Shape Your Ph.D. Learning Cohort

Your PhD experience encompasses much more than disciplinary training and expertise. Although PhD training primarily happens within departments, we encourage you to connect with the vast social and intellectual ecosystem at Princeton’s campus for professional development. Why? The broader campus provides rare access to people from different parts of the world who are motivated by a shared purpose: the pursuit of knowledge, creativity and critical thinking. Princeton’s expansive ecosystem (and the connections you can make here!) can provide you with the tools and agency to shape your PhD in ways that are aligned with your interests, informed by your experiences, and geared to equip you for multiple futures.

“Shape your PhD” is designed for G1 and G2 students who are interested in applying design thinking to their future planning. You’ll receive a free copy of A Field Guide to Graduate School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum(PUP, 2020) by Jessica M. Calarco.

Learning Objectives

  • Connect your “why": Thread purpose, meaning and impact into the PhD experience
  • Build global and multidisciplinary communities
  • Broaden the scope of your research ideas through cross-disciplinary conversations
  • Cultivate systematic & improvised networks for collaboration
  • Expand and foster creativity and the role of the imagination in research
  • Visualize and design your optimal PhD experience, alongside various visions for successful futures
Seraya Jones
"During my first year, I participated in the GradFUTURES Learning Cohort, which focused on navigating the first year of graduate school. Through this immersive experience, I obtained resources and learned from the experience of other graduate students, about thriving in the first year of graduate school. It also allowed me to network and build professional and personal relationships with other first-year graduate students. "

Seraya Jones, Graduate Student, MOL

Past Speakers

Andrew Finn, GS, ENG
University Administrative Fellow
GradFUTURES Forum Speaker
Clio Hall Award Recipient
Seraya Jones, GS, MOL
Professional Development Associate 2022-23
Christopher MacPherson
Professional Specialist and Lecturer, The Keller Center
Sonali Majumdar
Assistant Dean for Professional Development
Thomas Mullaney
Professor of Chinese History, Stanford University
Guggenheim Fellow
Christopher Rea
Professor of Chinese Literature, University of British Columbia
James M. Van Wyck
Assistant Dean for Professional Development
Itai Yanai
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

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GradFUTURES Learning Cohort Interest Form

About GradFUTURES Learning Cohorts


GradFUTURES’ interdisciplinary learning cohorts build community among and between graduate students and reinforce each student’s graduate training while drawing on their content knowledge to inform the cohort’s investigation of the topic. As part of the cohort, students will read and discuss books, articles, and case studies. Learning cohorts typically also include at least one experiential component such as an immersive project, a site visit, conference presentation, or fellowship/internship opportunities. Interdisciplinary discussions, reflection, synthesis, community building, and immersive experiences are integral components of each learning cohort experience.