Build Experience and Prepare for Academic Careers

This section provides an overview of the process of planning for an academic career, the major skill areas and competencies required in academic careers and how to enhance your value to academic employers to become a competitive candidate.

Contents of this section includes:

  • An overview of academic careers and the process of building yours
  • Tips on building effective working relationships with your supervisor
  • Information on getting published, developing teaching skills and other ways to build professional skills needed for academic careers

Overview of Academic Careers

Working with your Supervisor

It has been said that a graduate student’s relationship with their Supervisor is a major factor in their academic success and an important determinant of the quality of their educational experience. The following articles contain information about supervision and how to get the most out of the relationship.

ABCs of Publication

“Publish or perish!” The old adage applies equally well to would-be professors and researchers as to those in established academic careers. Find out how to negotiate the world of journals and peer reviews to thrive as a published researcher.

Teaching Skills

Anyone contemplating a career in academia must develop and document solid teaching skills. Here are some great resources to build yours.

Graduate Professional Skills

The Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) program, an initiative from University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies, is designed to help all graduate students become fully prepared for their future. GPS focuses on skills beyond those conventionally learned within a disciplinary program - skills that may be critical to success in the wide range of careers that graduates enter, both within and outside academe. The program can help you to communicate better, plan and manage your time, learn entrepreneurial skills, understand and apply ethical practices, and work effectively in teams and as leaders. GPS consists of a range of optional “offerings” with a time commitment roughly equivalent to 60 hours of work. Its successful completion will be recognized by a transcript notation (although completion is not mandatory). Course offerings in the following areas are available: Communication, Personal Effectiveness, Teaching Competence, and Research-Related Skills​. 

Continuing Studies Options for Professional Development

Although primarily geared towards those seeking careers outside of academia, the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies has many offerings, some of which may be applicable to academic careers as well.

Next Step: Networking and Developing Your Presence