Professional Development



No matter you are  planning to pursue an academic research or tenure track position within academia or considering choosing a career beyond acdaemia, these simple steps below represent good practices that will focus and enhance your career development efforts in ways that are beneficial for academic and non-academic job search candidates alike.

ONE. Stay open to possibilities and avoid career blind spots.

It is completely OK and NORMAL for Ph.D. students to change mind about career choices at any stageStay open to the realities and possibilities of potential career paths by allowing yourself to consider what you want. The career exploration resources listed below can help you maintain a perspective on your skills, interests, and priorities.

TWO. Think of yourself as a professional and treat your time at Brown accordingly. 

In the eyes of a potential employer, your graduate position is a job, and your education and graduate activities are job experience. Through every course, committee, and project you are developing and demonstrating important career skills. Trying to understand what these skills are in terms that are broadly applicable can pay enormous dividends in the long run. Ask yourself where your strengths and interests lie – you may lean more toward teaching/instruction, writing, research, service and community building, or any combination of interests and skills. This sense of self-awareness can guide and enhance your career development during your graduate studies.

THREE. Invest some time in service, and in developing skills, interests, and professional relationships beyond your courses and, if possible, beyond your department.

Committee and service work shows that you are an engaged and active member of your community, and that demonstrates experience as a leader and/or team member – desirable assets on the job market. Hosting conferences, events or symposia develops skills in communication, planning, organization, and marketing. Whatever your interests are – management, writing, mentorship, community engagement, advocacy, the list goes on and on –   you will find countless opportunities to expand your professional experience throughout your studies; be open to them and pursue them strategically.

On-Campus Resources for Professional Development

Graduate School Professional Development Programs offer a variety of opportunities to help Ph.D. students develop the skills they need to succeed, such as research, advanced teaching, leadership, communication, and administration in both the academic and non-academic worlds. 

Center for Digital Scholarship's Doctoral Certificate Program in Digital Humanities offers an opportunity to currently enrolled Ph.D. students interested in adding expertise in digital methodologies and techniques to their research portfolio. 

Center for Language studies priorizes the success of graduate students in all language departments during their time at Brown and beyond. Sutdents are encouraged to participaate in technology, pedagogy and professionalization workshops and to enroll in the CLS doctoral certificate. The CLS creates a communit for language graduate students starting with the annual fall orientation, continuing with montly workshop and social events and by offering expanded opportunities through the certificate and proctorships. 

The Cogut Institute for the Humanities' 21st -Century Ph.D. Mellon Proctorship is designed as an opportunity for graduate students within departments to research both discipline-specific and broader debates on the current goals and challenges of doctoral training, with a view to supporting ongoing departmental discussions. In collaboration with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or other faculty members, proctors may help research existing and new thinkings about the Ph.D. degree and assist within the development of related programming and resourcs that may be of use for the department's faculty and students.

Initiative to Maximize Student Development is to develop a diverse pool of scientist earning a Ph.D.; who have the skills to successfully transition into careers in the biomedical and STEM research workforce. It provides Ph.D. students with professional development opportunities, academic support, and a community which enhances success in their Ph.D. programs and make them higly competitive for the postdoctoral posititions and sicentific careers of their choice. 

Brown Innovation Fellows is a paid internship program for graduate students,postdocs and medical students interested in technology commercialization. Thisprogram is a part of Brown Technology Innovations (BTI), which is responsiblefor managing the university’s patent portfolio and driving commercialization ofBrown-developed technologies. The first cohort was launched in July 2022.

Nelson Technology Fellows Program provides the opportunity for students to work with Brown faculty whose research has potential commercial application. Fellows are appointed on a rolling basis and work directly with faculty to evaluate their research’s business potential and provide concrete, project-based support. 

Sheridan Center provides a wide variety of programs, consulting services, and resources designed to help Ph.D. students succeed in graduate school and beyond. The Center can help students develop and refine their teaching, writing, and communication skills. The Center recommends completing the Sheridan Teaching Seminar Certificate during the first or second year of a doctoral program. Visit the website for more information on our Certificate programs and events.

Swearer Center hosts several fellowships and work opportunities for graduate students. Please click here to learn more about current opportunities, application process, and deadlines. 

Off-Campus Resources for Professional Development

Massachusetts Biotechnology Council is an association of more than 650 biotechnology copanies, universities, academic institutions and others dedicated to advacing cutting research. As a member of it, Brown community members can access its workshops, courses, networking opportunities, discounts, and more. 

Forage provides a virtual work experience. It gives any student, from any diverse starting point in the world, the chance to see behind the curtains of the best companies around the world and start careers there–100% free & self-paced.

iBiology is dedicated to providing training and professional development tools for individuals pursing scientific research and exploring careers once they are done with training. They offer free courses on career and professional development at their youtube channel.