Professional development

The VCU Graduate School Professional Development Office provides a full range of training opportunities, research and grant-related workshops, well-being, and career support, as well as other events curated to empower and support graduate students as they pursue their academic and professional goals. Through our programming, we aim to ensure that all VCU graduate students are equipped with the necessary foundational skills to succeed as transformative and innovative leaders in their respective career spaces. Our mission is to prepare graduate students for academic and professional success.


The Graduate School is committed to ensuring that students have a broad support network of mentors and professionals to assist with career development and advancement. Throughout the year, several interactive workshops will be conducted to assist graduate students at all levels with developing a mentoring network. All mentoring professional development opportunities are free and available for registration through the Graduate School Rams Connect page.

Opportunities for Research Presentations

The Three Minute Thesis Competition and Graduate Research Symposium are research presentation opportunities sponsored by the Graduate School that provide students with opportunities to share their research with the broader VCU community. Students are encouraged to use these university-wide events to gain experiences with sharing their research, presenting, and public speaking.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Support

Throughout the year, the Graduate School provides ongoing support and resources for students serving as Graduate Teaching Assistants. This includes an orientation at the beginning of the fall semester which partners with the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity and Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity to ensure all graduate students serving in a teaching capacity understand their roles and responsibilities. Additional workshops on inclusive teaching, best practices, and critical reflection occur throughout the year. Students can register for these free sessions through the Graduate School Rams Connect page.

Preparing Future Faculty Program

The Preparing Future Faculty Program offers a series of short courses and professional development opportunities for graduate students interested in pursuing careers in higher education.

Leaders and Entrepreneurs Academy

The Leaders and Entrepreneurs Academy for Professional Development offers a series of short courses and experiences to assist graduate students seeking careers in industry, nonprofit organizations, health care, public service and government.

Graduate Credential of Completion in Qualitative Research

To meet growing demand for well-trained qualitative researchers, both nationally and internationally, the VCU Graduate Credential of Completion in Qualitative Research recognizes doctoral students who pursue an advanced course of study in qualitative research methods.

The GCCQR requires that VCU doctoral students in good standing complete 12 hours of course work in qualitative research methods, including a 3-credit introductory course and 9 credits of an advanced course. This is a great opportunity for doctoral students who plan to do a qualitative or mixed-methods dissertation.

Define your career goals

The American Association for the Advancement of Science offers a free tool for students to use to assist you in creating development plans to determine your career goals. myIDP is web-based and tailored to meet the needs of Ph.D. students. It offers exercises to identify your skills and interests, pathways to help match your identified skills and interests with careers, goal setting and resources to guide you along the way.