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Professional Skills Foundations is a new professional skills credential for graduate students at the University of Waterloo. Foundations is designed to offer master's and doctoral students broad exposure to and experience in four key skill areas: career preparation, communication, leadership and personal effectiveness. 

Learn more about: 


How it works

This program is completed in three steps:

1) Introductory activities

Before you sign up for core workshops and engage in Foundations activities, you must first:

  • Attend a Professional Skills Foundations: Introductory Workshop. There are two options to complete the Introductory Workshop:
    • Option 1: Complete the online asynchronous Introductory Workshop in LEARN. This five module workshop can be completed at your own pace. Register now to gain access to the LEARN course and begin your progress through Foundations. 
    • Option 2: Attend a synchronous (live) Introductory Workshop offering. At this time, all synchronous workshops are being delivered virtually, and are delivered approximately once per term in the fall and winter. The winter 2021 term workshop was held on February 4. Sign up for the Foundations program to receive notifications when future synchronous Introductory Workshops are scheduled. 
    • Please note: The asynchronous and synchronous workshops cover the same content. Foundations participants only need to complete one version of the workshop. 
  • Create an Individual Development Plan (IDP)
  • Meet with Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) staff to have your IDP reviewed/approved

2) Core workshops and activities

  • Complete one approved workshop and one approved activity within each skill area
  • Write a brief reflection (approximately 500 words) on the benefits or learning outcomes of participating in each activity
  • Write 4-5 learning outcomes or "key takeaways" of the workshops you attended

3) Capstone

Once GSPA staff have confirmed you have completed the core workshops and activities, you will be eligible to:

  • Complete a mock interview with a staff interviewer
  • Receive feedback from the mock interviewer

Program completion confirmation

Upon completion of the capstone, you will be provided with confirmation of program completion in the form of a letter from associate vice-president, GSPA, Jeff Casello. 

Program goals and outcomes

By the end of the program, participants will:

  1. be able to identify and articulate their skills

  2. develop key skills in career preparation, communication, leadership and personal effectiveness

  3. assess their own skills, interests and values relative to their career goals

  4. increase their confidence and self-awareness as advanced degree candidates exploring career opportunities

Register to participate

Registration in the program is initiated when you register for an introductory workshop, or sign up for the Foundations program via our registration form. 

Who can apply

To register, participants must:

  • be Master's or PhD students officially registered at the University of Waterloo

Current participants

If you are a current Foundations participant, please review the following information for instructions on booking an IDP review/approval meeting, submitting your proof of workshop completion, submitting your activity reflection, or completing your capstone mock interview:

Booking an IDP review/approval meeting: 

  • Access the Foundations appointment booking tool to review available appointment times and book your appointment. 
    • Please note that all one-on-one appointments are taking place virtually using Zoom. After booking, you will receive an email within one business day providing a link to the Zoom meeting.
    • Please note, the zcal booking tool may not work in Internet Explorer. If you are having difficulty accessing the booking link, please try opening it with Chrome or Firefox.
  • If you are unable to access Zoom, please email for alternative arrangements. 
  • If none of the available appointment times fit with your schedule, please email and provide a list of 3 or 4 times and dates that work for you. 

Submitting proof of workshop completion: 

  • Once you have completed a workshop tracking page in your Foundations booklet (including workshop details, facilitator signature and takeaways), take a photo or scan of the completed page. 
  • Email a copy of the photo or scan to Please include your full name and student number in your email. 

Completing and submitting activity reflections: 

  • Review the pre- and post-activity reflection questions on the activity tracking pages of the Foundation booklet (pages 14-17). 
  • Type your one-page (500) word reflection.
  • Email your reflection as a PDF or Word document to Please include your full name and student number in your email. 

Completing your capstone mock interview: 

  • Before booking your appointment, contact to confirm that you have completed all necessary requirements to move on to the capstone portion of the Foundations program.
  • Once you have received confirmation from GRADventure: 
    • Log in to WaterlooWorks (using your WatIAM ID and password)
    • Select ‘Appointments’ from the left navigation pane
    • Follow the prompts and book your “Capstone: Professional Skills Foundations Mock Interview” appointment
  • To make the best use of your time at the mock interview: 
    • Review your reflections and what you’ve learned about yourself while completing Foundations
    • Review interview resources in Career Hub
    • Bring a printed copy of your resume, CV and/or a job posting you are interested in
  • Following your mock interview record 2-3 pieces of feedback, or takeaways, on page 19 of your Foundations booklet and take a photo or scan of the completed page.
    • Email a copy of the photo or scan to Please include your full name and student number in your email. 


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