Career Design and Development: A programme for DPhil students & Research Staff

This original Oxford Careers Service programme will combine individual, paired and group activities to stimulate thinking, explore new areas and practice new ways of self-expression on work-related topics and tools relevant to researchers.

Participants will:

  • Learn how a design-thinking approach can be used to develop and progress a personal career plan
  • Use visual methods to explore career options for the coming five years
  • Understand the generative potential of networking
  • Feel confident to consider, and try out, different career directions within or beyond academia
  • Learn strategies for narrowing down your options and making decisions
  • Define personal action points for developing your career, plus indicators for evaluating your learning.

How to apply

All University of Oxford DPhil students and research staff are welcome to apply for this programme.

To attend, please sign up on the event page on CareerConnect, then mark your diary to attend all three workshops. The process relies on your participation in the full process, including all the three workshops and both individual and group tasks between workshops. A summary of the CDD programme is below, and you can check the full programme dates and sign-up for your place on CareerConnect.


Workshop 1

We introduce a framework for career development and considering the decisions you have made so far and how to move forward.

  • Use your professional experiences to find relevant intersections between your skills, values, sources of joy and what the world will pay you for.
  • Explore the role of narrative in making sense of our own career journey and in talking about them with others.
  • Before Workshop 2, you will complete some short exercises to apply these approaches to your own life.

Workshop 2

We deepen the focus on ways to construct a working life to suit you and on identifying any assumptions that may be restricting your thinking.

  • Apply some more creative approaches to develop your thinking beyond traditional career planning in a supportive environment and begin to consider the variety of options that emerge.
  • Take a fresh look at connecting with others and learn how ‘networking’ can be something that is rewarding and comfortable (even fun!) for all.
  • Further brief ‘take-home’ tasks will help you to develop your thinking and convert your learning into practical steps.

Workshop 3

Building on your learning and exploratory activities to date, you will start to create a ‘road map’ for your next steps.

  • Reflect on potential career routes with input from your peers and the facilitators.
  • Identify opportunities and goals for personal development and building your professional network and identify options to gain practical experience.
  • Collaborating with others to identify and share dilemmas and consider where and how to fill information gaps, make connections and square up to potential barriers.


This course … has really helped me shift my paradigm in terms of how I approach my job search, and has led to me starting to take some small steps towards my goals. The emphasis on a bias towards action, and prototyping and experimenting is so fruitful.

Social Sciences DPhil student, Trinity term 2021

I attended Career Design and Development in March this year - it was very informative and useful. I really enjoyed it, learning from you and the team at the team at Careers Service. To be honest, it was lifechanging, and helped me to think better about myself and where I want to go.

Medical Sciences DPhil student, Hilary term 2021

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