Academic Professional Program
Earn your professional certificate
The Academic Professional Program offers PhD students and postdoctoral scholars at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability the opportunity to develop and expand their toolkit as professionals. Focused on 5 key professional competencies for career readiness, the professional program provides a framework to learn new skills, get practical experience, and produce portfolio pieces that will broaden graduate student and postdoc professional preparedness for any career.
The Academic Professional Program connects students to the robust existing professional development programming offered to graduate students and postdocs. The Doerr school also runs a number of sustainability-tailored workshops, seminars, and trainings focused on the professional development needs of our students in their preparation for tackling global climate challenges. Students and postdocs spend 40 hours building skill sets within each pillar. The certificate’s structure encourages students to prepare for their professional future with a balanced, holistic approach. The experiential component of each pillar produces actual pieces for their professional portfolio.
The 5 key professional competencies are: teaching & mentoring, writing & public speaking, career education, leadership & collaboration, and diversity, equity, & inclusion. These professional competencies come from extensive review of published papers, professional societies, peer institutions and our own Stanford VPGE Grad Grow framework.
Each pillar is composed of 3 components: education, experience, and a piece to be incorporated into your professional portfolio.
The basis for the educational and experiential components of each competency area will come from professional programs, workshops, and courses offered through the School of Sustainability's departments, programs, and Dean's office offerings as well as programs from the office of postdoctoral affairs (OPA), the office of the vice provost for graduate education (VPGE), the career education center (CareerEd), the center for teaching and learning (CTL), the grant writing academy (GWA), the HUME center for writing and speaking, and other campus affiliates.
To learn more about what types of educational opportunities and experiential activities are available, read through the “Education” and “Experience” section of each pillar’s page (teaching & mentoring, writing & public speaking, career education, leadership & collaboration, and diversity, equity, & inclusion).
The portfolio piece(s) for each pillar will be created to demonstrate the mastery acquired in the educational and experiential portion of each pillar. The specific content of the portfolio piece(s) should be determined by the needs of the student or postdoc individually and created, however, there are a number of ideas for what would make a successful portfolio piece listed in the “Portfolio Piece” section of each pillar’s page (teaching & mentoring, writing & public speaking, career education, leadership & collaboration, and diversity, equity, & inclusion).
Graduate students must dedicate a minimum of 40 total hours to each pillar: 10 hrs of educational experience, 25 hrs of practical experience, and 5 hours to complete a portfolio piece. In total, the program will take 200 hrs for a graduate student to complete and can be done in as little as two years, or spread out over their time here at Stanford.
Postdocs must dedicate a minimum of 20 total hours to each pillar: 5 hrs of educational experience, 10 hrs of practical experience, and 5 hours to complete a portfolio piece. In total, the program will take 100 hrs for a postdoc to complete and can be done in as little as a year, or spread out over their time here at Stanford.
To receive the certificate, students must submit a 1-page summary reflection, a completed program form that outlines the activities performed to satisfy the education and experiential element of each pillar, and their portfolio pieces for each of the 5 pillars. The 1-page summary reflection should describe how your professional toolkit has broadened across the 5 professional pillars and how your professional preparedness has evolved. Write specifically on how the pillars have intersected for you, and in what ways this program may have or have not helped prepare you for your next career steps. These submission pieces will be evaluated and either approved or returned with feedback for improvement. Upon approval students will receive a certificate of completion of the Academic Professional Program that can be noted on their CV.
Who's eligible? This program is specifically designed for PhD students and postdocs in the school. Co-terms and masters students are encouraged to take advantage of resources in this program, but the program requirements will be difficult to complete in the time you are here.
Get started now by submitting this registration form. You can register at any time, and activities you perform while at Stanford but before registering can still count towards this program.
Document your progress and completion of the program on this form. The completed form is part of your program assessment.
Sample completed program form
Please reference this sample completed form to ensure you are incorporating all required information.
As you complete each pillar, track your progress. Once you have completed all of the requirements, you will submit your final portfolio pieces and reflection statement.