Recruiting and Graduate School Application Timelines by Industry
Below is an overview of when employers and graduate schools generally begin recruiting students in particular industries. Individual organizations may have different timelines; for individualized advice, schedule an appointment to meet with an expert adviser from a "Careers in" pre-professional program!
Jobs and Internships
Arts, Culture, and Entertainment
Recruiting timelines vary across arts and culture organizations, and there’s no one standardized schedule. Students should work with a Careers in Arts, Culture, and Entertainment adviser to build a networking plan as early as possible.
Timelines for recruiting for internships or full-time opportunities in behavioral science vary throughout the year depending on what type of career you are pursuing:
- Careers in Marketing and Management Consulting: See below under Business.
- Careers in Advertising: For those pursuing internships or full-time opportunities in advertising, typical recruiting occurs in February through June (with just-in-time hiring fairly prevalent). Interested students should begin monitoring the websites of the firms they’re interested and Handshake in January.
- Careers in Behavioral Change Consulting: For those interested in pursuing internships in behavioral change consulting, building relationships is key as these organizations tend to be smaller. Recruiting, when it occurs formally, would occur in February through June (with just-in-time hiring being fairly prevalent). Interested students should begin monitoring the websites of the firms they’re interested and Handshake in January, however, networking should be something that can be done any time leading up the recruiting timeline. For full-time opportunities, students should work with the program advisers to develop a plan of action.
- Careers in Research/Academia: Unlike traditional industry internship opportunities, securing opportunities to become involved and build your experience in research early often ensures you have a place in that lab or Center through the school year and/or the summer. Engaging with the faculty, researchers, and undergraduate directors of studies in the Social Sciences division or at Booth School of Business to learn more about their work (from them, from graduate students, or even current research assistants) and participating in ongoing research, where possible, is a great first step. Often times undergraduate departments of study hold events in the Fall quarter where you can learn more about and apply to different labs. Once you identify a lab you’d like to join, engage with lab directors and/or monitor student employment opportunities on Handshake or the Center for Research and Fellowships.
- Careers in Marketing and Management Consulting: For those pursuing internships or full-time opportunities in marketing (e.g., product management, general management, etc.) or management consulting, typical recruiting occurs in September through December. Interested students should begin monitoring the websites of the firms they’re interested and Handshake in August. Particularly for Management Consulting, it is important to begin the networking and research and preparation process as early as your first year to ensure you have the strongest chances of landing that coveted third year internship.
- Careers in Finance: Full-time positions are typically secured as return offers from a summer internship. The third year internship is of particular importance in finance, and recruiting for it begins approximately 1.5 years in advance of that summer. For example, internship recruiting for large bulge bracket banks and investment banking for Summer 2021 began in Winter – Summer 2020. Oftentimes, students can secure second and third year internships around the same time! However, it is important to begin the networking and research and preparation process as early as your first year to ensure you have the strongest chances of landing that coveted third year internship. Note that not all finance recruiting opportunities exist on this accelerated schedule, so meet early and often with an adviser and attend recruiting roadmap workshops with the Careers in Business team to stay in the know.
In general, employers recruit for internships in summer and early fall. Larger tech organizations offer early engagement programs for first and second year students. During the summer before your fourth year, employers begin recruiting for full-time roles and make return offers to third-year interns. Employers visit campus to interview candidates for full-time jobs in October. Students typically receive offers between September and November, with a November deadline to respond.
For teaching and other positions in schools, employers usually hire between November and August. All other hiring is done in one of two ways:
- Just-in-time: positions filled as needed and not tied to a specific calendar
- February – June: especially for nonprofits that have a July 1 fiscal year
Recruiting timelines in healthcare can vary greatly depending on the type of opportunity (research, teaching, public health work, etc.). These opportunities are available anywhere between November through May.
Journalism and Creative Writing
There is no predictable recruiting timeline for careers in journalism, creative writing or publishing. Rather students should work with a Careers in Journalism and Creative Writing adviser to build a networking game-plan prior to their graduation date.
Students interested in legal careers oftentimes pursue other opportunities before applying to and beginning law school. Timelines outlined for other industries would be useful in this instance. For timelines on law school, see the Graduate and Professional School section of this page.
Policy and Social Impact
In general, public interest organizations hire between September and June. Government and agencies with high-level security clearance hire earlier in the cycle to allow time for extensive interview processes and administrative review cycle requirements. Opportunities like Fulbright are also early in the cycle (2021-2022 Competition Deadline: Tuesday October 13, 2020 at 5 pm Eastern Time).
Science, Computation, Innovation, and Engineering
Timeline and application process for full-time industry roles vary based on company needs and culture. Late summer and fall quarter of fourth year is a smart time to begin researching companies and plan your application timeline, attend a Career Fair, and practice for interviews. More specifically, engineering and technical roles tend to open in summer and fall. Applied science (I.e. science consulting) often follow the larger industry trends. Research opportunities range from fall-spring; some organizations such as the EPA have short posting timelines through year, often on an as-needed hiring basis.
Master’s and Ph.D Programs in Liberal Arts and Sciences
Students should research programs, take exams, and make requests for reference letters in Spring Quarter of their third year. First-round application deadlines for graduate programs is typically in September and October of their fourth year. For some master’s programs, deadlines may extend into Winter and Spring Quarter (typically January through April, though sometimes as late as June).
When considering applying to behavioral science graduate school, it is important, particularly in this field, to do your research on the type of degree and work / research you’d like to do well in advance. This involves doing your research on what you are interested in and why, speaking to alumni who have pursued similar degrees / pathways, connecting with professors, directors of undergraduate studies for your major / area of interest, and career advisers. The typical application timeline is submissions in the Fall for a start in the fall of the following year. For Autumn Quarter 2021 Enrollment, Spring 2020 – June 2021.
Note: Program research, entrance exams, and reference letter requests are best approached as early in advance as possible – Spring before application cycle is best (For Autumn Quarter 2021 Enrollment –Spring 2020). Typical first round application deadlines begin in September and October.
The timeline for law school applications varies depending on the individual institutions. In general, students typically submit their applications in Autumn Quarter of their fourth year and receive information about offers and financial aid through Spring Quarter.
Students can apply to deferred MBA programs. These programs allow current undergraduates to apply for graduate admission, gain acceptance, and defer enrollment typically for 1 to 3 years. Most top institutions have deferred MBA programs, and applications start as early as fourth year fall with most deadlines occurring in Spring (March/April).
The national medical school application opens for submission on or around June 1 each year. Secondary applications are sent in July/August, and then interviews can be scheduled anytime between August and April. The first date on which a medical school can offer acceptance is October 15. All decisions are typically final by June 15.