Programs + Opportunities


For more information about our professional development programs and opportunities, email

Seminar Series

Every year the Office of Graduate Education, in collaboration with the School of Graduate Studies, sponsors a graduate student career development seminar series. The goal of this seminar series is to help develop you to develop into the best professional you can be. Topics include:

  • Identify and utilizing your strengths
  • Preparing professional school applications
  • Time management
  • Interviewing skills


Clinical Inquiry Classes

These courses, offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, build on our medical school's highly recognized system for learning clinical skills as well as achieving growth in professional skills. These courses are targeted to pre-med students and help prepare you to be a strong applicant to medical school as well as an exceptional medical student by reviewing MCAT topics in clinical context, getting an introduction to fields such as bioethics and public health, all while building teamwork and leadership skills.

The Career Opportunities for Trainees Series (COTS)

This professional development series is designed to introduce trainees to the array of career paths that are available to PhD biomedical researchers. Local, regional, and national leaders as speakers or panel discussants are invited to present each semester. Presentations include information on the speaker’s career trajectory, their daily activities, and a description of additional training necessary for entering each career path. Major advantages and disadvantages of the career choice are also discussed. These sessions are often followed by an informal networking event allowing trainees to interact with the speaker and each other in a more informal setting.

The Professional Enrichment for Trainees Series (PETS)

The SOM Graduate Education Office hosts the PETS which focuses on developing core competencies of leadership, entrepreneurship, communication skills, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, teamwork and other key areas. This noon luncheon series is held monthly, together with the COTS (described below), for all graduate students and postdoctoral trainees in the SOM, though it often attracts participants from across the entire campus.  The format is generally a presentation by faculty experts or a panel discussion among several faculty.  A large emphasis is placed on audience discussion and participation throughout the session.

EnRICH Program

The Enhancing Research and Industry Career Horizons Program (EnRICH) provides career guidance and support to PhD and Master’s students pursuing biomedical science degrees and simultaneously develops partnerships with organizations and mentors who recognize the skills of such students. A mentor and student spend time together for a paid or non-paid work or exposure experience that is beneficial to both the employer and student. The time frame and duration of the experience is flexible where the mentor and student agree on the duration of the work experience and to an hourly and weekly work schedule.

ExTEnD Program

The Expanding Teaching Experiences for Doctoral Students (ExTEnD) Program open to all doctoral students at the CWRU School of Medicine, provides a pathway for our PhD students to get formal experience in teaching at the university or college level by providing training and experiences in post-secondary education. Students in this program complete program complete a one-semester, seminar-style course taught by Educational Student Services to learn the basics of curricular design, development, and delivery.  They are required to complete at least two significant teaching experiences such as guest lecturing at least 5 class hours, co-teaching a course at CWRU or another accredited university, facilitating small group sessions for certain approved courses, and other teaching experiences as approved by the Director.  They ExTEnD students are required to obtain feedback their students after each each teaching experience. Students completing program requirements will get a formal letter from the program director stating their completion of the program as well as experiences gained and feedback received as part of the program. For more information about the ExTEnD Program, email

The Career Networking Panel Discussion and Career Options Dinner

This annual event brings trainees together with numerous PhD scientists that are leaders in a variety of career paths to interact with them on more intimate, informal basis. The agenda for the event includes; 1) a Panel Discussion on PhD career options combining science, business, management, and entrepreneurship; 2) a speed networking event where trainees and participants could meet and interact; and 3) a table topic dinner where trainees dined with faculty and PhD industry leaders in a variety of different leadership positions and professions. Individual tables were hosted by each leader and included topics such careers in industry, start-ups, biotech, teaching-intensive institutions, consulting, patent law, scientific writing, research administration, and others.

The GSS Personal and Professional Skills Development Conferences

The Graduate Student Council Professional Development Committee hosts this biannual conference series in January and May of each year. These full-day conferences are organized entirely by graduate students at CWRU for all predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees across the campus. Panel discussions and presentations include topics such as Careers Abroad, Careers in Tech Transfer, and PhD careers in non-academic environments. Presentations and Q&A sessions on topics such as IDPs, building extended mentoring networks, improving presentation skills, effective communication skills, job interview skills, emotional intelligence & leadership skills, stress management, conflict resolution, overcoming unconscious bias, and others.

The Academic Job Search Series for Graduate and Postdoctoral Students Panel

This annual panel discussion series is organized by the School of Graduate Studies and includes three 90 minute sessions that are held in January-March of each year. The session topics are:

  1. Behind the Scenes with the Search Committee: The Academic Application Process. In this session, a faculty panel discusses the faculty recruitment process from the search committee’s perspective. Topics include what the search committee looks for in application documents (CV, cover letter, research/teaching statements), the screening process, and selecting candidates to interview.
  2. The Academic Interview: Here, a panel of newly hired faculty members discuss the interview process for faculty jobs, including the campus visit, the job talk/chalk talk, and typical interview questions.
  3. Negotiating the Academic Job Offer: In this session, a panel of faculty members will discuss the negotiation process. Questions include: What does a typical start-up package look like? How much can you negotiate it, and how can you provide justification for asking for more? How much grant money are you expected to bring if you get hired? What are some common pitfalls in the negotiation process?