PhD Progression

What is PhD Progression?

PhD Progression is an online training program that offers individual modules (badges) to support your career and professional development over the course of your PhD and help you prepare for your post-PhD career.

PhD Progression is for PhD students from all fields:

  • 180+ online badges, which you can complete at your own pace and whenever you need them
  • Each badge takes 45 to 90 minutes to complete, on any type of device
  • Badges have been designed to allow you to gain skills in the 7 Core Capacities.
  • Badges are organized in 3 levels of learning: Skills Exploration, Skills Development, and Skills Application
  • Badges are linked with each other in pathways – there is one pathway per Core Capacity and in each level of learning.
Register Explore Badges

Why Digital Badges?

Digital badges are gaining popularity with many employers and educational institutions as markers of professional training and development completed outside of traditional learning environments. These badges contain metadata describing the specific tasks completed to earn that badge. In addition, they can be shared on social media platforms like LinkedIn and X (Twitter) to show potential employers that you have invested time and energy in increasing your marketability.

At Boston University, we launched the PhD Progression pilot program to see how students would respond, and the large majority of participants felt that the time they invested in earning PhD Progression badges was beneficial to their professional development. See the graphic below.

Data colected during the PhD Progression 2021 pilot project: 87 percent of the participants gained skills with badges, while 78 percent said gaining badges gave them a sense of accomplishment. The image also displays two testimonies of pilot participants who said they will keep on using the program in the future.

Which Badges Should You Complete?

Click on the image below to view a proposed timeline with pathway and badge suggestions for you to complete at each phase of your PhD (coursework, qualifying exams, dissertation prospectus, research, teaching, dissertation writing, conferencing, and job applications).

Timeline showing 5 two-year PhD phases and milestones, as well as colored circles representing specific PhD Progression pathways.

Learning Communities

PDPA’s synchronous PhD Progression learning communities provide specialized focus on individual pathways and are offered as a supplement to the program’s asynchronous learning model. These communities are perfect for doctoral students who desire a more structured, hands-on approach to the standard PhD Progression content.

Learn more about upcoming learning communities here.

More questions? Check out our PhD Progression Guide & FAQs or email us at