For Current Graduate Students

What is Professional Development?

image of gradfutures gear

Professional development helps you grow as a scholar, researcher, and leader. We offer programs and opportunities designed to help you explore your interests, build skills and competencies, gain internship/fellowship experience, and connect with alumni and other leaders in academia and beyond. These skills, experiences, and mentors will support you as you advance through your graduate studies—and in the future.”

-- Eva Kubu, Associate Dean for Professional Development & Director of GradFUTURES


Professional development is an integral part of your graduate education at Princeton. The Office of the Dean of the Graduate School developed GradFUTURES®, a campus-wide professional development initiative, to empower you with the professional competencies and connections you need to chart your future with clarity and confidence. GradFUTURES serves as a hub solely dedicated to connecting all graduate students to programs, resources, opportunities, graduate alumni, and other leaders to help you explore and pursue your unique interests. We define professional development as the systematic learning and acquisition of skills and competencies that will support scholarly and research goals while preparing graduate students for professional success in diverse roles within the academic, public, and private sectors. Engaging in comprehensive professional development will mutually reinforce your doctoral training, create equitable access to pathways within and beyond the academy -- and widen the aperture of opportunity for all Ph.D. students. 

GradFUTURES provides a learning framework for acquiring skills and competencies that support graduate students’ scholarly and research goals while preparing them for professional success within their chosen field of endeavor. This framework integrates all programs offered on or off-campus and organizes them according to eight core competency categories: Research & Data Analysis; Leadership & Collaboration; Writing & Public Speaking; Teaching & Mentoring; Career Management; Personal Well-being & Effectiveness; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. 

Our wide array of resources and programs: support progressive learning and acquisition of professional skills and interdisciplinary competencies; provide exposure to diverse Ph.D. pathways, emerging fields, and trends within and beyond academia; ensure access to bespoke immersive experiences and experiential opportunities; foster connections among and between graduate students, graduate alumni mentors, and industry leaders. Programs include competency-building workshops, individual professional development planning sessions (IDPs), alumni panels and speaker series’, meetups, networking events, interdisciplinary learning cohorts, experiential opportunities, a mentorship program, and the annual GradFUTURES Forum professional development conference. We also work closely with the academic departments to develop and support customized programs and resources for graduate students by discipline.

Based on post-program surveys collected in 2020-21, more than 97 percent of graduate students participating in GradFUTURES events and programs would recommend those programs to a friend. Dozens of testimonials, profiles, and stories featuring graduate student participants, graduate alumni speakers/mentors, and faculty are available on the Grad Stories section of our website.

Use this site to:

  • Design a personalized plan for each stage of your graduate education 
  • Find events and programs 
  • Discover opportunities to gain professional exposure and experience 
  • Explore resources available for your personal and professional growth
  • Identify and apply for funding to support your goals 
  • Review inspirational stories of fellow graduate students and graduate alumni/ae
  • Access post-graduation outcomes data