PhD Professional Development

As a doctoral student, you’re not only learning, but doing. Whether you’re working in a lab, serving as a teaching fellow, writing a paper for publication, or completing an internship, you’re simultaneously preparing for your future professional life while also working side-by-side with those who are already well along in their careers. Professional development for doctoral students encompasses the activities and resources that can help you sharpen your skill set for the work that you’re doing now and in the future, while also helping you maintain a sense of well-being along the way.

Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs

Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs (PDPA) supports Boston University doctoral students in their professional development journey. Whether you’re exploring career options or looking to build transferable skills, resources and programming exist to support you. You can find up to date info on events, workshops, and other programs on our Twitter (@BU_PhDs) or our Instagram (@BU_PhDs).

PDPA provides a variety of professional development resources for current PhD students and is consistently working to expand its current offerings. Visit the pages below to learn more:

PhD Progression & PhD Core Capacities
PhD Progression is an online micro-credentialing platform designed specifically for PhD students at Boston University. The platform creates a framework for students to explore, build, and apply skills outlined in the PhD Core Capacities. Through the acquisition of digital badges connected to activities and assessments recorded on the Badgr pro platform, you will be able to plan, monitor, and share your progress through seven learning pathways. Pathways are made up of a series of badges. Badges are issued individually after the completion of the earning criteria and the submission of a brief assessment. The Badgr pro dashboard allows you to organize, download, and share a summary of your progress in the Pathways with mentors. Badges can be shared publicly on personal websites and public profiles like LinkedIn or Twitter. 

Workshops & Professional Events
Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs (PDPA) Office offers a variety of workshops, panels, and other events to guide doctoral students in their career planning. Workshop topics range from career planning, to building skills in communications, to developing job application materials. 

Drop-In Office Hours
Drop-in virtual office hours provide students with a space to ask Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs staff questions, receive professional development advice, and learn about available resources.

Vitamin PhD Podcast
Vitamin PhD is a podcast produced at Boston University for anyone who is pursuing a doctorate, has a doctorate, or supporting others on their doctoral journey. Hosted by rotating teams of current doctoral students, the podcast delivers career narratives and skills know-how in multiple formats. Episodes help you explore career options by interviewing people who have earned their doctorate and now work in a variety of sectors. Additionally, there are conversations discussing issues that can present difficulties in graduate school, and providing tips to help you succeed. Whether you tune in during your daily commute or while working on your research, we hope that Vitamin PhD can help you learn, laugh, and connect to our listening community.

Professional Development Grants
Although BU offers many professional development opportunities for doctoral students through departments, offices, and organizations, we recognize that external opportunities often arise that have the potential to significantly benefit students’ professional growth. The professional development grant program was established to provide financial support for such opportunities. 

Things I Wish I Knew…
“Things I Wish I Knew…” is a multimedia project developed by the Office of Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs (PDPA) and BU URBAN Graduate Program in Urban Biogeoscience and Environmental Health (BU URBAN). They have teamed up to produce a series of videos, where current Boston University PhD students speak to the things they wish they knew before encountering significant milestones in their PhD education. Learn from students from across backgrounds, disciplines, and PhD life stages, where they reveal the hidden curriculum within PhD education that goes beyond coursework and academic milestones.

Contact Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs at or connect with us on Slack.