GradFUTURES: The Professional Development Hub

In a fast-changing professional landscape, graduate students are uniquely situated to engage their futures with creativity, insight, and in-demand skills that reveal multiple options within the academic, government, nonprofit, and private sectors. At Princeton, we believe professional development belongs at the foundation of a modern graduate education. Graduate-student centered by design, GradFUTURES is a dynamic hub that empowers graduate scholars, researchers, and leaders to succeed in graduate school and craft futures that are fully their own. 

Meet the GradFUTURES Team

Get to know the team behind GradFUTURES, which works hand-in-hand with our partner network to activate opportunity for graduate students.

Vision, Mission & Values

Find both context and inspiration in the shared vision for professional development at Princeton that unites us in all that we do.

Five Pillars of GradFUTURES Strategy

Learn about our professional development model, which emphasizes transferable skills, individualized pathways, and lifelong career optionality.

An integrative approach that activates possibilities

GradFUTURES Program Model

Professional development at Princeton is as diverse and multifaceted as our scholarly community—and it begins on day one. A broad range of programming emphasizes the in-demand skills and insights that open doors and create optionality within and beyond the academy. Recognizing the unique needs of graduate students, GradFUTURES programs and experiences are also designed to enhance one’s research and teaching while at Princeton.

Our Focus:

  • Progressive learning and the acquisition of professional skills and interdisciplinary competencies
  • Exposure to diverse Ph.D. pathways, emerging fields, and trends across fields
  • Bespoke immersive experiences and experiential opportunities
  • Transformative connections between graduate students, alumni, and industry leaders

Learn more about the framework 

Rodney Priestley
“Graduate student professional development helps students build important professional skills which serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary collaboration, creativity, and innovation. By cultivating connections between our graduate students, faculty, alumni, and partners within Princeton’s Innovation Ecosystem, we are building on-ramps to a diverse array of career paths including entrepreneurship."

Rodney D. Priestley, Dean of the Graduate School, Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Camila Llerena-Olivera Headshot
“My advice for graduate students at Princeton is to take advantage of the university's extensive resources and network. There are many offices on campus, such as GradFUTURES, that are dedicated to developing students' academic, professional, and personal development skills. The knowledge that you gain from their programs can clarify and complement your intended career path. GradFUTURES has helped me build confidence in my soft skills, learn about various career paths, and connect me to some amazing individuals.” 

Camila Llerena-Olivera, GS, CEE

Calls to Action on Graduate Student Professional Development

A Drive for Transformation

Nearly all scholarly and professional associations—including the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Association of American Universities (AAU)—have called for a transformation in graduate student professional development, focusing on career diversity. Princeton's efforts to reimagine graduate student professional development have been informed by national trends as well as a comprehensive self-study described in Task Force on the Future of the Graduate School Report, 2015.

Key Recommendations:

  • Shifting institutional culture to expose graduate students to the diverse array of pathways within and beyond the academy
  • Increasing the transparency of outcomes data and relabeling categories to equitably recognize the range of Ph.D. outcomes across industries
  • Improving curricular and co-curricular efforts that build professional competencies and support successful progression across fields
Andre Benhaimfit
“Some may believe that graduate school is great to advance one’s knowledge and personal growth, but that the expertise it fosters verges on the kind of specialization that might prove too narrow in the professional world. This sort of credence is especially widespread when it pertains to certain fields, like the Humanities. More than mere ‘mythbusters', the leadership and opportunities promoted by GradFUTURES provide students with invaluable practical tools that will help them magnify their professional potential."

André Benhaïm, Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of French & Italian