Graduate Professional Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

Graduate Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

Universities across Canada are actively working to provide graduate students with opportunities to hone skills that will serve them well in any work place. CAGS and the Canadian Consortium of Graduate Studies Professional Development Administrators, with the support of the Tri-Council, has developed a report, available here, that summarizes and categorizes the skills development offerings available to graduate students, by university, in Canada. This report includes a searchable catalogue to help professional development administrators access content and keep up with trends and innovations. The goal is to continuously update the catalogue and maintain it evergreen. The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) has long been interested in helping graduate students develop the necessary skills for employment. CAGS commissioned a best practices document on professional skills development in 2012, and identified the theme of its Award for Excellence and Innovation in Enhancing the Graduate Student Experience as skills development in 2014.

The interest in professional development for graduate students extends to the Tri-Council. They also are interested in ensuring that the recipients of its grants and scholarships are provided with the best training and opportunities to succeed after they graduate, such as the requirement of professional development training and mentorship committees that would ‘value-add’ universities’ own offerings for the receipt of funding.

Assessment of the effectiveness of existing professional skills development programs for graduates is an ongoing challenge. Very little literature or information exists in Canada or elsewhere concerning evaluation of this type of offering. CAGS and the CCGSPDA, again assisted by the Tri-Council are working on a Phase 2 report on professional development offerings that will address the issue. We look forward to a release date prior to the CAGS conference November 7-9, in Quebec City.

Top Categories

mentorship or internships opportunities

Are there mentorship or internships opportunities included in the program?

skills or competencies

What skills or competencies do the sessions focus on?


Who is eligible for sessions? (students, postdocs, alumni, etc.)

professional development programs

Are professional development programs mandatory for students to graduate?

academic credit or formal recognition

Does the program offer academic credit or formal recognition?

develop and deliver

Who develops and delivers the sessions?

additional cost or fees

Is there additional cost or fees for registrants?

registration capacities and participation rates

What are the registration capacities and participation rates?

effectiveness of attending sessions

Is there information available to measure the effectiveness of attending sessions and securing employment after graduation?

collaborative offerings between departments

Are there collaborative offerings between departments and the graduate professional development program office?

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Mentorship or Internships Opportunities 68%

Develop and Deliver 21%

Academic Credit or Formal Recognition 8%

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    CANADIAN Universities

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