-to-work transition and skills critical to the success of a professional.

Wine and Cheese Networking Info SessionTuesday Jan 93:10 - 5:00 pmGB202
Salary Negotiation 101Monday Jan 291:10 - 4:00 pmGB202
The Living Library: A different kind of networking experience!Monday Feb 266:10 - 8:30 pmSF2202Registration open


The OPTIONS Program – Wine and Cheese Networking Info Session

Tues Jan 9 | 3:10 – 5:00 pm | GB202

Do you know how to introduce yourself in a networking situation? Can you communicate the value you add to a potential employer? Join us for a Wine and Cheese Networking Info session. At this session, you will learn tips for creating a value proposition for networking with engineering professionals while enjoying wine and delicious food! A brief overview of The OPTIONS Program (a new program for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows who want to explore career possibilities) will also be given.

Salary Negotiation 101

Mon Jan 29 | 1:10 – 4:00 pm | GB202

As if the job search process wasn’t hard enough, you receive an offer and realize the most sensitive part of the employment process has just begun! This workshop will help you tackle what to do when you receive an offer for your dream job. We will take a three pronged approach to salary negotiation, starting with a review of negotiation basics and key tactics. Next we will apply what we’ve learned by strategizing and preparing a plan of action for a hypothetical salary negotiation role play. Finally our session will culminate with the application of our learnings and strategizing in a role play to flex our newly strengthened negotiation muscles.

About the Facilitator: Elham Marzi
Elham Marzi is an experienced Recruiter and Human Resources professional turned Professor who has recently joined the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Cross Disciplinary program teaching in the Business Minor. She previously taught negotiations and has research interests in conflict resolution.

The Living Library: A different kind of networking experience!

Mon Feb 26 | 6:10 – 8:30 pm | SF2202

Are you unsure about the career options that exist for PhDs? Join us at The Living Library: A different kind of networking experience! In this interactive library, you are the “reader” and PhD alumni working in a variety of industries (biotechnology, education, government, etc…) are the “books”.  In small groups, you will have a 15 minute conversation with a PhD alumni about their career, the path they’ve taken, and choices they’ve made to get to their current job. You will then move onto the next “book”, giving you the unique opportunity to hear multiple perspectives.

This event is brought to you by The OPTIONS Program, and ILead:Grad, a graduate student-run leadership development group.

Register now!

Contact Information

Teresa Didiano
Special Programs Coordinator, ILead