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Professional Development Program

The Graduate School Professional Development Program (PDP) is an optional, flexible, self-paced, and hybrid opportunity for graduate students to complete a certificate. In the process, students will:

> Enhance resumes/CVs
> Develop lifelong personal and professional skills 
> Engage in current career trends and platforms
> Network with SDSU and community professionals
> Earn other certificates along the way

What are the topic areas?

There are seven core competencies that make up the Professional Development Program (PDP).

seven core competencies

How do I earn the certificate?

There are four levels of completion: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To earn each level, you'll need to complete the following:

  • Bronze = Complete 1 module from each competency (Total = 7)
  • Silver = Complete 2 modules from each competency (Total = 14)
  • Gold = Complete 3 modules from each competency (Total = 21)
  • Platinum = Complete 4 modules from each competency (Total = 28)

What are the types of modules?

The options for modules are diverse in order to fit your time and needs. You'll have the opportunity to choose from:

  • Live events (e.g. workshops with leaders in industry, webinars)
  • Recorded Workshops (e.g. TED talks, podcasts, videos)
  • And, in some cases, count activities that you're already participating in, such as 3MT, GSR 601, presentations at conferences, and more!

We are excited to collaborate with departments across campus and the Brookings community in order to provide for you relevant topic discussions that focus on professional and personal areas that we believe you need to know in order to leave SDSU not just prepared with an excellent education but also resources and experiences that will help you stand out and excel in your jobs and communities. 

What are the benefits of completing the program?

  • Earn other credible certificates from SDSU and beyond!
  • Networking opportunities within your industry and community.
  • Important documents, experiences, and skills to take with you into any career!

When is the deadline?

You can begin the PDP at any time during your graduate career. The deadline each year to complete and receive the PDP certificate is the Second Friday of April, and awards will be presented at our annual Graduate School Awards program. For Spring 2023, the deadline is April 14.

Again, this is OPTIONAL, but we really hope you decide to join the journey!

I have more questions - who do I contact?

If you have any other questions, please reach out:

  • Look for more details on the D2L Professional Development Program Course (every graduate student will automatically be enrolled in it)
  • Email Kerry McDowell (
  • Call the Graduate Office at 605-688-4181
  • Stop by Morrill Hall 130, M-F, 8-5