Professional Development and Career Strategy

Approach your professional development as an integral part of your time in graduate school. The skills you gain in your department—research, teaching, mentoring—will be enhanced by training in areas like leadership and communications, which will serve you well, whether you ultimately work inside or outside of the academy.

A view inside the Humanities Quadrangle that highlights the arched ceiling and play of light in the foyer.

We promote an intentional approach to professional development, one that begins with the first year of your PhD and continues to evolve as you build knowledge and shape your scholarly and professional identity. Being intentional about your pathway through the PhD allows you to recognize your own agency in the process and to periodically assess where you are, noticing gaps and new interests, and getting targeted training. Spending time on your professional development will make you more successful during graduate school and better prepared for the job search. We encourage you to think about diverse career outcomes and to see professional development training as useful across many possible jobs, inside and outside of the academy.

As you chart your course, take advantage of the resources Yale has to offer.  Join a workshop series on leadership, communication, or project management; develop mentoring skills; or prepare for the job market through workshops on scholarly profile, job market materials, and interviewing skills. Search for professional development and career strategy workshops on Yale Connect.  Consider having a one-on-one consultation about your professional development and job search readiness.

  • For a consultation with GSAS Assistant Dean of Professional Development Suzanne Young, sign up here.
  • For a consultation with Office of Career Strategy Advisers Hyun Ja Shin and Jacob Gonzalez, sign up here.


Internships that fit into your PhD schedule are a good way to explore alternative academic paths and careers outside the academy. These internships are designed to be low-intensive experiences; they take 5-7 hours per week, helping you to hone your professional skills and build networks.

GSAS Professional Experience (GPE) Fellowship

The GPE Fellowship is designed to help you strengthen your professional skills and broaden career exposure by working with experienced administrators outside of your academic programs. Host offices across Yale offer mentored experiences that help you develop your skills in strategic planning, research, project management, program design, communications, data analysis, and more. 

Learn more about the GPE.

Yale Graduate Impact (YGI) Fellowship

The YGI Fellowship is open to humanities PhD students who wish to pursue external work experiences related to their academic research at organizations outside of Yale. As a YGI fellow, you will develop key professional skills and gain work experience while furthering your scholarly goals. The program provides funding for positions that would otherwise be unpaid. You design your own position in conversation with outside organizations, such as museums, presses, and nonprofits.

Learn more about the YGI.

Additional Resources

Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

The 3-Minute Thesis competition challenges Yale PhD students to describe their thesis clearly and persuasively to a broad audience – in 3 minutes! Create a professional asset that is just as critical for academic conferences and job talks as it is for a job search outside of the academy.

Poorvu Center: Teaching Development and Initiatives

The Teaching Development and Initiatives team provides opportunities for you to develop your pedagogical skills while you're here at Yale and as you prepare to teach at other institutions. You can earn a certificate that affirms your expertise, join in community with other graduate teachers, and compete for an opportunity to develop your own course alongside a faculty member. PhD students are also eligible to become McDougal Graduate Teaching Fellows, in which position you can further develop your teaching by facilitating workshops for your fellow graduate students and postdocs.

Digital Humanities (DH) Lab

The Digital Humanities Lab (DHLab) is uniquely positioned to support graduate student professional development through its programs. The DH Certificate allows you to complete coursework, training, and project work to demonstrate digital humanities competencies. The DH Dissertation Fellowship provides a stipend, space, community, mentorship, and mini-grant funding for students building a digital dissertation component.

Poorvu Center: Graduate Writing Lab

The Poorvu Center’s Graduate Writing Lab supports Yale graduate students in all aspects of written, oral, and visual communication. You can discuss a draft with a GWL Fellow in a 1–1 writing consultation; write with other graduate students at an All Write or Retreat; or join a peer-review group to give and receive support as you make progress on your dissertation, prospectus, or fellowship application. The GWL also offers over 100 workshops per year and a suite of public speaking programs. Alongside these resources, the GWL strives to promote a culture among graduate students that centers writing as a process of developing, refining, and disseminating knowledge, nurtured within a supportive community of scholars.

Yale Library Workshops

Yale Library offers workshops and events on a range of subjects that allow you to familiarize yourself with the library's resources and support your use of scholarly tools and online platforms. Workshop topics include: getting started with Zotero; syncing your online bibliography; cleaning messy data using Excel; literature searching; using LaTex; and curating your online scholarly profile. Workshops are sequenced to support every level of familiarity with scholarly tools, from beginner to proficient.

Contact us