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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 grad 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 – Applications Deadline for the spring cohort is Feb 21, 2024

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. The next cohort is planned for spring/summer 2024.

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


Eligibility and Application

Currently enrolled UC Berkeley graduate students are eligible. To apply, please complete the form below. Review the list of career fields on the application form and select your preferences.

Efforts will be made to match mentees and mentors as closely as possible to their chosen areas.


To apply, open the Mentee application form.   

The application period for the 2024 cohort deadline is February 21. 


Sample list – Mentors

    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

Internship Programs

Increasingly, employers offer internship programs designed specifically for advanced degree students. Review the sampling of opportunities below to get a sense of the various types of internship programs available for PhD and master’s students as well as postdocs. Whether or not you decide to further pursue employment in your internship 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 program are forthcoming.