Professional Development

GPS

Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) Program

The Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) program, an initiative of the School of Graduate Studies, is designed to help all graduate students become fully prepared for their future.

GPS focuses on skills beyond those conventionally learned within a disciplinary program, skills that may be critical to success in the wide range of careers that graduates enter, both within and outside academe.

The program can help you to communicate better, plan and manage your time, learn entrepreneurial skills, understand and apply ethical practices, and work effectively in teams and as leaders.

GPS consists of a range of optional "offerings" with a time commitment roughly equivalent to 60 hours of work. Its successful completion will be recognized by a transcript notation.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for GPS Program updates.

Getting Started

To register for GPS, please visit our GPS Blackboard Community.

  1. Log in to the U of T Portal
  2. Click on the "Community" tab
  3. Under "Organization Search," type "graduate professional skills"
  4. When the GPS group appears at the bottom of the page, click on the "Enrol" box in the right column
  5. Click "Submit" at the bottom of the next page.

Upcoming Offerings

GPS offerings are delivered by both program partners and by the School of Graduate Studies. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for upcoming offerings. Additional offerings can be found in the List of GPS Offerings by Skill Area tab.

Links to GPS Offerings by Skill Area

GPS offerings consist of co-curricular courses, workshops, seminars, and placements offered by various units throughout U of T. You may enrol in GPS offerings from the four following skill areas:

Communication Skills Link

Critical to almost any career is an ability to communicate effectively, concisely, and correctly in written, spoken, and visual forms to a variety of audiences using a wide range of media. Effective communication depends on a variety of interpersonal skills including listening, assertiveness, influence, persuasion, empathy, sensitivity, and diplomacy. Skills also include effective use of body language and other forms of non-verbal communication.

Personal Effectiveness Skills Link

Successful graduates can engage in meaningful reflection about the place of their discipline in the world, and where and how they fit in it. This area will help you gain a keen sense of self-awareness of personal and intellectual strengths. You should be able to reassess your positions, values, and future plans in light of your life experience and critical self-analysis, enabling you to achieve an appropriate life/work balance, to deal effectively with challenging situations and challenging people.

Teaching Competency Link

This area covers not only conventional "classroom" teaching, but any situation where you need to explain complex concepts related to your discipline and to provide clear and explicit instructions facilitating others' understanding and learning.

Research-Related Skills Link

Offerings here will assist you to manage the environment in which research is being done for the purpose of seeking new knowledge and the adaptation of that knowledge for practical use. You should learn suitable organizational skills and an appropriate knowledge of financial management, people management, and project management. Entrepreneurial skills and knowledge of ethical behaviour are also relevant, as is an understanding of intellectual property issues.   

Completing GPS

Completion of GPS is roughly equivalent to one-half of a full academic course in time commitment. Your successful completion of GPS will be recognized by a notation on your transcript.

To complete GPS, you'll be required to complete a total of 20 GPS Credits as follows:

1) A minimum of 5 GPS Credits in each of three out of the four following skill areas:

Communication and interpersonal skills
Personal effectiveness
Teaching competence
Research-related skills

2) 5 additional GPS Credits in any skill areas

Further information on GPS completion is available in the GPS Blackboard Community. Email completed tracking form to liam.oleary@utoronto.ca or GPD@utoronto.ca.

Program Partners

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I participate in GPS?

GPS will provide you with skills beyond those conventionally learned within your disciplinary program. The program will help you develop other skills critical to success in the wide range of careers that you may enter, and help you adjust to the changing requirements of a career in academe. GPS will equip you to communicate effectively, plan and manage your time, be entrepreneurial, understand and apply ethical practices, and work effectively in teams and become leaders.

2. Who can participate in GPS?

GPS is designed for all graduate students.

3. Is there a fee for participating in GPS?

While there is no fee for registering in the GPS program, some of the individual GPS offerings have a small charge. For complete details, visit the GPS Blackboard Community.

4. I completed a GPS offering prior to registering for the program. Can I claim GPS Credits retroactively?

Students who completed GPS offerings prior to May 2009 may apply for retroactive credit, provided (1) the offering has not changed in any substantial way and (2) the program partner can confirm that the student has completed the offering. Retroactive credit will only be approved if the offering was completed in the context of a student's current program of study.

5. I went to a workshop that seems relevant, but wasn't listed as a GPS Offering. Can this be counted toward GPS completion?

A workshop cannot be counted toward GPS completion unless it is listed under GPS Offerings. If you have suggestions for workshops that should be included in GPS, please submit them to liam.oleary@utoronto.ca

6. How do I apply for GPS completion?

Apply for GPS completion by downloading and submitting the appropriate form from the Completing GPS section of the GPS Blackboard Community.  Email the completed form to liam.oleary@utoronto.ca.

Contact

Liam O'Leary
Graduate Programming Coordinator
Grad Room
66 Harbord Street
University of Toronto M5S 1A1
Tel: 416-946-3497 Fax: 416-946-0831
liam.oleary@utoronto.ca

 

Mitacs Research Program

Mitacs is a national research organization offering unique research and training programs to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Canada. 

Mitacs programs include:

Mitacs Accelerate

Canada's premier research internship program. It connects graduate students and postdocs with companies through short-term research projects. Interns apply their specialized expertise to business research challenges and transfer their skills from theory to real-world application.

Mitacs Elevate

Provides a foundation of cutting-edge research, business, entrepreneurship, and scientific management skills to newly minted PhDs. Through Mitacs Elevate, new PhDs create and lead a major industrial research project while establishing vital connections within the local business community.

Mitacs Step

Provides business-ready skills to up-and-coming researchers. Mitacs Step trains graduate students and postdocs in essential interpersonal, project management, and entrepreneurial skills required to succeed in their future career.

For more information, please contact your local business development representative.