About Graduate Professional Development

Graduate Professional Development (GPD) supports Berkeley’s students throughout their graduate studies as they explore career options and develop the skills sought by employers in a wide range of sectors.

GPD collaborates with graduate program faculty, student groups, and staff networks to offer activities that help graduate students recognize potential career paths, set professional development goals, and build skills vital to a variety of careers, both within and beyond the academy.

Click to learn more about the evolution of Graduate Professional Development at Berkeley.

GPD is an outgrowth of diverse initiatives to support graduate student career preparation undertaken by faculty, administrators, and students themselves. Faculty advising students, staff serving students, and students seeking guidance have called attention to emerging trends and needs. Graduate Division studies have investigated students’ past experiences and suggested future directions for services. In 2012, the Graduate Division administered a ground-breaking survey to a sample of doctoral degree alumni from the previous 40 years (1968-2008). This cross-sectional study, one of a few nationally and in the University of California system, gathered information on doctoral recipients’ career paths and their perceptions of the value of various aspects of the graduate education that they had received at Berkeley. Survey findings confirm that for decades Berkeley graduates have followed rewarding careers in a variety of sectors. Forty-four percent of respondents were in tenure-track faculty positions; 42 percent in business, industry, government, non-profits, and professional practices; 14 percent were in non-tenured positions in academia. Alumni identified the value of experiences during their graduate studies that contributed to their career success (in various fields), such as practice of academic or professional writing, practice of a formal analytic technique specific to the field, presentation of work at a professional conference, and experience working collaboratively. Most notably since 1989, the Graduate Division has offered a range of highly regarded services that prepare students for future careers. Chief among these are the GSI Teaching & Resource Center and the Graduate Writing Center (formerly Academic Services). Leaders of these programs established the Summer Institute for Preparing Future Faculty and, more recently, SMART (Student Mentoring and Research Teams).

In 2013, the Graduate Division and the Graduate Assembly convened a Task Force on Graduate Student and Postdoc Professional Development, to examine more closely how Berkeley prepares students and postdocs for the multiplicity of employment opportunities in their futures. Recommendations of this Task Force sparked the creation of new programming to coordinate existing campus resources and expand services to meet evolving needs. In 2014, the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate approved the Task Force recommendation to create an Advisory Committee for Graduate Student and Postdoc Professional Development, comprised of faculty, graduate students, and postdocs. This Advisory Committee guides the work of Graduate Professional Development.

Also informing this initiative is the Graduate Program Outcomes framework that was developed by the Graduate Division and approved by the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate in 2013. This framework codifies how Berkeley’s faculty government defines core skills that graduate programs should impart to their students. Other elements are informed by the Graduate Division’s online Doctoral Candidacy Review, created for doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy to document their professional activities and degree progress every year. The Graduate Council of the Academic Senate approved the DCR as well.

The Graduate Student Professional Development Guide

The Graduate Student Professional Development Guide assists Berkeley graduate students in developing core competencies that are at the heart of graduate education and can be applied to multiple career paths. Each competency is broken down into a list of skills and steps you can take to develop your abilities.

Graduate Division Professional Development Programs

Berkeley’s Graduate Division offers innovative programs for professional development in the areas of Teaching, Writing, Mentoring, and Preparing Future Faculty.

Campus Partners & Resources

GPD works with campus partners including the Graduate Assembly, the Career Center, Beyond Academia, the D-Lab, and many other student groups, units, and initiatives.

Resources for Faculty & Departments

GPD collects and shares resources that faculty and departments can use to support the professional development of graduate students.

Workshops & Other Events

GPD maintains a comprehensive calendar of local professional development events, and distributes a bimonthly digest of upcoming events to all graduate programs.

The Graduate Professional Development Center (309 Sproul Hall)

Opened Fall 2015, the GPD Center in 309 Sproul Hall is a dynamic hub for professional development programming for graduate students and the faculty and staff who advise them. Campus units or student groups who would like to use the room for graduate professional development events can request a reservation.

Consultations & Contact Information

GPD Staff can be invited to speak with graduate students, faculty, and staff about professional development resources for graduate students. GPD Staff are also available for individual consultations to assist graduate students with professional development planning.

For consultations or any questions about graduate professional development, contact the Professional Development Resource Coordinator at gradpro@berkeley.edu.