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.

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.”

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 two-workshop module will help postdoc applicants revise their research proposals for SSHRC and other Humanities/Social Science postdocs before the autumn submission deadlines. 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 two days after the first workshop.
Dates: Tuesday August 24 and Thursday August 26 from 1-3pm.

Register for this event

This two-workshop module will help postdoc applicants revise their research proposals for NSERC or CIHR before the autumn submission deadlines. 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 September 28 and October 5 from 1-3pm.

Register for this event

Based in individual departments, these two-hour workshops explain and illustrate key principles of proposal writing for continuing or incoming graduate students who plan to apply for a SSHRC, NSERC, Vanier or CIHR scholarship in the fall of 2021. Participants will also have the option to enroll of a subsequent peer-review workshop, in which they give and received feedback on draft proposals with fellow graduate students.

Dates: depends on the department/unit (follow the link below to see dates for individual units)

Register for this event

Starting a new dissertation/thesis chapter or article is always hard, and it's easy to lose momentum. Two proven methods for overcoming this loss of steam are (1) to start small, for example by writing a conference paper instead of a full chapter/article, and (2) to share ideas and early drafts with other readers, in low-pressure situations. 

The Graduate Mini-Conference module brings together these two methods to help writers move more quickly into a new chapter/article. Meeting monthly, a group of doctoral candidates will gather to present 10 minute accounts of their new dissertation/thesis chapter--that is, work they are only just starting on. Presenters will then answer questions from the group. The group will intentionally be multi-disciplinary, bringing together PhD students from the humanities, social sciences and life/physical sciences.  

The idea behind this approach is to give writers a sense of accountability and community, as well as real but low-stakes deadlines, as they navigate their entry into a new chapter. The membership of the group will likely change over the course of several months, but participants are expected to attend even when they are not presenting their own work. 

Because this is a pilot, the format may change somewhat as we learn out to make the group work.

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.