Graduate School / Academic & Career Support

Academic & Career Support

Expand Your Career Pathways

The Graduate School is here to ensure that you have access to the resources and support you need to develop skills that prepare you for a 21st-century career

How does the Graduate School promote academic and professional development?  

  • Using the Individual Development Plan (IDP) as a graduate school roadmap
  • Academic consultations and workshops
  • Comprehensive online programming for every phase of your graduate education
  • Digital badges and microcredentials for future employers
  • Tools to explore careers in academia and beyond

Start with an Individual Development Plan (IDP)

You won't get your dream job without a plan. The IDP is the roadmap and networking tool for your graduate education.

Making an IDP is the best way to:

  • Thoughtfully assess your skills and find tools to learn them
  • Identify long-term professional goals
  • Work with your advisors and mentors to track your progress

Learn more and download an Individual Development Plan (IDP) template

Graduate Eduacation Resources (GEAR)

To complement in-person events and workshops, the Graduate School gives you GEAR (Graduate EduAtion Resources). The online tools in GEAR focus on every phase of your academic and professional development.

  • GEAR 1 is an online orientation for all incoming UMN graduate students. GEAR 1 focuses on the University structure, clarifies academic expectations, mental health resources, imposter syndrome, and explains 'Minnesota Nice'. 
  • GEAR+ focuses on every phase of graduate school beyond the first year. GEAR+ promotes using an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to focus on skills assessment, the thesis/dissertation process, and career exploration. 

Explore GEAR now

Academic and Career Support Programming

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Components for a better graduate education

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Academic and Professional Development Workshops

Workshops and events serve as the gateway to skills development. The Graduate School partners with several University offices to provide opportunities to real-world career advice. Workshops and events can be in person, online, synchronous, or asynchronous. 

Earn Digital Badges

Digital badges certify and validate your specialized skills and training. Through your badges, future employers can learn key details about the content of your training and experience. 

Explore online programming from campus partners

As a graduate student, you have free access and memberships for resources and training from many different University partners. 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

The 3-Minute Thesis (3MT®) challenges students to communicate the significance of their projects without the use of props or industry jargon, in just three minutes. The competition develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and help students' learn to quickly explain their research to a non-specialist audience leaving them wanting to know more.

Public and Community Engaged Research

The Graduate School collaborates with multiple University units and academic departments to support graduate students interested in pursuing research or projects that engage with communities within and beyond the Twin Cities area. 


Career Exploration

As a graduate student, you are surrounded by career support from your college, department, and/or program. And, along with the Individual Development Plan (IDP) and GEAR, the Graduate School collaborates with University partners to bring you a variety of career exploration guidance. 

As a graduate student, you can register to the following resources for free

pd.education is an online portal affiliated with the University of Minnesota that provides graduate students with support in specialized skills like academic writing, research methodologies, and wellness and motivation. 

Beyond the Professoriate is a professional development e-learning platform affiliated with the University of Minnesota. Beyond the Professoriate is a mission-driven organization of PhDs who want to empower graduate students and postdocs to launch meaningful careers. 

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) is a website with on-demand access to the mentoring, tools, and support graduate students to be successful in the Academy. 

ImaginePhD is a free online career exploration and planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral humanities and social sciences. 

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