The Graduate Professional Skills Certificate is an innovative, non-credit program for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows focusing on strengths-based professional skills development. 


This certificate program is offered free of charge to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. 

Both this certificate program and GPS 984 (a course required for completion of the certificate program) are free of charge for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Workshops offered by the U of S to graduate students are also free of charge unless otherwise noted.

How does the program work?

In this program, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will identify their strengths, construct a learning plan, reflect on experiential learning, as well as receive classroom instruction and one-on-one coaching on professional skills development.  Students in the Certificate program will be assessed on a regular basis by the development of a reflective professional skills e-portfolio which is also formally presented to their peers and instructors at the end of the program.

To obtain the certificate, you must register in GPS 974 and remain registered until you have fulfilled the requirements of the certificate program. In this way, the GPS 974 course is similar to a seminar requirement in a graduate program. During your first term in GPS 974, you will be required to attend the scheduled classes and complete work that is assigned. In your subsequent terms, until you have finished the requirements of the certificate program, you will need to be registered in GPS 974, but you will not need to attend the classes. You will instead be required to meet with your Learning Coach to discuss the progress you are making toward completion of the Graduate Professional Skills Certificate.


The Graduate Professional Skills Certificate program consists of the following two non-credit courses:

  1. GPS 974: Graduate Professional Skills
    GPS 974 is the umbrella course for the Certificate. All students must register in GPS 974 to take part in any other Certificate activities. Students enroll in GPS 974 in Term One of the academic year, and maintain registration to the end of their Certificate program.

  2. GPS 984: Thinking Critically - Professional Skills for Global Citizens
    This innovative, seven-week, non-credit course provides a supportive and challenging setting for students to build multidisciplinary understandings and skills into their professional and personal lives as they candidly explore diverse issues with peers from disciplines across campus.

If you have already taken GPS 984 you can this count toward the certificate. You will just need to reflect on your learning from the course in your professional skills portfolio, and show your course completion certificate.

Learning hours and expected work load

The expected learning hours to be completed in the Certificate program are approximately equivalent to the hours required for a 6-credit unit course.

However, the exact number of learning hours required depends on a student’s prior knowledge and experience in the competency areas when entering the program.  Learning hours may be completed by attending such opportunities such as courses, workshops on professional skills, or internships and reflecting on these experiences in a professional skills e-portfolio

The workload of the certifcate program is divided between the course work and the graduate professional skills e-portfolio reflections and meetings with your coach. 

  • Requirements (Coursework - 36 hours):
    • GPS 984: Thinking Critically: Professional Skills for Global Citizens (21 hours in class time)
    • GPS 974: Graduate Professional Skills (15 hours in class time)
  • Guidelines (Learning Experiences and Reflection – 50 hours max.):
    • Prior Learning Experiences (20 hours max.)
    • Learning Experiences time
    • Reflection Hours (from all learning experiences and coursework)


Graduates of the Professional Skills Certificate program will be recognized at either the Spring or Fall Convocation, at which they will cross the stage to receive their certificates once all requirements are completed.

Skills you will develop

The following skills domains are intended to help you develop personally, advance in your career, and grow academically. Throughout the program, students are expected to reflect on the development of their strengths and skills in each of the following ten skill domains:

  1. Critical and creative thinking
    You will explore your thought processes, personal biases, and creative propensities. By engaging in courses and workshops that address these issues, you will analyze and question your assumptions and expand your thinking, along with your empathy.

  2. Professionalism, ethics, and integrity
    Learning experiences focus on your professional conduct. By exploring such topics as business ethics and professional integrity, you will learn how to conduct yourself in ways that are favorable to your career.

  3. Communication
    Workshops and courses will help you to develop your written and verbal communication skills, which you can then apply within a professional sphere. Topics may include creating memos, writing professional emails, and giving presentations.

  4. Interpersonal skills
    Learning experiences address topics such as networking and developing relationships with people in a professional context. You will learn how to establish and maintain connections within your respective field.

  5. Intercultural competence
    You will develop an understanding of the impact your own experience and culture has on your view of the world and others and an appreciation for the perspectives of others, particularly those from different cultural backgrounds. Understanding diverse cultural contexts allows you to develop connections and thought processes that may help you in both your professional and personal life.

  6. Leadership
    Workshops and courses teach you how to take initiative and challenge yourself and your colleagues to do their best work.

  7. Career development
    Learning experiences address how to choose a career path and how to continually adapt to workplace changes.

  8. Wellness and life balance
    You will learn how to balance your professional and personal life to get the most out of both. You will learn that, as the proverb goes, having a career is not the same as having a life.

  9. Research and project management
    You will learn how to cultivate the skills necessary to manage whatever professional initiatives they may develop. You will also learn how to gather and utilize resources, handle deadlines, organize teams, and plan projects.

  10. Reflection and intrapersonal skills
    Workshops and courses focus on your development through reflective practice. As you work your way through your learning experiences, you will keep track of your progress and identify what works, what doesn’t work, and what needs to be changed. You will need to learn to look inward as well as outward.



Students must be either a current Post-Doctoral Fellow, or be registered in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in a Master’s or Ph.D. program.


Before enrolling in this program, students must complete GPS 960: Introduction to Ethics and Integrity.

Post-doctoral fellows are not required to complete GPS 960.


Registration is open prior to the start of each academic term and closes on the day that classes begin in each academic term.

Graduate students should register in PAWS for GPS 974: Graduate Professional Skills. Find the correct term, then search "Graduate Studies and Research" scroll until you find GPS 974. If you have any problems registering, contact us at gmctl@usask.ca.

Post-doctoral fellows should contact gmctecourses@usask.ca directly so that we can assist you with your registration.


Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning

GMCTL has a variety of programming, workshops, non-credit courses and resources for graduate students or post-doctorals who are new to teaching and who already have some experience but want to learn more.