Career Development & Diversity

Program Overview

Thinking about and planning for careers whether within or beyond academia can be overwhelming and uncertain. It is without a doubt, and for nearly everyone, an uneven and messy process. Acknowledging this reality, and realizing that you are in good company, is a great place to start. Check out this video on career exploration from Bill Lindstaedt of UCSF’s Office of Career and Professional Development. Herminia Ibarra talks about the profound identity changes that can accompany career transitions in this podcast. Berkeley's new wellness website recalibrate is another good place to turn if you are feeling overwhelmed or just looking for resources.

We hope that the resources assembled here will offer a starting point wherever you are in the career development process. We urge faculty, as much as students, to familiarize themselves with the wide array of resources and opportunities available both on campus and beyond for graduate student professional development. You may even find something helpful to your own career here!

Department events

We have developed a bcourse site in order to minimize the numbers of emails you receive from us during the academic year. Here you will find a schedule for the workshops (under syllabus), recordings of those and previous workshops (under Media Gallery), postings of job opportunities that are not field specific, and various other resources we hope you'll find helpful.  

Fall 2022: Wednesdays 12:30-2pm Pacific

24 August: Job market town hall with Prof. Bernadette Pérez

Hybrid event in 3335 Dwinelle and on Zoom (please see bCal invitation for link!)

How to strategize about when and what to apply for and a breakdown of what the selection process looks like.  Academic jobs and postdocs are posted on hnet and ​​the AHA’s Career Center

7 September: Cover letter workshop with Prof. Ronit Stahl

On Zoom (please see bCal invitation for link!)

Read Laura York, “Some dos and don’ts for an effective CV and cover letter”

Please bring a draft of your cover letter. Cover letters should be no more than two pages and should be written knowing that most of the search committee will not be working in your field. They should have a brief introductory paragraph saying who you are and what you do, a substantive paragraph on your PhD (its arguments, its source material, and why it matters to the field), another paragraph where you can show off about fellowships, prizes, publications and outline where you see yourself going as a research scholar, a paragraph about your teaching experience (what you have taught, what you are qualified to teach, who you have taught, and how you teach), and a final brief paragraph saying what value you would add to the Department (do research on the Department and campus). If you are applying to a teaching-led institution, start with your teaching paragraph.

14 September: Grant proposal workshop with Prof. Ussama Makdisi

On Zoom (please see bCal invitation for link!)

It is always a good idea to create a spreadsheet that identifies the 10 grants that you could apply for, with their deadlines and requirements (not least so you can let your letter writers know). Before you draft your grant proposal start off by reading examples of successful applications for the major competitions from The Department’s Grant Database. Bring a copy of a 2-4 page research proposal you want to workshop. Be sure it is written for scholars outside your field and outlines the key questions or hypotheses you want to explore, explains why they are important to the field, lays out the archives and sources available, and outlines your research strategy and how you are prepared to do this work.  

Non-ABD students are especially encouraged to attend as you most applications for pre-dissertation summer research grants are due by 30 January.

21 September: Teaching statement workshop with Prof. Mark Brilliant

On Zoom (please see bCal invitation for link!)

Bring a one or two page statement to the workshop.  We will discuss what a teaching statement is supposed to do and how you can tailor it specifically to different types of applications (R1s, liberal arts colleges, large publics, etc).  Start by outlining your core pedagogical principles and goals, and then try to provide concrete examples from your experience in the classroom. Remember always to demonstrate you know what the student body is like that you hope to teach, and what sort of teaching you’ll be expected to do.

12 October: Conversation on networking, mentoring, and building QE and dissertation committees with Prof. Carlos Noreña

In 3335 Dwinelle

This session is aimed particularly at those taking coursework.  Its aim will be to discuss how to consider constituting the committees for your Qualifying Exam and dissertation committee in consultation with potential advisers.  We will also discuss how to build as broad a base of advisers and mentors as possible, within and outside the Department and campus.

Last spring, we recorded a conversation on networking and mentoring in the academy with alums Prof. Jenni Allen (PhD '15) of Yale and Prof. Alejandra Dubcovsky (BA '05, PhD '11) of UC Riverside. Please find it on the Professional Development bCourses site!

26 October: Conversation on the dissertation prospectus with Prof. Carlos Noreña

In 3335 Dwinelle

It is a requirement of the program that all students produce a prospectus of their dissertation for the Qualifying Exam but often there is uncertainty about what a prospectus should look like and what work it should do.  We will be discussing what is expected of you and how to get the most out of the discussion of the prospectus with your Qualifying Exam committee.

2 November: Interviewing for academic jobs panel with Profs. Hide Hirota and Rebekah Ramsay

On Zoom (please see bCal invitation for link!)

As the academic job market cycle gets pushed earlier, and preliminary interviews move online, interviewing can approach fast in November. We will help you prepare by discussing some common dos and don’ts, exploring different interviewing strategies, and projecting forward to what happens on a campus visit and how you can be ready for it.

Spring 2023 sneak preview

(Let us know what else you'd like to see!)

Workshops, panels, and conversations on

  • Surviving graduate school
  • Exploring careers beyond the academy
  • Translating your CV into a résumé
  • Preparing for summer research and the dissertation research year

Plus a research symposium to end the year!