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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 more than 300 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.

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.