PLEASE NOTE: The Fall semester will begin on Tuesday, August 25. Information and FAQs are available on the Return to Grounds website and the Fall 2020 Student Resource website, which will be updated frequently.

PhD Plus Program Philosophy

PhD Plus Professional Development and Career Education 

We encourage PhD students and Postdocs (collectively called ‘trainees’) to be thoughtful and intentional in their career education and preparation. PhD Plus (PhD+) Career Design provides the opportunity to learn fundamental strategies and develop SMART goals toward career education and preparation. The strategic framework introduced in PhD+ Career Design and the outline below applies to all PhD Plus career training core modules.

All career training modules have sequential levels - 1. Research 2. Community 3. Skill Development 4. Experiential learning; that involve various levels of effort and duration of engagement. Trainees should spend a longer time in Career Research and Community building phases to learn about the breadth of careers and desirable skills, and only invest in Skills and Experience levels of one or two most interested career modules after thorough analysis, and reflection provided by research and community phases. 


A student-centered strategy of career education and professional development applicable to all PhD Plus career training modules. For details on the professional development strategy, please attend PhD Plus Career Design.


Career education and training levels

1. Research: Trainees begin the career education process with iterative research of

  • Self:  their values, interests, and skills
  • Careers: the culture and landscape of post-PhD work across career sectors that align with their values and interests.

This is an iterative process of gathering and analyzing data and regular reflections.  

2. Community: The research stage of career education should be informed by and, in turn, facilitate the cultivation of the professional community. Research and community phases across diverse careers should ultimately lead to the formalization of interest in one or two careers.

We recommend that trainees begin in research and community building phases within the early and middle years. PhD+ Career Design provides best practices and recommended strategies for approaching the research and community levels of career education.

3. Development: Based on the research and reflection on career interest, trainees should strategically participate in PhD Plus career training modules to develop skills and experiences valued in their career/s of choice.

  1. Skills development: Skills development ‘core modules’ will provide theoretical and foundational knowledge of concepts and skills. These modules span over multiple weeks (can be up to 20 hours of commitment per semester) and therefore, involve higher levels of engagement. Upon completion of 75% of any skills training core module, PhD students receive a non-credit credential (specific PhDP number for each module) on transcripts. Completion of training can span across multiple semesters. Transcript notations will be reflected in the semester of completion.

We recommend that trainees begin participation in skills development during middle years, typically 2-3 years from dissertation completion and job search.

  1. Experiential learning: The most advanced level of career training involves experiential learning that can be in the form of project-based learning and internships.

We recommend that trainees participate in the experiential learning phase during advanced years, typically 6-12 months from dissertation completion and job search.