SCI3930 - Career Skills for Scientists

SCI3930 - Career Skills for Scientists


  • First semester 2018 (Day)


This unit uses work-related activities to develop and enhance students’ transferable skills, help them focus on essential career planning, and prepare them to make effective applications for graduate level employment.

Commercial awareness is the umbrella theme of the unit due to its critical importance in the workplace and has been well-reported as an area of employer dissatisfaction with graduate recruits from science. Students will explore aspects such as the intellectual property landscape, budgeting, regulation, quality control, marketing strategy, and the business environment, through creative problem-solving activities. The unit also focuses on other important skills for graduate employability, including communication, team-working, leadership, problem-solving and critical thinking. Students will audit their key employability skills, reflect on their ongoing development and keep a record of their self-evaluation so that they can better articulate their skills to potential employers. The unit also offers opportunities to network with alumni, explore various career pathways, job search strategies, construct a professional profile on LinkedIn, and prepare an effective job application (from writing a curriculum vitae and cover letter and responding to selection criteria, to succeeding at an interview).

Mode of delivery

Clayton (Day)

Workload requirements

Total 12 hours per week.

  • Six hours per week for scheduled learning activity (2-hour workshop + 2-hour online preparation + 2-hour post-workshop tasks).
  • Six hours of private / independent study per week.

Unit relationships


36 points of science units


ATS2743, ATS3743

Unit Coordinator

Professor Tina Overton
Campus: Clayton
Phone: +61 3 9902 9281​

Academic overview


Graduate employability in science is an important issue for higher education as new graduates face a rapidly changing and highly competitive employment sector. To maximise their likelihood of employment, graduates need to be able to demonstrate the skills and qualities most valued by employers. This issue is additionally important due to the reported dissatisfaction of many employers with science graduates’ ability to contribute effectively to the workplace, especially their apparent lack of work-related transferrable skills. The Graduate Employability for Monash Science (GEMS) Project, which is funded by the Faculty of Science at Monash University, seeks to address these problems. Over 2016–2017, the project identified the skills needs for graduate employability from surveys of employers and recent science graduates (see Sarkar et al., International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 24(3), 31–48), and designed and delivered an intervention to address students’ skills needs. An evaluation of the intervention has indicated its positive impact on students’ perception of their employability and related underpinning skills. Based on this research evidence, this unit will use work-related activities and contexts to help develop the skills that Monash science graduates and prospective employers have identified as lacking in their undergraduate education.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. Self-evaluate and reflect on their employment readiness with respect to the key employability skills;
  2. Recognise and develop skills that will be valuable in the workplace;
  3. Present clear evidence of how their skills and experience can benefit potential employers;
  4. Articulate their range of scientific and professional skills through preparation of a job application;
  5. Recognise the value of networking skills and self-promotion in a professional context;
  6. Develop a sense of inclusivity and professionalism for the workplace.

Teaching and learning approach

This unit provides blended elements through Moodle and uses face-to-face participatory workshops with activities that will enable students to develop the skills outlined above. Pre-workshop preparation and post-workshop reflection will be provided through Moodle. The duration of each workshop is two hours with each held weekly throughout semester. Attendance at the workshops is compulsory as the active pedagogy requires students to participate in and contribute to group activities and projects. The workshops encompass both group and individual learning activities. The workshops along with the preparation tasks guide students to achieve the learning outcomes.


Assessment component


Portfolio with reflective log


Career plan


Oral presentation and mock interview


Peer assessment


Workshop tasks

Contribution to and engagement with workshop tasks and discussions


The portfolio with reflective log is a written account of skills development for students as they proceed through the unit. There are a number of skills audit activities throughout the unit that ask students to evaluate their skills in the range of key areas. Taking account of their skills audits they maintain a record of the activities they have participated in, reflect on the skills they have developed and how effectively they did this with proper evidence (for example, an evidence showing if they participated in a leadership development program). Along with this log, they prepare a final reflective account of the main areas they have developed.

The career plan component aims at assessing students’ ability to prepare an effective application for a graduate position and construct a LinkedIn profile. The job application includes a cover letter, a CV and a statement to the selection criteria. Students are provided with a list of graduate vacancy advertisements. They choose a vacancy position and prepare an application for the position.

Hurdle requirements

Students must attend a minimum of 75% of workshop sessions (at least 9 sessions out of 12).