Graduate Theological Union

Professional Development

Doctoral Student Professional Development

Doctoral study at the Graduate Theological Union is a complex, enriching and challenging experience that has produced some of the most accomplished religious studies scholars in the world. The GTU’s consortial model and its relationship to the University of California, Berkeley give GTU students unparalleled access to religious studies and interdisciplinary scholarship.

Offered through GTU Student Affairs, the Professional Development Program helps doctoral students develop academic and non-academic skills that contribute to professional success. The PDP offers workshops throughout the year, a regular newsletter, and online resources that prepare students to be leaders in communities and the academy. PDP offerings fall into three categories: Scholarship and Research, Teaching, and Career Development. Our workshops include one-on-one feedback and practice sessions, and cover topics including academic CVs, teaching portfolios, job interviews, dissertation planning and writing, journal publication, teaching, and networking.

Program Streams—Professional Development offerings fall into three program categories:

  • Scholarship and Research Skills - Workshops and other events which support the enhancement of doctoral-level research, writing, and presentation skills.

  • Teaching Skills - Workshops and other events which support the development of teaching experience and expertise among doctoral students.

  • Career Development - Workshops and other events which help doctoral students to successfully enter the religious studies and theology professions.

The schedule for Professional Development Program workshops is repeated each semester. The Professional Development Program sends e-mails to all doctoral students announcing workshops and other related events. Workshops are open to all GTU doctoral students, students of GTU member schools and alumni. Limited space may be available for visitors. Registration is not required, and drop-in participation is welcome.


2013-2014 Events Schedule

N.B. The Professional Development Program Office will be closed from March 6th, 2014 until March 20th, 2014. Please check the calendar to see which workshops will be going forward. Questions may be directed to Kathleen Kook, Dean of Students.

Unless otherwise noted, all workshops are on Wednesdays, from 10am-1pm, in the GTU Student Lounge, 2465 LeConte, Berkeley, CA. Content presentation is from 10-11a; Discussion and consultation is from 11a-1p.


Week 1 - Sept 4/Feb 5 

  • Doctoral Council Orientation  - If you are planning to propose your dissertation the 2013-2014 or 2014-2015 academic year, you are strongly encouraged to attend this orientation. Please bring any draft copy of your proposal.
  • (Fall only) Service Learning Workshop (GTU Student Lounge) - If you are planning to attend the SAC co-sponsored Service Event, you are strongly encouraged to attend this workshop led by Dr. Erin Brigham (USF)

Week 2 - Sept 11/Feb 12 - Job Search 1

  • Special Guest - Dr. Darleen Pryds (Fall only)
  • CVs - (please bring a copy to work on)
  • online presence - LinkedIn, Academia, Facebook, etc.

Week 3 - Sept 18/Feb 19 - Teaching Portfolio 1

  • crafting a syllabus - in class, online, hybrid course - developing course goals

Week 4 - Sept 25/Feb 26 - Proposals and Writing 1 - From Ideas to Outlines

  • developing thesis statements
  • finding writing allies and putting together a committee
  • types of dissertations and articles

Week 5 - Oct 2/Mar 5 - Job Search 2

  • where to look for jobs
  • cover letters and application packages

Week 6 - Oct 9/Mar 12 - Teaching Portfolio 2

Mar 12 - SPECIAL WORKSHOP - Preparing for your Comps Proposal

  • a student-led panel representing serveral Areas will walk you through preparing for and successfully defending your special comps

Week 7 - Oct 16/Mar 19 - Proposals and Writing 2 - From Outlines to Pages

  • using thesis statements to keep writing
  • writing habits and time management
  • dissertation and conference proposals
  • PLEASE NOTE that this workshop is being offered via youtube video, and not on-campus

Week 8 - Oct 30 - Job Search 3

  • Interviews (Darleen Pryds - Fall) - Skype, phone, on-campus, and conferences

Week 8 - Apr 2 - Special Writing Workshop

  • Active-Voice Writing - for both native and ESL speakers

Week 9 - Nov 6/Apr 9 - Teaching Portfolio 3

  • writing a strong teaching statement

Week 10 - Nov 13 - Proposals and Writing 3 - From Pages to Finished Work

  • the psychology of writing
  • how to work online without wasting time online
  • how to revise and edit drafts
  • dissertation format refresher

Week 11 - Nov 20 - Job Search 4

  • Expanding the job search - non-profit, alt. academy
  • Soliciting, maintaining, and improving recommendations
  • Dossier services - GTU and online

Week 12 - Dec 4 - Proposals and Writing 4 - From Finished Work to Publication

  • Special Guest - Dr. Kimberly Connor (Fall only)
  • submitting articles/manuscripts for publication
  • presenting at conferences
  • online/self-publishing and digital embargoes


November 1st - The Art of Networking

  • 5pm - Dinner Board Room - this special event is held in preparation for AAR/SBL in November - learn skills for networking at conferences, how to do it professionally, and why it can be fun - then practice what you’ve learned at the accompanying reception! (This is a highly recommended event by previous attendees!) Led by Alan Kelchner, Interim Vice President for Advancement.

April 9th - Newhall Fellows Lunch and Sarlo Award Lecture

  • 12pm-2 - Dinner Board Room - incoming and outgoing Newhall Fellows are invited to attend a special lecture and lunch with this year’s Sarlo Award winner, Dr. Mia Mochizuki.


Contact the Professional Development Program Coordinator, Kayko Driedger Hesslein, with questions about Program offerings.