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What's offered... for Students

You came to UMass Chan to develop your research skills and knowledge. To succeed in science—as a trainee and in your future career—you will need a host of professional skills and to be able to navigate your own career advancement. We are here to support you in these goals.

Career planning and professional development are at the heart of graduate training at UMass Chan. We take a unique approach by embedding career planning and professional skills directly into the curriculum for all students. As a result, proactive PhD career planning is part of the culture of our campus.

Tailored to specific programs

  • Lessons within the required curriculum for students in the BBS PhD (Basic Biomedical Sciences) umbrella program (more detail here)
    • In the first year:  dissecting a research paper with purpose, writing a research proposal, presenting science, selecting rotations, and transitioning into a new research group.
    • In the second year: writing a research proposal and orally presenting the proposal, in preparation for the qualifying exam and writing research fellowships.
    • In the third and fourth year: 
      • Professionalism and Research Conduct course (PARC; BBS601), including responsible conduct of research, maximizing mentorship (including engaging with your research advisor, thesis research advisory committee (TRAC), and external or internal career-specific mentors), exploring career options, expanding and enhancing your professional network, and career/research planning via an Individual Development Plan. 
      • Career Pathways Communities: In 3rd and 4th year, students participate in a small-group Community themed around a career pathways category of interest (one Community in Spring of 3rd year, and a different Community in Fall of 4th year)
    • In the third and subsequent years:
  • Lessons for PhD students in the PHS program
    • Workshops are tailored each year to the needs of PHS students
  • Lessons for MD/PhD students
    • During the PhD phase, MD/PhD students in the BBS track participate in PARC and create IDPs (see above), with specific exercises and break-out groups focused on needs of MD/PhD students
    • For MD/PhD students in the PHS track, we work with the PHS program to tailor career planning workshops to student needs
    • The MD/PhD program provides multiple other structures to support MD/PhD student professional development

Resources and services for all students

  • Deep-dive professional skills workshops offered periodically, on topics such as presentation skills, communication and leadership skills, writing skills, designing figures, developing a network, and navigating a job search. For example, the 4-part "academic job search series" is offered annually each summer.

Additional resources

  • Office for Postdoctoral Scholars events and resources
  • Company site visits, organized by the student/postdoctoral initiative Industry Exploration (IndEx) program
  • MassTERi eClub events organized by trainees to learn the basics of entrepreneurship and network with successful academic entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, legal professionals and business people
  • Request to reserve the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences office conference room for a phone, online, or in-person interview or career-related meeting (tele- and video- conference equipment available); this service may be temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19 pandemic

Providing feedback

We value your input and feedback. We are rigorously evaluating our programs to identify best practices, measure outcomes and impact, and understand unintended consequences.  We appreciate your contributions to this effort, and welcome your feedback.