Sharpen Skills

Professional development is integral to graduate education at Princeton University. It involves the systematic learning, acquisition, and application of skills and competencies that support your scholarly goals while preparing you for professional success in diverse roles within the academic, government, nonprofit, and private sectors. These competencies are in-demand in the Ph.D. labor market across all disciplines, career fields, and position types. Many are also interrelated and may be explored in any order based on your unique interests and goals. Throughout your time here, a range of programs helps you build competence and confidence in each of these highly transferable skills.

Progressive Acquisition & Mastery of Skills Creates Career Optionality

Adapted from the Lightcast Skills Taxonomy

Alongside the development of strong foundational and discipline-specific skills, we emphasize distinguishing skills that translate universally across an array of leadership environments. This sets our Ph.D.s apart on the academic job market and prepares them for success in diverse fields—including entrepreneurship. 

We curate, integrate, and cross-promote professional development programs offered by dozens of partners on and off campus to help graduate students build and hone these skills. In addition, we deliver more than 150+ programs including skill-building, interdisciplinary learning cohorts, mentorship, and experiential opportunities. 

Learn more about our professional competency model.

Featured Programs

Interdisciplinary Learning Cohorts

Explore interdisciplinary seminars and co-curricular opportunities that bring together students, alums, faculty, and industry partners.

Princeton Startup Bootcamp, Powered by VentureWell

Take on an entrepreneurial mindset, collaborate across disciplines, and learn what it takes to bring an idea to market.

Focus on Future You(s)

Reflect on and identify your professional interests and future possibilities using ideation, group problem-solving, and design-thinking methods.

Creativity Workshops

Embrace innovative thinking and apply an entrepreneurial mindset toward bold, disruptive research ideas of interest to all audiences.

Skill-building Workshops

Participate in events and skill-building workshops throughout the year across that span key competencies and sharpen in-demand skills.

GradFUTURES Wintersession Events

Join us during this campus-wide, two-week experience that offers engaging, active, and intriguing non-graded learning and growth opportunities for the entire University community!

The GradFUTURES Forum

Prepare for multiple futures through sessions with real-time relevance to graduate school that provide a glimpse into a world of possibilities beyond. 

Star Lessons in Leadership

Hear from graduate alums who share thought-provoking insights and candid advice based on lessons learned throughout their careers.

Future Faculty Workshops

Learn about the professional lives of faculty and the landscape of faculty roles within diverse higher education institutions in the U.S.

Qiqi Yang Headshot
“I always imagine I'm a tree and different skills are branches and leaves that could grow in the future. My professional development is a process of knowing myself and the world, and growing those branches and leaves. Connecting with alumni in my department opened my eyes to the career choices I could have as an EEB PhD and what skillsets I could aim to develop during graduate school. By doing what I want to try, I learn what I'm passionate about and what skills I'm already good at and what skills I'd need to learn more.” 

Qiqi Yang, GS, EEB

Additional Programs to Explore

Graduate Alum Mentorship Program

Benefit from ongoing access to a network of Princeton graduate alum mentors, who offer guidance and advice across a broad range of fields. 

Research and Career Resources

Access a range of free resources that are designed to support you in your development, progression, and career outcomes.

“Many brilliant people apply to graduate school and then find that graduate school is not quite what they expected. Rather than being a retreat from the world, it is in fact a training ground for a complicated, very public job, one that requires many of the same skills as other high level positions. These include networking, scheduling time efficiently, managing multiple forms of technology, following a plethora of policies, and leading people from diverse backgrounds to accomplish a common goal while simultaneously writing, researching, and teaching. Fortunately, the graduate student professional development program at Princeton University provides training in just these types of skills and thus is an essential part of graduate student success now and in the future."

Wendy Laura BelcherProfessor of African Literature, Princeton University, Department of Comparative Literature and Department of African American Studies