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PhD Experiential Programs

Experiential learning includes activities such as internships, mentoring programs and externships. These experiences provide exposure to professional roles in business, government and/ or nonprofit sectors. They can also offer opportunities to develop skills, and translate knowledge and insights into practical application.  

Immersive career experiences provide graduate students, PhDs and postdocs with the opportunity to:

  • Apply their knowledge and skills
  • Observe and engage in work practices, and
  • Explore organizational cultures and career pathways outside the faculty career track. 

Berkeley Career Engagement Internship Resources

Community College Diversity Mentoring Program 

Berkeley Career Engagement and Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) have collaborated to offer a program for graduate students and postdocs interested in exploring careers in higher education leadership. Mentees are matched with management/staff mentors from SRJC. Participants gain both mentoring support and an introduction to the range of career paths within higher education. 

Participants are matched with mentors based on their interests in areas such as:

  • Student Services
  • Academic Affairs/Instruction
  • Health Services
  • Human Resources/DEI
  • Workforce Development

Program Elements

Experiential Component and Knowledge Sharing

Mentees may engage in projects, case study exercises, observations, and/or program governance activities. Topics may include: an overview of career pathways, best leadership and management practices, and the shared governance structure at California community colleges

Mentoring Sessions

Mentor and mentee pairs coordinate their schedules for meetings and professional development activities, typically 1-2 times per month. A sample list of mentors is provided below.

    1. Vice President, Student Services/Assistant Superintendent
    2. Director, Human Resources
    3. Manager, Human Resources/Employment Equity The HR Mentorship will provide an opportunity for two mentees to work with two HR mentors in exploring HR leadership roles in a community college setting, from Manager and Director perspectives.
    4. Dean, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
    5. Dean, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Culinary Arts
    6. Director, Student Health Services
    7. Dean, Workforce Development
    8. Dean, Instruction and Strategic Program Development
    9. Dean, Kinesiology, Athletics and Dance/Athletics Director

Eligibility and Application

Currently enrolled UC Berkeley graduate students are eligible. Efforts will be made to match mentees and mentors as closely as possible to their chosen areas.

Applications are currently closed but more information will be available when the application re-opens.

Internship and Fellowship Programs

Increasingly, employers offer internship and fellowship programs designed specifically for advanced degree students. Review the sampling of opportunities below to get a sense of the various types of internship and fellowship programs available for PhD and master’s students as well as postdocs. Whether or not you decide to further pursue employment in your internship or fellowship field, the experience can be instrumental in testing options and further clarifying your career goals.


PhD Externship Program

The “Day in the Life” job shadowing experience connects PhD students and postdocs to professionals for an insider view of organizational cultures and the work responsibilities associated with different roles in professional settings outside the academy. Job shadowing is arranged on an individual basis, students are matched with a host employer based upon their career interests.  The employer site visits provide trainees with the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and a greater understanding of the profession and organization. 

Details about the 2024-2025 program are forthcoming.