Welcome to PREP

PREP is the MSU Graduate School career and professional development model, designed to help you plan for a successful doctoral and postdoc experience and a smooth transition into your future role in academia, government, industry, corporations, or agencies. The acronym PREP foregrounds four professional skills that are key to your doctoral and professional career:

  • planning throughout the graduate program to identify and successfully achieve career goals;
  • developing resilience and tenacity to thrive through personal and professional stages;
  • practicing active engagement in making important life decisions and in acquiring the skills necessary to attain career goals;
  • attaining high standards of professionalism in research and teaching.

The PREP model is organized around our career matrix, which allows you to plan according to where you are in your program or job search.

Ready for the matrix?

Want to assess your skills?

Need more information to get started? Choose your role as a: graduate student | postdoc | faculty mentor.

Getting Started

Launched in 2006, PREP was created to help graduate students and postdocs manage their own professional careers. Through workshops, programs, and resources organized around a conceptual framework for career planning, its goal is to promote their success in their graduate programs or postdoctoral experience and to provide them a competitive edge securing professional positions. Learn more about our innovative features:

The PREP Matrix

Under PREP our workshops and programs target 4 thematic skill areas (planning, resilience, engagement, professionalism) through 3 stages of the doctoral degree: early (completing course work, taking qualifying exams, designing research projects, starting to teach, and beginning to formulate career plans), mid (taking comprehensive exams, conducting research, strengthening teaching skills, and developing professional networks), and late (completing the dissertation, finishing a postdoc, and searching for academic or non-academic positions).


Skill Assessments

The PREP model is linked to important transferable skills: practical abilities that are fundamental to success in graduate school and in a range of professional contexts, from academia to industry, corporations, agencies, and government. These skills are not add-ons to doctoral education; they are developed in the process of that education, and they include communication, leadership, ethics and integrity, collaboration, balance and resilience, and research, scholarship, and creative activities. Becoming aware of and intentionally cultivating transferable skills helps to secure a successful transition into a variety of careers.

Need to read more about these skill areas? See The Graduate School’s Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan [PDF]. 

Customized Planning

If you want to customize your career trajectory, you can create a free Career Success account, allowing you to save your PREP plan (with resources from the matrix), develop annual individual development plans (building on the matrix and incorporating your own documents) that you can share with your mentors, and create professional portfolios that document your skills and that can be shared with employers and connected to LinkedIn.


To provide programs and workshops, the Graduate School plans and partners with: Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies - Teaching Assistant Program - Ph.D. Career Services - Graduate Student Life and Wellness - Office of Faculty and Organizational Development - Council of Graduate Students - Graduate Employees Union.

PREP Matrix

Use the PREP Matrix to plan a successful graduate school experience and your career.  Click on a topic area to see a list of resources, assessments, and events.  If you have a user account, you can save selected items to your personalized PREP list.

  Planning Resilience Engagement Professionalism

Starting Your Self-Assessment

In the course of pursuing your graduate degree, you will develop a range of skills in addition to your disciplinary expertise. Research shows that these skills are crucial for success in academic and non-academic job markets and in professional development over the range of a long career. Depending on your field, you may have many opportunities to practice several of these transferable skills in your coursework, teaching, and research. You may only begin to touch on others, and developing them will take more conscious effort on your part.

On the EVALUATE YOUR SKILLS page, you will find 6 broad skill areas that are most frequently cited as important by academic and non-academic employers who are looking for candidates with advanced degrees. Click on a specific skill to assess your preparation. After your short assessment, you will learn about resources, events, and programs that can provide opportunities for development where you need it most.

Upcoming Events

Recently Added Resources

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