Career Exploration

We use these theories and models to help students better understand themselves while navigating the career decision making process. To learn about career counseling, resources, experiential learning opportunities and entrepreneurship, click here.


Happenstance Learning Theory

States that behavior is the product of learning during both planned and unplanned situations. Explores why individuals choose their paths and how counselors can facilitate this process.

  • Krumboltz, J. D. (2008). The Happenstance Learning Theory. Journal of Career Assessment, 17(2), 135-154.
Jungian Typological Theory

Jungian Types

Recognizes that there are four principal psychological functions associated with human existence– sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. These principles can be categorized as rational or irrational and typically an individual is dominant in one over the others.

  • Jung, C. G. (1921). Psychological types. London, England: Kegan Paul Trench Trubner.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Based on Jung's work, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is used to help students better understand their personalities, strengths, weaknesses and those of others. The MBTI instrument identifies sixteen types of personalities based on the following dimensions: extroversion versus introversion, intuition versus sensing, thinking versus, feeling, and perceiving versus judging.

  • Briggs, K. C., & Myers, I. B. (1944). The Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook. Unpublished manuscript, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA.
  • Briggs Myers, I. B. (1962). Manual: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
  • Myers, I. B. & McCaulley, M.H. (1985). Manual: A guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (2nd ed.). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  • Myers, I. B., McCaulley, M. H., Quenk, N. L., Hammer, A. L. (1998). Manual: A guide to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  • Myers, I. B. (2003). MBTI manual: A guide to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument. Mountain View, CA: CPP.
  • Chickering, A. W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Tieger, P. D., & Barron-Tieger, B. (2007). Do what you are: Discover the perfect career for you through the secrets of personality type. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Theory of Vocational Choice

Indicates that individuals seek out environments where their personality is aligned with the characteristics of their work environment and career path. It posits six personality types and work environments: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, conventional.

  • Holland, J. L. (1973). Making vocational choices: A theory of careers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Theory of Vocational Development

States that career choices and preferences are adapted based on perspective, time, and maturity. Describes five stages throughout the working life: growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, and disengagement.

  • Super, D. E. (1953, May). A theory of vocational development. American Psychologist, 8(5), 185-190.

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