Graduate College

Preparing Future Scholars

Are you interested in exploring career options outside of academia? Preparing Future Scholars (PFS) is a new interdisciplinary professional development program for graduate students. This one-year (fall and spring semester) course will help develop the skills you need in the 21st century workplace.

Get an insider’s perspective from distinguished leaders of industry, government and non-profit sectors. Learn and communicate with peers across disciplines. PFS will create a holistic learning community with interdisciplinary and career development skills for diverse employment sectors. 

Admission to PFS is limited and requires the approval of the student's advisor or graduate program faculty director and the completion of one year (by the start of the fall semester) of the doctorate or MFA program. It is a two-credit course (one credit per semester).

To apply, complete the Professional Development Course Application at least one week prior to the start of the fall semester, and follow the instructions on the form to submit. 

Need more information on the PFS course and can’t attend an information session?  Review the PFF/PFS Presentation.

The course

The goal of the Preparing Future Scholars (PFS) program is:

  • to provide students with a basic understanding of the many facets and expectations of various employment sectors
  • to bridge pedagogy with career development skills, including soft skills such as public speaking, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication that will span across disciplines and employment sectors.

PFS is designed to develop and hone skills to be successful in your desired career field. Through seminars and assignments, you will:

  1. Begin to explore what is expected of new employees in different types of employment sectors and identify the core skillset among employment sectors
  2. Initiate the process of determining what type of position is most in line with your strengths and interests and develop a plan for successfully landing a job
  3. Ensure your skills are transferable and practice what it will take to achieve success in your desired career


Seminars will be held every other Friday.  Topics will include:

  • career paths
  • communication and communicating beyond your discipline
  • interviewing and the interview process
  • learning to network and the “elevator speech”
  • negotiating a job offer
  • search committee perspectives on the hiring process
  • self-development plan
  • thinking like entrepreneurs
  • what employers are looking for
  • work/life balance

Resume preparation

Students attend a workshop on preparing a resume, then create/edit the resume, seek feedback from two professional mentors, and revise to reflect recommended changes.

Professional development

Students also complete professional development workshops throughout the year to better prepare for the job search or to improve in an area that will make them more marketable.

Applying to PFS

Students interested in applying for admission to the Preparing Future Scholars program must meet the following conditions:

Graduate student eligibility:

  1. pursuing a terminal degree, doctoral or MFA, at ASU
  2. enrolled and actively engaged in degree program during PFS participation
  3. interested in exploring a nonacademic career path and engaging in conversation about the value of research in multiple context

Postdoctoral scholar (postdoc) eligibility:

  1. current postdoc appointment at ASU
  2. approval of postdoc supervisor

Application process

Submit the following as one document to

  1. course application form
  2. statement of purpose: provide a detailed personal statement that includes
     -  your career goals (e.g. educational and career aspirations and plans after ASU, desirable future jobs)
     -  statement of interest in the PFS program (relevant knowledge/skills expected)
  3. current resume or CV (two page maximum)

Program contact

Dr. Jennifer Cason, Director of Graduate Support Initiatives,