Welcome to Free the PhD

Find the Job. Get the Job. Own the job. Love Your Life!

About Free the PhD

Welcome!! 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓

Here, we would like to give you a brief introduction to Free the PhD, and give you an opportunity to join our community. If you haven't already, please visit our main site for more detailed information about us, our program, our free resources, and our events! 


Free the PhD is a career development and advocacy platform for PhDs who want to learn more about the world outside academia, follow a no-nonsense protocol to getting jobs they want, and kick-start an exciting career they love! We host the Career Transition Program for PhDs right here on the Free the PhD Community – for a “steal”. (this is a direct quote from both Advisors and current members, but don’t take their word for it!)

Let’s walk you through what we do, and more importantly – why.  

Our Mission

Our mission is to free YOUR PhD. That is to help you join us in the world outside of academia, because we don’t see the need for anyone else to struggle, flounder and stress like we did. Our aim is to Free PhDs from their assumptions, fears and limitations — so they know how to pursue the right career for them. We provide PhDs with empathetic feedback and guidance to shift your academic mindset and evolve your identity beyond your research projects. We want to change the way PhDs are seen and evaluated on the job market, by breaking stereotypes and barriers, one job offer at a time, working with partners and allies.

What We Do

We proudly offer the Career Transition Program for PhDs, hosted right inside the Free the PhD Community. Whether you are preparing to transition, have transitioned, or transitioning again, we meet you where you are to help you get where you want to go next. When you join our FREE community, you will gain access to interview seminars and spotlights Q&As with PhDs who have transitioned out of academia, and other leaders and professionals who can provide actionable career perspectives to you on your job hunt. Learn more about our community on the Community page, and check out excerpts of select interviews on our Career Seminar Series page to see what these interviews are all about! 

If you decide to subscribe to our Career Accelerator package, you gain access to a three module self-paced course with videos, guides, templates, a Job Hunt Blueprint, digital office hours for personalized interactions, and much more. (the stuff we wished we had had for our own career transitions!) Not only are our courses informed by our hands-on experiences working in diverse careers outside of academia (everything from HR/recruiting to biotech to Fortune 500 companies to young startups to consulting), but we’ve distilled down our courses into the root cause answers that you want. For more details and an inside peak into our courses, please check out Courses page. 

The Career Intensive package allows you to select an Advisor to work with for resume/cover letter or job talk/presentation. You can work on a paired cover letter + resume, or a single job talk through 3 iterations together. The end goal will be not only having a tailored resume and cover letter, and/or job talk, but understanding why the tailoring was done, and how to work on the next set of documents yourself. We teach you how to help yourself! For examples, feel free to take a look at our Coaching page.

We will consistently be adding new content and courses for getting started on the right foot once you start your new job!

Why You Should Join Us

It's time for PhDs to take their futures into their own hands. Get ready for the job market early - learn how to get practical industry, business and even management training with perspectives straight from the real world.  Get hands-on exercises and resume-building experiences, and obtain advice and moral support to live the kind of life you want with your degree and research experience. 

We are a knowledge database, digital course, protocol resource and interview repository where you will find bite-sized, manageable lessons, along with candid, honest and practical discussions and Q&As with fellow PhDs who have already successfully transitioned and wish to mentor others. Please head to our Testimonials page to hear from our members past and present!

So, How Much Does Free the PhD Cost?

Free the PhD is run for PhDs, by PhDs. So why do we charge anything? Because as surely as Reviewer 3 is going to be a complete pain in the you-know-where, there are inherent and consistent costs associated in running a social enterprise, even one that is as mission-focused and volunteer-driven as we are. Your financial investment in us and in your future ensures we can continue to grow, develop more valuable offerings and content to serve your needs, and be here for you and others in our community for the long run.

For individual graduate students and postdocs on the job market, access to the Courses and Community is the cost of one dinner out a month. We aim to be your accessible and affordable partners in career success!

Can't wait to see you there!

-Vay Cao, Ph.D. Founder of Free the PhD