Graduate Careers and Professional Development

The uOttawa English Department offers careers guidance and professional development training for both MA and PhD students. This takes many different forms and is designed to help graduate students prepare for a wide range of careers both within and beyond academia. Ottawa is an excellent staging post for careers in government, technology, the non-profit sector, media and the arts, education, and many other professional fields. We regularly host visiting speakers in our professional development seminars and our location at the heart of Canada’s national capital region allows us to offer excellent career opportunities through our MA Co-op program, which enables students to gain paid work experience in government, industry and the arts while studying for their degree. Recent graduates have gone on to work at Shopify, the Ministry of Defence, N.G.O.s, etc. Several of our PhD students have also gone on to tenure track positions at the University of Toronto, Leiden University, Khalifa University and more.


Support for life after graduate studies:

  • All MA and PhD students are required to take Research Methodology (ENG 6302) and Professional Development (ENG 6303). These courses equip students with skills in research methods, grant writing, teaching and course design, conference presentations, public speaking, and publishing. Visiting speakers from a range of both academic and non-academic professions provide insights on how to prepare for careers post-graduation. 
  • A dedicated job placement officer helps PhD candidates in their final year prepare letters, references, and applications, and conducts mock interviews and job talks to ensure they have the best possible chance of competing for the few tenure track jobs that become available each year.
  • MA students following the MRP or coursework pathways can now participate in the Co-op program, which enables them to earn money and gain valuable work experience and contacts while they study. The Co-op office can match candidates with employers in government, business, media and arts organizations across the national capital region.
  • There are a number of resources on campus that graduate students have access to while studying. The Career Development Centre hosts regular career fairs, can help review resumes, offers career counselling, and has a number of job search tools. Also, the eHub on campus provides free sessions if you want to learn about entrepreneurship, social media, and networking.

Alumni testimonials

Many students who have completed their graduate studies in English at the University of Ottawa have gone on to build creative, inspiring, and cutting-edge careers in a variety of sectors. Below are just a few examples of how our graduates are using their skills and knowledge acquired during their studies in their day-to-day jobs.


Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson, 2015 MA graduate

Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity,

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh

 “I feel that I get to have the best of both worlds as a student-facing staff member who also gets to teach. This is often also true for careers in academic advising. English MAs and MFAs are highly represented in these sorts of higher education staff positions where empathy, flexibility, and creativity are valued.”

Read more about how Krista uses her skills from her English graduate studies in her day to day work.


Krista Murchison

Krista Murchison, 2016 PhD graduate

Assistant Professor of Medieval English, Leiden University

“The PhD writing process gave me the opportunity to refine the research and writing skills that are central to my current position, as well as many less obvious skills that nevertheless form an essential part of my job—skills such as collaborating with colleagues from different disciplines, identifying research gaps, and communicating research findings with the broader public.”

Read more about how Krista uses her skills from her English graduate studies in her everyday job.


Murray MacDonald

Murray MacDonald

Senior Director of Public Affairs at BCE and Bell Canada

“My current job requires the application of advanced critical thinking and clear and concise writing, skills that were certainly honed during my time in the graduate program in the Department of English.”

Read more about how Murray’s graduate studies in English support his private sector job.

Resources from around the web

Below is a list of resources from other universities, public and private sector websites, social media, and elsewhere to provide additional detail and support on finding success before and after completing graduate studies in English:





For more ideas, check out the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ list of scholarly associations:


Higher Ed Job Resources

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