If your thesis or dissertation research does not explicitly include collaborative research, consider making the time to work on research as part of a team. The organizational and communication skills you develop while conducting collaborative research can be valuable for demonstrating your capacity to work with others, manage projects, and allocate resources effectively. To learn more about general research skills, visit the Research & Data Analysis competency in this guide.

Steps You Can Take

Participate in or Organize a Digital Research Project

Many digital research projects are collaborative, since they are often large-scale endeavors with interdisciplinary methodologies. Collaboration with future users is also part of the open-access ethos that informs the planning process for many digital research projects. For students whose research is typically individual in nature, digital projects can be opportunities to experiment with more collaborative research.


Participate in an Interdisciplinary Working Group

Participating in, or organizing, an interdisciplinary working group can help you develop your skills through collaborative work on event planning, grant applications, research, outreach, communications, and assessment. It is also an opportunity to diversify your knowledge of the intersections between different academic fields. Units on campus that often sponsor working groups include, but are not limited to:

  1. Townsend Center for the Humanities
  2. Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society
  3. Berkeley Institute for Data Science
  4. Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
  5. Social Science Matrix


Co-Author an Article

While highly discipline-specific, co-authoring can be a useful opportunity to develop skills in collaboration while working with colleagues or a senior scholar, such as an advisor. Once mainly exclusive to the sciences, co-authorship is now increasingly common in the humanities and social sciences as well. Co-authoring requires close collaboration and strong communication among the participants to navigate challenges ranging from authorship credit to workflow procedures. As such, this experience develops teamwork and communication skills that are widely valued in a variety of careers. To learn more about some of the challenges and rewards of co-authoring, consider reading Inside Higher Ed’s article “Collaborating and Co-Authoring” (2009). 

Because disciplinary practices vary widely, it is important to ask your advisor or another mentor in your field whether co-authorship makes sense for you. You can also look out for co-authorship opportunities in calls for papers from your professional association.


Manage Your Personal and Research Finances

Learn to create budgets for grant proposals, fundraise as a conference or event organizer, and manage a grant while paying attention to your own finances as a graduate student.  Take a course like Financial Reporting and Decision Making for Real Life Success, a Haas course open to non-Haas undergrads and grad students (check the Haas page on Special Topics to check if it is being offered). 

See also these resources:

In addition to your research finances, there are many resources to assist you in practicing financial responsibility in your personal life. Check for workshops through student groups like Graduate Women of Engineering, whose “PhD 101” series sometimes includes a session on personal finance and financial wellness (find the slides and resources from this presentation on the GWE website). Utilize resources like the peer service Bears for Financial Success, who offer presentations and one-on-one appointments to answer money management questions and can help you create a personal spending plan.