The OPTIONS Program

"I have a graduate degree - now what?"

The OPTIONS Program supports engineering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows explore diverse career options.

It consists of the Cohort Program and complementary events.

Cohort Program

The Cohort Program is an opportunity to take a deep dive into career management with a supportive community of like-minded graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Facilitated by faculty and professional development experts, the program provides an opportunity to clarify your interests and aspirations, develop job application materials, and explore career pathways. We offer three different Cohort Programs to address the specific needs of the U of T Engineering community.

Launch Your Career Plan should be completed before the OPTIONS Cohort Program.

Complementary Events

The Complementary Events are open to all engineering graduate students and postdoctoral 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 alumni.

EventDayTime (ET)LocationRegistration
Creating Effective and Engaging Engineering Presentations Tuesday January 2312:00 - 1:30 pmGB202Register in advance
Networking StrategiesTuesday February 131:30 - 3:00 pmGB202
Leveraging EDI to Assess Workplace Culture
Tuesday, March 512:00 - 1:30 pmGB202

Creating Effective and Engaging Engineering Presentations

Tuesday January 23 l 12:00 - 1:30 pm l GB202

  • Curious about how you can explain complex topics effectively?
  • Want to learn strategies to effectively communicate with confidence and clarity?

The ability to plan and deliver effective and engaging presentations is a valuable skill for use in job recruitment and in future workplaces. In this session with Professor Lydia Wilkinson, you will learn about approaches to plan and deliver a compelling, effective, and engaging presentation. Through discussion and activities you’ll practice strategies to craft a message and make it stick, covering ways to engage your audience and maintain their interest, techniques to shape your story and make it more memorable, and methods, including effective visualization, to distill and explain complex concepts to expert and non-expert audiences. Underpinning all of these approaches is the importance of understanding your audience and shaping your presentation to their needs and your purpose.

You will:

  • Develop your approach to plan and deliver effective and engaging presentations
  • Practice crafting a message for a particular audience and purpose
  • Apply strategies, including visual design, to explain complex concepts simply

Facilitator: Professor Lydia Wilkinson, Assistant Professor, Teaching, Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education and Practice

Networking Strategies

Tuesday February 13 l 1:30 - 3:00 pm l GB202

  • Want to build and expand the supportive community for your career?
  • Not sure how to start reaching out to people to network?

Networking is an opportunity for you to gather information related to your career questions and establish connections with people who share your professional interests. It can be intimidating to approach new people. Attend this workshop to learn how to connect and network with professionals both virtually and in-person in ways that feel more comfortable and authentic.

You will:

  • Reflect on the role of networking in making meaningful and supportive connections for your career.
  • Develop strategies to create networking emails, outreach on a variety of platforms, including LinkedIn and (cold/warm) emails
  • Understand the strengths of networking to discover the hidden job market
  • Practice networking conversations with peers to foster confidence and greater ease when talking to new people

Facilitator: Dr. Jessica Wurster, Career Exploration & Education, Graduate Career Educator

Leveraging EDI to Assess Workplace Culture

Tuesday March 5 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm | GB202

  • Are you curious to learn effective strategies to identify if a workplace culture is inclusive?
  • Are you wondering what tools and resources are out there to support you in learning more about a workplace culture’s environment?
  • Or perhaps, you’re curious to learn more about the role of the Antiracism and Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO) at the University of Toronto!

In this session, you will learn strategies to identify if there are signs that a workplace culture is inclusive. You will be able to identify questions to ask during informational interviews and at the interview itself to learn how a workplace environment approaches equity, diversity, and inclusion.

You will:

  • Reflect on the role of workplace culture through an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) lens
  • Develop strategies for identifying workplace cultures that support equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Find tools and resources to identify workplace cultures that are EDI-centric effectively
  • Understand the role of the Antiracism and Cultural Diversity Office and other equity-related offices in the complaint resolution process at the University of Toronto

Facilitator: Natasha Prashad, Advisor, Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office


"The OPTIONS Program provided a how-to guide on exploring next steps. I am more confident to reach 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."


"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."

(PhD, ECE)

"The OPTIONS program gave me the tools to reflect on my career story from different marketable perspectives. The course helped me to define, schedule, and practice clear and concise actions to create job opportunities aligned with my core values. The introspection was guided by instructors with different fields of expertise. This exposed me to more job possibilities and a better understanding of the path to follow as I transitioned from academia to industry."

(Postdoctoral Fellow, CHE)

"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 my skills and how they are of great value for my chosen direction in life."

(Postdoctoral Fellow, AER)