Ph.D. Academy Certificate in Communication, Leadership, and Management

The Ph.D. Academy offers innovative professionalization and training opportunities for USC Dornsife graduate students. After participating in our annual programing, students will have received cross-disciplinary instruction in the areas of leadership, communication, and management. Unique as a form of accreditation among our peer institutions, the USC Dornsife Ph.D. Academy Certificate reflects the expertise you will have developed in these three areas: communicating your scholarship to peers from a variety of backgrounds; managing your time, finances, and colleagues; and taking a leadership role in your professional environment, whatever that environment might be.

The requirements for the certificate are outlined below.

Requirement 1: Ph.D. Academy Participation

    Ph.D. Academy participation requires students to attend 15 Ph.D. Academy events over the course of your graduate career.

Requirement 2: Putting Lessons into Practice: External Activities

    To strengthen and apply the lessons communicated in the Ph.D. Academy workshops, students must also complete five professional activities that draw upon communication, leadership, and management skills. To get credit, students must submit to a brief description of each activity completed by the end of each academic year. Suggestions to meet this requirement include:

  • Giving a departmental seminar or student organization talk
  • Attending a Graduate School grant writing session/boot camp
  • Participating in a scholarly conference
  • Presenting a poster or a paper at a conference
  • Writing/publishing a review
  • Writing a fellowship or grant application
  • Attending a networking event
  • Mentoring undergraduates or other younger students in some official capacity
  • Holding a leadership role in an organization related to your scholarship
  • Other approved activities


WHO: Dornsife Ph.D. students in their first, second year, third year, fourth year and Dornsife Ph.D. students in the pilot group of fifth-year students.

WHAT: Certificate for inclusion on your CV

WHY: To enhance communication, leadership, and management skills

Further questions should be directed to