Professional Development

Preparing You For Success

At the Graduate School, we’re committed to providing the information and support you need for you to complete your graduate degree. To that end, we present a number of helpful workshops and events throughout the year. And our staff can offer you focused assistance with topics such as recruitment, thesis and dissertation preparation, and financial awards to groups of students or faculty in individual departments.

Graduate Professional Skills Academy

The Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) Academy is a professional development and career skills program designed by the Graduate School to help prepare you for your career after graduation.

Learn more about the GPS Academy

Individualized Development Plan (IDP): A Roadmap for Success

An IDP is a tool for personal and professional development that allows people to explore career options, identify areas for skill development, and set short- and long-term goals. Identifying the skills needed for career success focuses students attention on their goals so that they make the best use of their time in graduate school.

All students and post docs would benefit from an IDP. Some organizations require them for all employees. An IDP can be used throughout a person’s entire training and employment.

Ideally, the IDP will be developed during the first semester of graduate study, but it is never too late to make one.

How is the IDP Used?

Students should use their IDP to guide conversations with their advisor and supervisory committee, coursework choices (e.g., electives & certificates) and professional development choices. Multiple professional development activities are provided for NDSU graduate students through the Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) Academy ( IDP should be reviewed and updated periodically—aiming for once a semester. People change throughout their training and across the course of their careers. Reviewing at a set time each semester encourages monitoring progress toward goals, and allows for refining and adding to the IDP over time.


What Resources are there for Creating an IDP?  Career exploration and planning tool for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences    Career exploration and planning tool for students and post docs in the sciences. Includes the option to set reminders   The American Psychological Association has assembled resources that would be helpful to students in a wide range of careers. These resources include tools for self-assessment, IDP examples, and videos explaining the steps of IDP development  Multiple career resources for a variety of paths


Professional Development Listserv

Our listserv gives you a variety of professional development information. Topics include applying for jobs in a range of fields, resumes and curricula vitae, leadership, professional networking, teaching, communication, and the like. 

Please follow the instructions below to subscribe to the list:

  • Send an email to
  • Leave the email’s subject line blank
  • In the body (not subject) of the email, enter the following: SUB NDSU-GRADSTU-PRO-DEVELOP yourfirstname yourlastname

Note: You should enter your first and last name in place of yourfirstname and yourlastname in the above directions. Your name must be at least two words.

Listserv Archive

Below you will find previous resources on a range of professional development topics:

Job Search

Reading Your Application File (August 23, 2017)
Understand the point of view of a member of a search committee for an academic position that focuses on research in the sciences.

How to Style your Skype Interview (April 27, 2016)
Get tips on how to present yourself professionally in a Skype interview.

Tips on Seeking Federal Government Jobs (August 11, 2015)
Find helpful advice for seeking employment in the federal government and, more generally, in settings other than academia.

Employment Options for Graduate Degree Earners: Transferable Skills (July 20, 2015)

A multi-part column on transferable skills that graduate students have. If you’re thinking about employment in business, industry, nonprofit, or government settings, identifying the skills you have to offer is a crucial first step.

Part 1: PhDs Do Have Transferable Skills
Part 2: PhDs Do Have Transferable Skills

Communication, Writing, and Public Speaking

Writing Successful Grant Proposals (August 9, 2017)
Learn more about writing successful grant proposals and more resources you can explore.

Other Topics

From Bench Science to … ? New Book on Careers for Science PhDs (August 23, 2017)
Learn more about using your PhD to pursue a non-academic career.

The Postdoctoral Bait and Switch
Identify the differences between a postdoc experience that is likely to provide meaningful training and one that is not.

NDSU Career and Advising Center

The NDSU Career and Advising Center offers a wide variety of services and resources to help you navigate your career path. From interview prep to networking and job placement resources, we can help you tailor a plan for your future.

Go to the Career and Advising Center