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.

Fall 2022 iCAN Events


FALL 2022 Career Communities

Academic Research
Science Communication and Policy

SPRING 2023 Career Communities

Biotech & Pharma
Business Side of Science
Academic Teaching

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.

Year 1 & 2: Career Awareness (6 hours total)

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. Since the PDCO tracks attendance to these live events, no reporting is required. However, if you watch a recording of a past iCAN event, complete this submission form to log your participation.

Alternatively, you can participate in other live (in-person or virtual) and recorded 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. However, you must log participation in an “iCAN Equivalent” activity by completing this submission form.

Finally, attending the NIH Career Symposium, which is an all-day event held each May, could also satisfy this requirement. The PDCO offers a free bus to this event, as well as tracks attendance (ie. no reporting required).

Questions? Please email CJ Neely at CJ.Neely@jhu.edu.

Year 3: Career Exploration (12 hours total)

Join one of the five career communities based on your career interests. If you would like to continue exploring multiple career fields, you may select your own set of workshops from those offered throughout the five communities. To fulfill your year 3 requirement, you must attend 6 workshops (a total of 12 hours of programming) and complete an informational interview assignment. The PDCO tracks attendance to live OPTIONS events. However, if you watch a recording of a past OPTIONS event, complete this submission form to log your participation.

Academic Research (Fall 2021)
Science Policy & Communication (Fall 2021)
Business Side of Science (Spring 2022)
Biotech & Pharma (Spring 2022)
Academic Teaching (May/June 2022)

Questions? Please email CJ Neely at CJ.Neely@jhu.edu.

Years 4 and Beyond: Gain Career Experience

Our staff will help you create a personalized plan for the remainder of your PhD training that is based on your specific career goals. Gain valuable experience for your future career by doing an internship, joining the JHU Commercialization Academy, completing a teaching certificate, competing in 3-Minute Thesis — Hopkins is full of opportunities to help you prepare for the job you want!

Check these sites for ways to gain career experiences at Johns Hopkins: