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Professional Development Online Modules


Student Training Online Modules

These modules prepare students toward graduate school application and research careers. All of the modules are being used by BUILD Scholars and Fellows Programs, and are available to participants of the new pilot Research Certificate Program offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research Services (OURS) Connects in Spring 2021. See additional specifics about BUILD Student Training on the Student Training Overview page.

Student Training Online Modules List

Graduate School Application Process (~ 40 min.)

This module consists of videos that introduces students to the graduate application process, explains what it means to go for a Ph.D., discusses important factors to consider when applying for graduate programs, provides tips for selecting what programs to apply to, and includes information about having a “Plan B”, in case students do not get into a Ph.D. program the first time they apply.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Statement of Purpose (SOP) (~ 40 min.)

This module has two sub-modules, one on the CV and one on the SOP. For the CV module, students are introduced to components of a CV and given guidance. Specific topics for the CV module include: biographical information, education, research activities, teaching activities, additional professional experiences, grants, honors, and awards, service and demonstrated commitment to diversity. The SOP module includes topics of: planning the SOP, finding essay prompts by a program, general tips, developing an SOP template, and sample SOPs.

Letter of Recommendation (~ 25 min.)

This module informs students about the materials and processes they should take for obtaining letters of recommendation.  This module also includes topics of: What do graduate programs look for in letters of recommendation, who should you ask to write a letter, who is qualified to write you a letter, the request timeline, as well as examples for an application portfolio.

GRE Preparation and Expectations (~ 45 min.)

This module introduces the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and explains why the GRE is important. Specific topics in this module include: how to create an ETS account, what to expect on the day of testing, the structure of the computer delivered test, a discussion of when to take the GRE, and a description of each section of the test. In addition, students are introduced to fee reduction programs as well as given guidance for test preparation and how to select and send their scores to a graduate program.

Seeking Financial Support for Graduate Schools (~ 25 min.)

This module discusses funding options available to students for graduate school.  Specific topics include: how to fund graduate studies available within the California State System, student debt that may occur, when and how to apply for funding, types of funding packages, and tips for managing finances as a graduate student.

Interviews for Graduate School (~ 25 min.)

This module discusses what students should expect and plan for when interviewing for graduate school. Specific topics include: the purpose of the interview, how to prepare for an interview, what to expect in terms of funding (i.e., travel and lodging), know who is interviewing you, preparation of a list of questions to ask and common interview questions, online versus in-person interviews, and post-interview etiquettes.

Individual Development Plan (~ 20 min.)

This module introduces students to the Individual Development Plan (IDP). Topics include: what is an IDP; the difference between short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals; the importance of setting goals and re-visiting/up-dating them; how to identify and assess skills; tips for bridging gaps in desired skills; how to get input from mentors, peers, and family members; and an example template for an IDP.

Summer Research Experience (~ 20 min.)

This module provides tips and guidance for students who are looking for and applying to programs that provide summer research experiences (SRE) for undergraduate students.  Topics include: what is an SRE and what are the benefits of undergraduate research, where to look for SRE programs (including references to programs sponsored by NIH and NSF), how to apply to SREs, the SRE application timeline, how to discuss SRE programs with family members, and useful tips from past alumni. This module references the CV/SOP and Letter of Recommendation modules.