OPTIONS Career Communities
To view the requirements for the OPTIONS curriculum, please click here.
The OPTIONS Career Curriculum is designed to guide you through the career exploration process and help you prepare for your future career in a manageable way. Through interactive workshops, you can discover careers of interest, develop career-specific skills, and build a professional network all while connecting with fellow trainees with similar interests. While some PhD programs have integrated the OPTIONS curriculum as a degree requirement (see more details below), OPTIONS programming is open to all Hopkins PhD students and postdoctoral trainees.
Begin exploring the diversity of careers available to PhDs by attending events within the Investigating Careers and Networking (iCAN) Speakers Series. During these panel discussions, panelists share details about their career journeys, talk about life on the job, give tips for navigating a similar transition, and answer your questions.
Continue your career exploration by joining one or more of our five OPTIONS Career Communities. Each community consists of 6-7 interactive workshops led by alumni and other PhD professionals. The goal of each workshop is to expose participants to a different career within the broader field and provide an opportunity to engage in an activity that highlights the skills and common responsibilities of the career. Participants can assess their skill and interest levels before pursuing further experiential activities in preparation for a specific career. Joining a Career Community will help you create an informed and specific career plan, expand your professional community, and improve your networking skills.
OPTIONS Career Communities | The Business Side of Science
Click a community or event to learn more.
2023 iCAN Events
FALL 2022 Career Communities
SPRING 2023 Career Communities
Is OPTIONS a requirement for you?
The OPTIONS curriculum has been integrated into the Cell and Molecular Medicine (CMM), the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (BCMB), Human Genetics (HG), and Pharmacology (Pharm) programs at the School of Medicine, as well as the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) programs at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. For Ph.D. candidates within these departments, participation in the OPTIONS program is a requirement for degree completion. Log into Canvas to participate in the OPTIONS Program Course. Questions? Please email the OPTIONS Director, CJ Neely, Ph.D., at CJ.Neely@jhu.edu.
As part of the OPTIONS Career Curriculum, you must attend a total of 6 hours of career awareness programming before starting year 3 of your PhD Program. Attending 4 Investigating Careers and Networking (iCAN) Speaker Series events is an easy way to fulfill this requirement. Alternatively, you can participate in other live events and view recordings of past events the help you explore a potential career path or organization of interest. For example, career panels organized by a student group, employer information sessions, and even career-related podcast episodes could count towards your 6 hours. Finally, attending the NIH Career Symposium, which is multi-day virtual event held each May, could also satisfy this requirement. Reflect on what you learned and log your participation in career awareness activities in Module 1 of Canvas.
Questions? Please email CJ Neely at CJ.Neely@jhu.edu.
At the start of year 3 when you are likely finished with qualifying exams and required course work, begin Phase 2 of the OPTIONS curriculum. During this phase, dive deeper into your career interests by learning about the various roles and many nuances within a specific career path. You will also begin building your professional network by conducting an informational interview assignment. To facilitate this process, the below "OPTIONS Career Communities" are hosted annually.
Each "OPTIONS Career Community" consists of 6 interactive workshops and includes activities that highlight common skills and responsibilities of that specific career. This will allow you to assess your skills and deepen your exploration. You must participate in a total of 6 OPTIONS workshops, which is equivalent to 10-12 hours of programming. If you have identified a single career path of interest, you can attend all 6 workshops within the series. However, if you are still exploring multiple career paths, you can “create-your-own” experience by attending a minimum of 6 workshops offered throughout the 5 tracks. Alternatively, there is an opportunity to pitch a proposed “OPTIONS Alternative”. One example of an approved “OPTIONS Alternative” is clinical shadowing, which is ideal for individuals intending to pursue a medical degree following graduation.
Questions? Please email CJ Neely at CJ.Neely@jhu.edu.
Year 4 and beyond is the time to prepare for life after Hopkins. Work with the OPTIONS Program Director to develop a personalized plan for the remainder of your Ph.D. based on your individual career goals. Past participants have utilized this time to expand career-relevant skills and knowledge, as well as gain hands-on experience. Some commonly reported activities include completing an internship, earning a teaching certificate, submitting an F32 grant application, or joining an industry-specific mentoring program.