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Career & Professional Development

There is no "right" way to begin your professional development and career exploration journey as a postdoctoral fellow, and the steps you take will be shaped by your unique interests, skills, and objectives. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) is here to support you as you pursue your professional goals at Northwestern.

Through the OPA, you can access one-on-one advising and attend workshops and other programming specifically tailored to the needs and interests of postdocs. Our office also serves as a gateway to additional resources on campus and partners with other University offices to develop programming for postdocs. 

Core capacities

The Graduate School Core Capacities define six areas of professional skill, knowledge, and experience required for academic and professional success: 

  • Communication
  • Leadership and Collaboration
  • Teaching and Mentoring
  • Research Skills and Literacies
  • Personal Development and Well-being
  • Career Preparation and Exploration

Postdoctoral fellows can develop these capacities through their research, teaching, leadership, and community engagement activities. The OPA also collaborates with University partners to provide programs and resources to further your professional development in these key areas.

Programming opportunities

The OPA collaborates with University and program partners to support the professional development of postdoctoral fellows. Visit the Programming Opportunities webpage on the PhD and Postdoc Success website to search for career and professional development programs supported by The Graduate School (TGS), Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA), and the OPA. Use this interactive tool to find opportunities that can help you develop the skills you need to succeed at Northwestern and beyond.


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Campus partners & programs

Postdoctoral fellows at Northwestern can use a number of campus resources to help them develop new skills and achieve their professional goals. Explore these resources.

man in lab

Individual Development Plan

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) help you articulate your professional development needs and career goal. Learn more about this tool.

OPA resources

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) offers a variety of resources that contribute to the professional development of our postdoctoral fellows. Browse upcoming workshops.

Contact the OPA if you have any questions about professional development or if you would like to schedule a one-on-one appointment to discuss your needs in more detail. We are here to help!