The OPTIONS Program

The OPTIONS Program is an initiative to support all engineering graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in exploring diverse career options. It consists of a: 1) Cohort Program and 2) Complementary Events.

Cohort Program

Purpose & Content

Take a deep dive into career management and join a supportive community of like-minded graduate students and post-doctoral fellows exploring career possibilities. The Cohort Program is a ten week, non-credit program facilitated by faculty and professional development experts. The program provides:

  1. Ten, two-hour sessions that create a structured career exploration experience
  2. Two career management tools to develop an individualized, career plan
  3. A one-on-one, 30 min meeting with a career coach (optional)
  4. A one-on-one, 30 min meeting with an engineering professor (optional)
  5. Personalized feedback on your resume, cover letter, and interview skills
  6. A mechanism to establish at least one alumni contact in a field of interest

See the full schedule here.

Participants who complete the program (attend eight of ten sessions) will receive a certificate of completion and four School of Graduate Studies' GPS credits (learn more about GPS here).

Great For

The cohort program is open to MEng students, PhD students (who have completed qualifying and/or comprehensive exams), and post-doctoral fellows who want to develop their professional skills and explore career options. Involvement in the program requires participants actively engage in discussions and support their peers' career preparation.

Time Commitment

Weekly, two-hour sessions that take place over ten weeks during one semester.

How to Apply

  • Fall 2019 Cohort (for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows)
  • Winter 2020 Cohort (for MEng students): Applications closed.

Complementary Events

In addition to the Cohort Program, there are complementary events throughout the year open to all engineering graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. These events provide an introduction to the school-to-work transition, tools to develop skills critical to the success of a professional, and a venue to network with engineering graduate alumni.

Goal-Setting in Times of Uncertainty: Finding direction and next steps to guide your days aheadWed Apr 1511:00 - 12:00 pm ESTOnline
Intentional Career Exploration for Engineers in Uncertain TimesThurs Apr 302:00 - 3:30 pm ESTOnline
The Resilient Engineer: A conversation about establishing healthy research expectations and fostering self-careMon May 113:00 - 4:30 pm ESTOnline
Happy Hour: Positive Psychology’s Mood Boosting Techniques for QuarantineThurs May 282:00 - 3:00 pm ESTOnline
Résumés and Cover LettersTues June 21:00 - 2:00 pm ESTOnline
Finding Balance Amidst Crisis: The Science and Practice of Mindfulness Thurs June 183:00 - 4:00 pm ESTOnline
Virtual Mock InterviewsMon July 63:00 - 4:30 pm ESTOnline
Happy Hour: Positive Psychology’s Mood Boosting Techniques for QuarantineTues July 282:00 - 3:00 pm ESTOnlineRegistration open


Happy Hour: Positive Psychology's Mood Boosting Techniques for Quarantine

Tues July 28 | 2:00 - 3:00 pm EST | Online


Join your fellow graduate students for a “happy hour” with Dr Robin Sacks where she will be serving up practices to boost your well-being. We will discuss the neuroscience of happiness and the role hormones plays in your experience of happiness. Through group activities and conversations you’ll discover that it’s possible to trigger your body to produce hormones that have a whole range of benefits — from feeling happier to lowering your blood pressure. You’ll learn how to mix and match happy hormones to personalize your own mood boosters for whenever you need them.

About the Facilitator: Dr Robin Sacks

Dr. Robin Sacks has been teaching Positive Psychology and Leadership at Skule for over a decade. Her goal in designing TEP1026 (“The Happy Engineer”) was to provide an opportunity for students to explore some of life’s big questions in an academic setting. Robin also served as the Director of Research for the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering. She has traveled the world sharing the findings from Troost ILead’s groundbreaking research in an effort to help professionals develop people skills alongside their technical education. Robin has a Master’s in Cognitive Science and a PhD in Developmental Psychology, both from U of T.

Register today!


What U of T Engineering graduate students have said about the program

  • "The OPTIONS Program provided me with a how-to guide on exploring next steps. I am more confident in reaching out to individuals in different positions to learn about their career paths. I left the program with a better understanding and ability to market my skills and strengths gained throughout my education." (PhD, IBBME)
  • "The OPTIONS Program helped me understand my skills from childhood to adulthood by realizing common patterns. It aided me to widen my career possibilities as opposed to the classic 'industry vs academia' approach after PhD." (PhD, ECE)
  • "I was in the middle of my career exploration when I joined The Options Program. For me the program highlighted the possibilities outside of the more "well traveled" career paths and I felt empowered to explore these. Through the program I was able to recognize all my skills and how these are of great value for my chosen direction in life." (Post-doctoral Fellow, UTIAS)

Questions? Contact:

Teresa Didiano, Graduate Professional Development Coordinator, Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering