Professional Development

Western University offers a number of excellent resources to help develop your professional skills while completing a graduate degree at Western. A list of available services is listed below.

Business Courses - Open to PhD and MESc students

Opportunities for professional development for students who wish to develop skills related to industrial careers.

ENGSCI 9701 - Business Acumen for Research Students

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to basic business fundamentals in a variety of areas and to lay the foundation for lifelong learning. Targeted at research students in the PhD program, this course is designed to develop literacy in business language and basic concepts. While the course will not make a student an expert in business, it provides a foundation to a broad range of business subjects.  Attendance to all classes is mandatory. 

For more information on the course schedule and course outline please click here.  

ENGSCI 9702 - Technology Commercialization for Research Students

The purpose of this course is to develop the business skills that are required to be a successful Technology Entrepreneur on the world stage.  Students will learn the requisite skills to do a proper worldwide “market map”, determine their unique and sustainable technology advantage, how to value their innovation, how to protect their innovation, how to approach strategic partners for mutual success, and how to capitalize these activities when you have no money.  Attendance to all classes is mandatory. 

For more information on the course schedule and course outline please click here

ENGSCI 9703 - Project Management

The Faculty of Engineering has developed an online module to provide Research Students with a basic understanding of Project Management. 

Interested students may enrol through Student Center as of April 1st. Please note that all academic deadlines apply for this course. At the end of the term, if you have successfully completed all modules, you will receive a grade of PAS. If you do not complete all modules, a mark of F will appear on your academic record. 

For more information on the course schedule and course outline please click here

Mitacs STEP Programming

The Mitacs STEP Programming is designed to give studetn sthe skills they need in their career. The workshops are taught by professional at no cost.

For more information, please visit the Mitacs STEP Program Website.

Opportunities for PhD students only

Faculty of Education - STEM Teaching Certificate Program

Faculty of Education - STEM Teaching Certificate Program is an online certificate that will provide doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows with a practical understanding of curriculum design and implementation. Stand out from the crowd and learn to teach others what you already know.

As part of the Faculty of Engineering's commitment to furthering professional development for Graduate Students, each year Research students can apply for funding to cover the cost of the courses offered for this program.

Research Communications Module

All PhD students admitted as of September 1, 2019 to Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, and Civil & Environmental Engineering are required to complete the Faculty of Engineering Research Communications module by the end of their first year of study. The module is offered each summer over a period of 6 weeks. The purpose of the module is to support you as you prepare for your Comprehensive Examination. You can access the current course outline for May-June 2021 here, and the July-August 2021 session here

Please note:  PhD Students in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering are exempt from the requirement to complete the Faculty of Engineering module but will be required to take a discipline specific communications course as part of their program. 

Opportunities for MEng students only

Professional courses are typically offered during the summer term and help MEng students develop skills required of a professional engineer in Canada. For information on the course schedules and course outlines please click here

ENGSCI 9010 - Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is becoming increasingly important as intangible assets replace traditional capital expenditures in modern information-based economies. Whether dealing with issues such as the patentability of software or how digital locks control copyrighted materials, engineers today must be aware of how their careers will be impacted by this changing landscape. This course is designed to provide engineers with a comprehensive overview of intellectual property law, including a deep understanding of the core areas of copyright, trademark, and patent law. Other intellectual property issues will also be discussed with a particular focus on how the ongoing interaction between law and technology will change daily life for engineers.

ENGSCI 9015 - Commercializing Innovation

The world’s most valuable companies like Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook hold 95% of their value in intangible assets that include intellectual property and data. This course will explore how leading and early stage technology companies can capture economic returns simply from the ideas that they create and own.

Integral the execution of these strategies is the intellectual property strategist and the patent engineer. This class will provide engineers with the ability to identify, generate, and strategically use intellectual property and data assets to drive business.

ENGSCI 9185 - Risk Assessment & Management

This course introduces the concepts and general principles of risk analysis, assessment and management in engineering systems. The course discusses the qualitative risk identification methods and the quantitative risk assessment methods and techniques. It also explains in a detailed approach the risk management strategy and the process of managing risks, starting by the identification stage, and followed by the initial assessment and the response and mitigation stage. The risk management regime and the contingency management components are identified. The risk management tools and techniques are clarified through considering the risk and value management by different implemented case studies related to different Engineering fields. The principles of risk modeling will be introduced. Managing financial risks in major projects will be illustrated through case studies. Break‐Even, sensitivity and risk decision models will be discussed by examples.

ENGSCI 9501 - Engineering Business

The objectives of this course are to develop the business skills that are required to work within entrepreneurial organizations, large organizations and non-profits globally. The course will be focused on basic business activities – leading people, marketing, financial analysis, operations and strategy – within a global context.

ENGSCI 9510 - Engineering Planning and Project Management

 The course is intended to reveal and develop project management best practices. The student will learn the industrially accepted techniques associated with the management of time, cost, and scope in order to achieve total project stakeholder satisfaction. In absence of formal project management training, professionals in the work place can and do successfully run projects. The goal in this course is to expose the class to the most efficient, and widely recognized, project management practices and in so doing greatly increase their likelihood of managing successful projects during their careers. The expected outcome will be to develop workforce ready minds that easily integrate into any corporate culture. It is intended that the acquisition of skills developed in this course will prepare the student for pursuing the designation Project Management Professional, or at the very least, prepare the student to more effectively contribute to project type work.

Instructor: K. McGuire

ENGSCI 9670 - Engineering Communications

In this course, you will learn how to collect, interpret, and communicate engineering research through professional writing and oral presentation. Emphasis will be on developing the practical business skills expected of an engineer with a professional graduate degree. Upon completing this course, you should be able to persuasively and dynamically showcase your expertise to a wide variety of audiences. You will also learn to critically assess professional and political discourse relevant to your profession and gain an awareness of the social contexts and implications of engineering research.

Other Opportunities open to all Graduate Students

Opportunities for students who wish to develop skills related to professional development for any career.

Own Your Future

Own Your Future is Western's doctoral professional development program offered by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in collaboration with various units across campus. It is a four-year curriculum-based program that facilitates doctoral student self-directed professional development learning and supports doctoral student engagement in maximizing the value and applicability of their doctoral degree for career preparation and development.

The Student Success Centre

The Student Success Centre’s mission is to facilitate the development of career, educational, and life competencies for students and alumni through programs and services that guide successful transitions, foster local and global citizenship, promote leadership opportunities, encourage personal growth, deliver career resources, and ignite active engagement.

Learning Skills Services

Learning Skills Services helps students complete graduate school in a timely manner and is intended for all students, from those seeking to improve academic performance, to those looking to maintain exceptional academic standing. Learning Skills offers one-on-one sessions as well as various workshops to assist you in reaching your academic goals by improving your time management, goal setting, essay planning and helping you deal with test anxiety.

My Grad Skills, developed by the Ontario Consortium for Graduate Professional Skills, is available starting today to any Ontario graduate student. Using their university email account, students can log in to view 18 short, self-paced training units on topics such as how to write a resume, how to conduct a job search, the art of entrepreneurship, teaching and learning, and academic and professional communications.

The online professional development will benefit those who are interested in a career in academia, as well as those seeking to put their credentials to use in business, government or non-profit organizations.

The Teaching Support Centre

The Teaching Support Centre works collaboratively with faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and staff to advance teaching and learning at The University of Western Ontario.


GradPath is your portal to graduate student professional development programs at Western. It highlights information and resources you will need to succeed at each stage of the graduate journey, from coursework through comprehensive exams, thesis writing and publishing to the job search after graduation.

Writing Support Centre

The goal of the Writing Support Centre is to help you develop your skills and realize your potential as a writer. To achieve this goal, the Centre offers free comprehensive writing support to students, faculty, postdoctoral scholars and staff, and all other members of The University of Western Ontario community. Programs and services include one-on-one appointment and drop-in services, as well as workshops and seminars.