Sofa in the Goodell Lounge

We're here for in-person and virtual workshops! Join us!

Professional Development

The Office of Professional Development (OPD) positions graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to achieve success at UMass and beyond. Building upon the technical and academic expertise of the scholars we serve, OPD provides professional skills training in these areas:

OPD helps graduate students and post doctoral students plan and prepare for careers beyond UMass Amherst—and it’s never too early to start! We organize numerous events and activities to help you assess your values, skills, and interests; explore career paths; build professional networks; and navigate the job application process.

Learn more

The ability to effectively communicate your research to a variety of audiences is an essential professional skill. From building healthy writing habits to preparing for conferences to dissertation writing retreats, OPD helps students and postdocs improve their writing and presenting skills through a variety of programs offered throughout the year.

Learn more

Competitive external grants and fellowships provide valuable financial support, and the prestige associated with these awards can boost the career of graduate students and post doctoral students. Events offered by OPD teach graduate students and post doctoral students tips and tools to strategically search for relevant funding and help participants craft competitive, cohesive funding proposals.

Learn more

Graduate school and postdoctoral training are both rewarding and challenging, and everyone needs support to make their time productive and positive. OPD offers programs to support resiliency, increase productivity, and strengthen interpersonal skills in a supportive, peer-based environment.

Learn more

Many of our graduate students and post doctoral students serve the UMass community in the classroom and in the laboratory, as teaching assistants and solo instructors. In addition to supporting those teaching right now, OPD also helps prepare graduate students and postdocs for careers as teachers.

Four annual dissertation-writing retreats offer grad student participants time to write and develop effective writing strategies alongside fellow dissertators.

A flagship event for the Graduate School, the Three Minute Thesis challenges students to communicate to a general audience what they do, how they do it, and why it matters, all in three minutes or less.

OPD offers about 400 events per year. Our extensive programming—created in collaboration with a far-reaching network of partners—prepares participants to thrive in academia, industry, government, and the non-profit sector.

At the start of each fall semester, you are invited to our series of teaching workshops, on topics like inclusive classrooms, active learning, preparing for class, ungrading, getting your students to discuss and write, and more! There will be something for everyone, from new TAs to experienced instructors.

Many faculty enjoy rewarding careers at colleges and universities that primarily emphasize teaching, including liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and regional comprehensive universities. This free annual one-day regional conference brings together graduate students, postdocs, and faculty to discuss what it’s like to work at teaching-intensive institutions and how to apply for these faculty positions. Graduate students and postdocs will engage with faculty and deans from a range of teaching-intensive institutions across the New England region through a series of talks, panel presentations, and networking opportunities. 

Contact Information

Please contact or (413) 545-6001 for general office inquiries or if you would like to request a session for your department or student organization.