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Professional Development

There is no "right" way to begin your professional development and career exploration journey as a postdoctoral trainee, 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 success at Northwestern and in the wide range of careers Northwestern postdoctoral trainees pursue: 

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

Postdoctoral trainees 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. Use our Explore Opportunities tool below to learn more about professional development programs available to you at Northwestern.

Explore opportunities

OPA collaborates with University and program partners to support postdoctoral trainees professional development. Use our interactive tool to find opportunities that can help you develop the skills you need to succeed at Northwestern and beyond.


students in front of library

Campus partners & programs

Postdoctoral trainees at Northwestern can utilize 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) are tools to help you articulate your professional development needs and career goal. Learn more about them.

OPA resources

The Graduate School's Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Northwestern University offers a variety of resources that contribute to the professional development of our postdoctoral trainees. See our offerings.

Contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs 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!