Milestones and Pathways Program for Graduate Students

Milestones and Pathways is a Faculty of Arts & Science initiative supported by the School of Graduate Studies Innovation Fund. The initiative aims to support graduate students as they progress through their studies and prepare for their careers.

  • Milestones activities help students reach key benchmarks in their graduate training, including passing departmental examinations and writing dissertations.
  • Pathways activities provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in careers within and outside the Academy. These events may include alumni networking opportunities and professional development workshops.

If you have any questions about the Milestones and Pathways program or developing an activity within your unit, please contact Erin Macnab (erin.macnab@utoronto.ca), Assistant Director, Teaching & Learning.

Pathways for PhDs Workshops

As part of the Milestones and Pathways program, the Faculty of Arts & Science hosts the Pathways for PhDs series of professional development workshops for doctoral students interested in careers beyond the professoriate. These workshops introduce students to strategies and resources for finding meaningful work outside the traditional academic job market. These workshops are open to graduate students in any Faculty of Arts & Science department or unit.

Important Note: Given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the government health and safety guidelines, we will be hosting sessions online.

Accessing Materials from Past Sessions: Participants can access information about past sessions, including slides and resources, via our Quercus page. Please email Joel Rodgers (joel.rodgers@utoronto.ca), Coordinator, Graduate Student Professional Development, for access.

Past Sessions:

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
10:00am – 12:00 pm (Noon) (2 hours)
Joel Rodgers, Coordinator, Graduate Student Professional Development
Erin Macnab, Assistant Director, Teaching & Learning

This two-hour session will survey advice from recent Arts & Science doctoral alumni who have found rewarding careers outside the tenure track, and it will provide participants with strategies for reframing their PhD experience to non-academic audiences.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021
10:00am – 11:30 am (90 minutes)
Joel Rodgers, Coordinator, Graduate Student Professional Development
Erin Macnab, Assistant Director, Teaching & Learning

This practical session will focus on strategies for translating academic skills and experience for non-academic career contexts. Because this session focuses on workshopping job materials, participants must bring 1) a drafted résumé, 2) a link to a specific job posting, and 3) a drafted cover letter tailored for that posting. These documents are necessary to participate fully in the workshop, but they can still be very “drafty.”

Register for this session

Funding Support

We invite proposals for unit-led activities through the Milestones and Pathways program. Units in the Faculty of Arts & Science may request funding support between $1,000 and $5,000 for each proposed activity.

  • Proposals may be developed and submitted by faculty members, staff or graduate students (with a faculty or staff sponsor).
  • Proposals must be submitted through a primary academic department or unit. It is possible to propose activities across cognate units or departments.
  • Proposals are accepted and reviewed monthly.
  • There is no deadline for funding. Please allow five weeks from the time of submission for the committee to review and reach a decision about the funding request.

Application Process

  1. Please review the Guidelines for Funding Proposals including general guidelines for proposing activities under the Milestones & Pathways Program.
  2. Access and complete the Milestones & Pathways Funding Request for Unit-Led Activities (MSForms).

Your application and proposal must provide the following information

  • The primary unit/department submitting the request for funding support.
  • A contact person and their email address (i.e., someone who can be contacted, if needed, for further information about the proposed activity).
  • A brief title, description and rationale for the proposed activity.
  • The number of graduate students who will be participating in the activity.
  • The total amount of funding requested, including a budget outlining how the funds will be spent.

Unit-Based Graduate Writing Support

Within the Milestones & Pathways program, Dr. Daniel Aureliano Newman offers writing instruction and support to graduate students in the Faculty of Arts & Science.These workshops and writing groups help graduate students improve their writing skills and overcome obstacles to writing. Contact Dr. Newman with ideas, suggestions or requests and visit his website to see past writing events and workshops

Upcoming Writing Events across A&S Departments:

This writing camp offers a regular schedule and a (virtual) social setting to help graduate students benefit from some structure and accountability in their writing lives. The mode of participation is flexible: though weekly, full-day participation is encouraged, some participants attend more sporadically, or for just part of each day. The camp also welcomes faculty and postdocs.

The camp began in January 2021 and will run at least until the end of June. Every Tuesday at 9:30am, participants log on, set and share their day’s writing goals, then spend the day writing in a series of four “writing windows” separated by short breaks and a longer lunch period.

Dates: Tuesdays 9:30am-3 pm, January - June 2021.

To join, please complete this form (UTORid required)

This workshop provides a few simple but effective strategies for improving the flow and coherence of your writing.

Date: Tuesday May 18, from 1-3 pm.

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This workshop provides a few simple but effective strategies for improving the flow and coherence of your academic writing.

Date: Friday May 28 from 10am-12pm.

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Working groups offer a chance to learn about proposal writing and to get early drafts reviewed and revised by your peers and by Dr. Newman. The groups meet every two weeks for a total of three sessions to help draft and refine research proposals for SSHRC, Banting, Killam and other postdoctoral fellowships. There are two groups, which will meet on alternating weeks.
Note that these working groups require a commitment to attend and participate, which includes completing writing exercises, submitting drafts of your postdoc proposals, and actively reading and workshopping your peers’ submissions. Due to the intensive nature of the groups, they are capped at 8 participants. 

Dates: Group 1: Thursdays 1-3pm on May 13, 27 and June 10. Group 2: Thursdays 1-3pm on May 6, May 20 and June 3.

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This workshop provides a few simple but effective strategies for improving the flow and coherence of your academic writing.

Date: Friday June 4, 2021, from 10am-12pm.

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Springtime is a good time to start working on applications for postdoctoral fellowship with autumn deadlines (NSERC, CIHR, Banting, etc). This two-workshop module will help postdoc applicants start on their research proposal early, at a time when they should be reaching out to potential supervisors, and provide guidance on how to write a strong research proposal. This will be done in the first workshop through discussion and a brief presentation on key principles of and strategies for proposal writing. These lessons will be the basis for the peer-review session that will follow the first workshop one week later. 

Dates: Thursday June 17 and June 24 from 10-11:30am.

Register for this event

Springtime is a good time to start working on applications for postdoctoral fellowship with autumn deadlines (SSHRC, Banting, Killam etc). This two-workshop module will help postdoc applicants start on their research proposal early, at a time when they should be reaching out to potential supervisors, and provide guidance on how to write a strong research proposal.This will be done in the first workshop through discussion and a brief presentation on key principles of and strategies for proposal writing. These lessons will be the basis for the peer-review session that will follow the first workshop one week later.  

Dates: Tuesday June 15 and June 22 from 1-2:30pm).

Register for this event

Getting started on a dissertation is a difficult, anxious task full of uncertainties. This workshop, which combines some instruction with discussion and Q&A, aims to address some of these difficulties through a combination of discussion, Q&A and writing/revision tips. It is reserved for recent doctoral candidates (i.e. you must have completed your qualifying exams) in fields that fall under the broad category of "literary humanities". These include the obvious (English, Comparative Literature, and other Language & Literature programs) but also kindred fields such as Cinema Studies and Drama, Theatre and Performance. 

Date: Monday June 28 from 1-3pm.

Register for this event

Mental Health and Wellness Training Opportunities

The A&S Mental Health Programs Officer can assist in developing activities that promote student well-being. As part of our commitment to supporting mental health within the Arts & Science community, the Faculty promotes mental health literacy through the provision and coordination of education and training opportunities. All available mental health and training workshops are available on the mental health and wellness training opportunities webpage

Toolkits for Developing Milestones and Pathways Activities

To apply for a workshop or writing retreat, or if you have any questions about proposing or preparing your activity, please contact Erin Macnab (erin.macnab@utoronto.ca), Assistant Director, Teaching & Learning.