Transitioning NOT out of Academia

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Once you've planned to graduate, if you want to stay in academia, your next step is to apply for postdocs.

Where to look for jobs

There is no centralized job repository for all of physics, but there are a couple of resources to look at:


  • AAS Job Register This is the big one for Astro. Jobs will be mostly posted September 1, October 1, and November 1.


  • Academic Jobs Online This is a job site for all academics, also has features for applying for jobs


In addition to individual locations, there are a number of fellowships available that you can take anywhere (within certain restrictions)



  • NSERC PDF Anwhere in Canada. Note that you can only apply to the NSERC PDF once in your lifetime, and that you must apply within 2 years of getting your PhD. So it is by far the best strategy to apply in your second year after graduating.
  • NSERC Banting Anywhere in Canada, Postdoc equivalent of Vanier
  • NSERC Industrial If you want to sell out to industry ;)
  • Humboldt Fellowship Anywhere in Germany
  • Marie Curie Fellowship Anywhere in EU

Actually Applying

You should think about starting your application process in late August, and begin in earnest in September. Applications will typically require the following documents:

  • CV (sometimes with a bibliography)
  • Separate bibliography
  • Research proposal (usually 3-5 pages)
  • Summary of past research (sometimes, 3-5 pages)
  • Cover Letter (usually 1 page, should be very customized for each place you apply to)
  • Reference Letters

Most jobs will want 3 reference letters, and you should make sure your letter writers have sufficient time to prepare (weeks at least). It's also good to suggest to your letter writers what you will be doing, so send them a copy of your research proposal. If you are applying to many places, it is nice to give your letter writers a google spreadsheet with where you are applying, when the letters are due, and some instructions on how to submit the letters. This advice on how to apply is very useful.