Professional Development Graduate Scholarship


Complete applications, inclusive of recommendation letters, are due by 11:59pm on December 1, 2023 for professional development activities taking place between January 1, 2024 and June 30, 2024.

Complete applications, inclusive of recommendation letters, are due by 11:59pm on June 1, 2024 for professional development activities taking place between July 1, 2024 and December 31, 2024.


Funded by the Division of Graduate Studies and, in part, by the Gary E. Smith Foundation, this award is designed to support outstanding graduate students pursuing activities that would enhance the skills, knowledge, and abilities beyond their academic coursework and research, preparing them for post-graduation careers and increasing their overall employability and success in their chosen fields.

Key elements of graduate student professional development may include:

  • Skill Development: workshops, seminars, and training sessions to develop skills that are transferable and valuable in various professional settings, but not usually offered by the academic program/department. These skills include communication, leadership, project management, teamwork, and problem-solving. 
  • Career Exploration: providing opportunities to explore potential career paths, industries, and job roles relevant and/or tangential to their academic disciplines. This could involve career fairs, networking events, and talks from professionals in different fields.
  • Research and Writing/Performance Support: assisting with improving research and writing/performance skills, which are crucial for publishing research papers, preparing theses or dissertations, performances or showcases.
  • Teaching and Mentorship: offering teaching and mentorship opportunities meant to help develop instructional abilities and gain experience as educators or mentors.
  • Networking and Collaboration: encouraging students to build professional networks within and beyond their academic community, connecting with researchers, industry professionals, and alumni.
  • Ethics and Responsible Conduct: opportunities providing guidance on ethical issues related to research or work, ensuring the understanding of principles of professional integrity and responsible conduct in their field.
  • Presentation and Public Speaking: opportunities to practice and improve presentation skills to different and diverse audiences.
  • Career Preparation: assisting students with resume/CV writing, interview skills, and job search strategies.

Graduate student professional development is aimed at empowering students to become well-rounded professionals, capable of thriving in relevant fields within industry, government, non-profit, and academia. 

Award Details

  • Up to $2,000 will be awarded to each student. Total available funds are limited each period.
  • Upon completion of the professional development opportunity, all awardees may receive a follow-up survey confirming the use of the funds and asking about their experience. The Division of Graduate Studies may use this information to improve future funding opportunities and/or feature awardees on their website or social media.

Eligibility and Criteria

  • Currently enrolled Master's, Doctoral and Law students.
  • Must be a full-time enrolled student at the time of distribution.
  • Must be enrolled in Fall term 2024 if applying for the award supporting professional development activities taking place between July 1, 2024 and December 31, 2024. The faculty advisor may be contacted for verification purposes in lieu of credit enrollment.

This award is not meant to support:

  • The completion of a course assignment.
  • The advancement of a student's progress towards graduation.
  • The completion of a program/degree requirement.
  • An internship or externship training program required to graduate, such as a terminal internship. 

Examples of professional development activities and expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Registration for, and travel to, a specialized/immersion training.
  • Registration for a writing workshop.
  • Networking opportunities at conferences.
  • Consultation or tutoring services related to writing for publication or statistics.
  • Purchase of unique and specialized materials needed to advance professional development.
  • ​Intensive language training not available at the UO.
  • Training or seminars related to the use of specialized lab equipment.
  • Unique performance techniques or new research methodologies.
  • Field or career-specific instructor/facilitator training or certifications.


Applicants must apply online. The online application includes:

  • A statement of 500 words or less summarizing your proposed professional development or training enrichment activities. The statement should explain why this is a unique opportunity and how it will advance your career goals.
  • A simple budget for your proposed activity.
  • Recommendations from 2 faculty members:
    • Enter recommenders' contact information on the application. They will receive an email with a link to provide their recommendations.
    • One letter from your primary faculty advisor.
    • One letter from another UO faculty member​.
    • The letters must evaluate the activity you proposed, and must address how this specific activity will contribute to your professional development.
    • Both letters must be received by the deadline date.

Fall Term Application coming soon

Note: Once you are logged in to the Scholarship Dashboard, hover over "Opportunities" and select "Specialty Awards" to find the Professional Development Graduate Scholarship. 

For more information, please contact the Division of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Students with Financial Aid
Receiving this award may reduce your financial aid award. Please contact the Financial Aid Office prior to applying for this (and any other type of) support.

You may apply for this award regardless of immigration status or work eligibility.