Academic Careers for PhD Graduates

Mathematics Department Career Events

The Department organizes regular panel discussions at which students can interact with alumni, professors, and nonacademic employers. For upcoming and past events, see the calendar of events.

Preparing for an Academic Career

  • Make connections with other mathematicians – department faculty, other PhD students, visitors to our department, people you meet at conferences.
  • Give talks at departmental seminars and at conferences.
  • Learn mathematics outside of your own area. It will give you more flexibility in the future and you never know where new mathematical connections will be made.
  • Develop and document your teaching skills and credentials, e.g. Graduate Teacher Certificate, MS in the Teaching of Mathematics.

Application Materials

  • Research statement.
  • Teaching statement.
  • CV. Update your CV at least once a year as you progress through graduate school.
  • Cover letters.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Webpage. While not formally part of your application, an informative webpage is an asset in the job search.
  • As you prepare for interviews and giving talks, read this advice on Tips for Preparation and Interviewing. Further advice here from our Departmental presentation.

Sources of Job Listings


  • Throughout your graduate career:
    • Keep your CV up to date.
    • Collect teaching materials in a teaching portfolio.
    • Develop connections with other mathematicians.
    • Publish papers when possible – discuss where/when with your adviser.
  • The spring before your job search:
    • Talk with PhD students who are graduating, to learn about their job search experiences.
    • Talk with your adviser about whether you are ready to go on the job market next fall.
  • The summer before your job search:
    • Develop a personal website, possibly with the help of our departmental communications team.  Email for assistance.
    • Consider applying for the NSF Postdoc program and prepare your application (due mid-October).
    • Prepare first drafts of your teaching statement and research statement and ask some qualified people to read them and give you feedback.
    • Identify faculty members who might write letters of recommendation.
    • Update your CV. Ask people for feedback.
    • Apply to give a talk at the Joint Math Meetings next January and apply for AMS travel funding.
    • Think about your Fall semester schedule and set aside at least half a day per week for working on job applications.
  • Fall semester:
    • Early in the semester, ask for letters of recommendation.
    • Volunteer to give your “job talk” in a departmental research seminar. Ask for feedback. Even though you may prove more results by the time you give a talk at a campus visit, it will be great to have a first version already prepared.
    • Get more feedback on your CV and on your teaching and research statements and prepare final versions.
    • Finish up your webpage.
    • Prepare cover letters which can be modified as needed for each application.
    • Request departmental funding to attend the Joint Math Meetings.
    • Set up an organized system, whether on paper or electronically, to keep track of all your job applications.
    • On a weekly basis, check and other sources; submit applications.
    • Tell everyone that you are on the job market. You never know where you’ll find a useful tip or a valuable connection.
    • Prepare for potential interviews.
  • Spring semester:
    • Continue checking for job postings and submitting applications.
    • Keep your adviser and the DGS informed about your situation.
    • When you have campus visits or offers, seek advice about your plan and about negotiating.

Other Resources