Preparing for Careers in the Academy

Currently closed and will re-open in the future.

Apply to Join the Cohort

The Office of Graduate Education sponsors Prov 701: Preparing for Careers in the Academy, which is a selective year-long cohort program designed to help PhD students and terminal degree MFA students (e.g., Visual Arts) prepare for their future careers in the academic job market and to strengthen their instructional effectiveness.

This seminar module course will prepare candidates to

  • Developing Your CV 
  • Crafting Cover Letters 
  • Writing a Teaching Philosophy 
  • Writing Research Statements 
  • DEI Statements
  • The Art of the Academic Interview 
  • Postdoctoral Fellowships


Program Details

What are the program's objectives?

  • To construct a meaningful statement of teaching philosophy, grounded in best practices within your discipline/field of study and your beliefs about what an education means.
  • To demonstrate an awareness of how to distinguish oneself in the academic job market, especially with respect to preparing strong application materials.
  • To describe strategies for enhancing student engagement and critical thinking in the classroom.
  • To design a course syllabus that evidences key ideas from the program.
  • To understand and practice strategies for effectively managing classroom and student challenges.
  • To develop a better understanding about various academic career paths, the transition to a faculty role, and life as a faculty member.

Who should apply?

This program is recommended for advanced PhD and MFA students who:

  • Are enrolled as a graduate student through the entire PROV701 program.
  • Are considering a career in academia.
  • Will be on the academic job market the year of the PROV 701 program or the year following the PROV 701 program.
  • Have some teaching or TA experience and/or expect to have some teaching or TA experience in the future.

What are the program's benefits?

Participants will join a cohort of Mason PhD and MFA students preparing to go on the academic market.

This program offers the opportunity to prepare for a career in academia by developing teaching and mentoring expertise, drafting important components of the academic job application, and exploring different academic careers.

Participants will learn about best practices in teaching and learning, enhance their understanding of the academic job search process, and develop strategies for mentoring graduate students.

A few quotes from previous PROV 701 participants:

  • "I anticipate using the knowledge I gained in every aspect of my academic work life. I will use the knowledge gained on teaching to help improve my ability to connect with and reach students. I will use the knowledge gained regarding the job market to help prepare myself psychologically and academically to be the best job candidate I can be."
  • "By far the best parts of the course related to in-classroom issues. I know my classroom is stronger because of PROV 701, just as I know some of the basic teaching tenets mentioned in class will remain with me for life."
  • "I learned invaluable knowledge from the seminar and feel as though I truly understand the academic job market. I discovered where I need to focus to make my application stronger and more well-rounded."

When is the program held?

It will take place across the 2022-23 academic year. In the fall semester, participants will enroll in a one-credit course that meets every other Friday. There will be a total of eight three-hour sessions as well as an online discussion forum. In the spring semester, participants will take part in an online discussion forum and will receive individualized mentoring, which may include a classroom visit or an observation of their teaching. At the end of the spring semester, the Provost will host a reception for all program participants.

What will the program cost?

There is no cost for selected students. The Office of the Provost, Office of Graduate Education will pay for student tuition for this 1-credit course, and the Office of Graduate Education provide the supporting course materials.

How do interested students apply?

Applications can be found above. Applications are due by May 1, 2022. An electronic letter of support from the dissertation or thesis project advisor is required, to be submitted via a separate form. Note: This is in addition to the application form. Students will be notified of acceptance by May 30. The program will be limited to a maximum of 18 students.

Criteria for selection into program: Advanced PhD student (PhD candidates preferred) or MFA students nearing completion of their thesis projects, interest in an academic career, teaching experience as instructor of record or graduate teaching assistant (GTA), and alignment of student goals with program goals. You must be enrolled as a degree-seeking graduate student for the entire program.

What are the fall program requirements?

  1. Actively participate in and attend all eight of the sessions, which will meet every other Friday.
  2. Complete all assigned readings and activities between sessions.
  3. Create a job portfolio that includes:
    1. A teaching philosophy statement
    2. A cover letter for an academic job application
    3. A research statement
    4. An updated CV for an academic job application
    5. A course syllabus

What are the spring program requirements?

  1. An active role in our online discussion forum.
  2. Participation in individualized mentoring meetings, which may include a classroom visit or observation.

What if I have additional questions?

If you have further questions about the program, contact the Office of Graduate Education.