Professionalization & Opportunities

Table of Contents

Career Development | Academic Careers | Placement Officers | Teaching Development | Non-Academic Careers | Preparing for a Non-Academic Careers | Additional Advice on Non-Academic Careers

Career Development

Graduate students are encouraged to begin planning their careers early in their tenure in English program.  The Office of Alumni Career Management and The Office of Student Life's Career Connection provide assistance with professional development and career counseling. The Graduate School also provides an overview of Ohio State's career development and services for our students.

The Office of Alumni Career Management provides online career resources, individual career advising, and career programming.  The office also facilitates the Buckeye Network on Linked In and hosts the Buckeye Job Board where full-time career opportunities are posted.

Career Connection provides services for graduate and professional students interested in learning more about how to pursue a professional position in academia.  They also provide individual career counseling, career assessment, career resources, and career group counseling.  Notably, Career Connection can help with developing materials needed to promote yourself to higher education institutions (i.e. cover letters and curriculam vitae).  They also help improve interview skills through role play and videotaped mock interviews. 

The Versatile Ph.D. is a resource for members of the graduate community at Ohio State who are interested in exploring non-academic career options for graduate students. It is open to Ohio State faculty, staff, and graduate student alumni who are within one year of finishing their degrees.  To log in through the OSU page, visit the Graduate School's Career Guide.

The Graduate School's Preparing Future Faculty program (PFF) offers Ohio State graduate students the opportunity to experience firsthand the unique challenges and rewards of an academic career at a smaller college or university.

Academic Careers

Placement Officers

For students who wish to pursue an academic career, the Department provides Placement Officers to help guide them through the process of the academic job market.  In 2013-2014, the Placement Officer is Professor Frank Donoghue (

The Placement Officers hold a meeting in the spring to share information about preparing to go on the job market when the MLA Job List is made available in the coming fall.  Additionally, the Placement Officers are available to review application letters and other materials which students will be sending out in support of applications to academic positions.  In October and November, the Placement Officers set up mock job interviews for those students who want the experience before going to the MLA Convention in early January. Sample job market materials are available in the graduate program office, 425 Denney Hall, and on Buckeye Box.  For access to the Buckeye Box, please contact

Teaching Development

In addition to the training TAs receive in our First Year Writing Pre-Semester Workshop, graduate students can visit the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) to help teachers "excel in teaching, support student learning, and experience the satisfaction that results from teaching well."  Professional teaching consultants are available to discuss teaching techniques, developing course materials, designing courses, or evaluating teaching efficacy.  UCAT mantains a library of resources on teaching and learning and also hosts workshops, seminars, and grant programs on teaching topics.

Non-Academic Careers

Not everyone wants an academic career, and a dazzling variety of jobs and opportunities exist for people with M.A.s and Ph.D.s in English. There is a shortage of people in the private sector who have the high-level critical reading and writing skills that graduate students in the humanities have--and those skills are needed. The department recognizes this, and considers it important to provide support for students who want to find work outside of the academy. The most obvious options for non-academic jobs include business writing (i.e., corporate communications), public relations, technical writing, grant writing, communication consulting, corporate training, and a wide array of jobs in publishing, but other career paths are available.

Visit The Chronicle of Higher Education's Career Network, with job listings, information, and advice on careers both inside and outside academia. Also, visit two sites dedicated to providing information and resources about non-academic careers for Ph.D.s: The Versatile PhD, a website started by Paula Chambers (OSU Department of English Ph.D. 1999), and Re-envisioning the Ph.D.

Preparing for a Non-Academic Career

Consider becoming a member of a professional association that is relevant to your ambitions. Professional organizations usually publish journals that will provide invaluable information about their fields. The Association for Business Communication (ABC), for example, publishes The Journal of Business Communication and Business Communication Quarterly.

Consider signing up for English 881.04 (Teaching Business and Professional Communication) and teaching undergraduate courses in business and professional writing.

Take advantage of opportunities to teach in computer-supported classrooms and resources provided by the Digital Media Project. In the business world and in the academy, there is an increasing interest in electronically mediated writing and other communication technologies. It is helpful to teach with computers because you learn how to adapt to computers other than your own and help others do the same. Even if you won’t be teaching, you almost certainly will be adapting to other people’s computers.

Additional Advice on Non-Academic Careers

  • Attend departmental workshops on non-academic careers.
  • Take the course in Literary Publishing (English 662), which is an introduction to the theory and practice of editing and publishing literature.
  • Enroll in graduate courses in other departments, but talk to your advisor before accruing too many extra-departmental hours.
  • Talk to graduates and current graduate students who are pursuing nonacademic careers to find out how they arranged their programs to suit their needs.

Each year, the Graduate Program and the English Graduate Organization (EGO) organize a range of events and opportunities for students to learn about various aspects of the profession, to develop and practice relevant skills, and to prepare for academic and other careers.