New Graduate Student Professional Development Certificate Program

In an effort to further serve graduate students, the University of Memphis Graduate School has worked with the Graduate Student Association to launch a new non-credit certificate program to enhance the professional development of its master and doctoral students. It is a response to the fact that a growing percentage of master and doctoral students are now sought out by industry, start-ups, governments, and the non-profit sector upon graduation rather than primarily moving on into academic research and teaching careers as in the past. The Interim Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, noted that “while most doctoral programs focus on preparing students for academic research careers, we are seeing that in many academic disciplines more than 70% of research students go on to careers outside academia. In support of this trend, we have a responsibility to ensure that our graduates are the most professional and innovative in the country to enhance their future success in all sectors.”

The certificate program, which will allow graduating students to stand out in the hiring marketplace, is built around a seminar series focused on topics such as the following:

1) Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking
2) Career Development for Changing Times: “The New Job Search”
3) Personal Branding and Social Networking
4) Teamwork and Negotiation Skills
5) Dissertation/Thesis Workshop and How to Publish Primer
6) Ethics and Interpersonal Relationships
7) Pedagogy and Public Speaking

The program is offered free to all graduate students on a first-come-first-serve registration basis with those completing six of the eight seminar options receiving a completion certificate from the Graduate School.

Graduate students have responded strongly to the opportunity. The first seminar on “Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking” filled up on the first day and the second on the “New Job Search” was filled within the first hour on its launch last week. Participation in the program is also helping foster closer personal links within the university’s community of graduate students as they come from across campus from diverse programs to interact and professionalize together.

More information can be obtained from Ms. Kaitlin Duckett, President of the Graduate Student Association ( and Dr. James Kierulff, Interim Director of Graduate Student Services at the Graduate School (

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