Graduate Professional Development (GPD)

Graduate professional development (GPD) is competency or skills-based training that is complementary to the discipline-based graduate coursework and research required for a master’s or doctoral degree.

GPD helps students succeed in graduate school and prepares them for a wide range of employment opportunities. Below are a number of offerings from the School of Graduate Studies.

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 contains over 100 free and optional professional development courses, workshops, and seminars. The program will help you communicate better, plan and manage your time, and work effectively in teams and as leaders. 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition

​The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is open to graduate students who are doing a major research project. Participants have three minutes or less to present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges, and competitions are held at local, provincial, and national levels. The challenge is to present complex research information in an engaging, accessible, and compelling way. 

SGS Summer Institute

The Summer Institute offers an intensive professional development experience over summer months for busy and ambitious graduate students. This year, we focus on arts-based approaches and design thinking. All workshops are accredited by the GPS program.

Opening Doors & Creating Careers

​​As recent higher education and employment trends have shown, graduate students across all disciplines are entering a wide variety of careers outside of the ivory tower but still face challenges in making the transition. In order to meet these challenges, the School of Graduate Studies presents a series of panel discussions from professionals who will share their career narratives and answer questions. Following the career panel, there is a general networking reception that allows graduate students and professionals to exchange contact information, business cards, ideas, strategies, and to forge new career possibilities.

Innovation Fund

The SGS Innovation in Graduate Professional Development Fund offers up to $1,000 to successful proposals of new or expanded Graduate Professional Development initiatives. Learn how to apply and download the budget spreadsheet and application.

Grad Room ​Co-working Space

Grad Room is a co-working space for graduate students to get involved in graduate life, build a community of graduate scholars, and learn and practice new skills. Drop in and speak with one of our Community Animators. Grad Room is your inclusive graduate student space on the St. George campus. Visit our online calendar to see our daily events. 

Graduate Speaker Series

The Graduate Speaker Series is a monthly event held at Grad Room. We invite graduate students from all departments of the University of Toronto to discuss their research and ideas in an environment that encourages interdisciplinary learning and intellectual dialogue. 

Coaching Sessions​

Coaching is the process of partnering with a client in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. In the context of Grad School, coaching is about exploring new ways of working, and connecting to resources and communities that can propel you forward. Design a graduate experience that works for you by booking a 30-minute coaching session with Liam O’Leary. Together we will explore strengths and identify resources that can help you be your best.

Customized Workshops in Departments & Faculties

Would you like to offer a customized professional development session for your class or student group? Previous professional development topics have included: 

  • Phases of Group Development
  • Conflict Management
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 
  • Strength Finder Assessments 
  • Making the Most of Graduate School 
  • Managing Your Time
  • How to Design an Individual Development Plan (IDP)
  • Introduction to Solution-Focused Coaching
  • Transitioning to a New Role
  • Networks and Networking
  • Introduction to Narrative Coaching
  • Exploring PhD Career Pathways with the 10,000 PhD Project
  • Using Design Thinking to ​Design Your Life


Liam O’Leary
Graduate Programming Coordinator​​