Students looking engaged in class.

Graduate students taking a workshop. (courtesy  / Yeats School of Graduate Studies)

The Yeates School of Graduate Studies has expanded and re-launched its professional skills program that includes a new partnership with an online trainer.

Future Smart: Essential Professional Skills for Graduate Students program is focused on helping graduate students develop professional skills that will assist in their post-university transition, career search and in their future career.

Students can take the program after they graduate, and will receive a completion document and a notation on their transcript that will help enhance their graduate degree.

The expanded program includes a new category of skills, which focuses on self-awareness and fundamental human skills sets.

The way we live requires us to not only have knowledge in a specific area of content, but that we know how to work with people, says Jennifer Mactavish, dean of the YSGS. “I think it’s a disadvantage not to have that.”

However, according to Mactavish, there is an assumption that everyone, as humans, all have “people skills,” like communication or interviewing skills.

“We take for granted that people automatically know how to do all these things and [they] don’t,” says Mactavish.

The new category offers workshops to help these fundamental skills such as networking, business etiquette and work search strategies.

The school also announced its new partnership with My Grad Skills, an online resource that offers courses to graduate students and doctorate fellows.

The site offers 18 courses, with topics ranging from entrepreneurship to lesson planning to research management.

Graduate students can take as many online courses they would like, says Leslie Mutic, graduate programs assistant at Ryerson’s School of Graduate Studies.

Three completed courses will count towards their Future Smart completion document explains Mutics. This is to ensure that students are attending the workshops that aid them in developing their people skills.

The Future Smart program features three other skills categories: Communication and Personal Effectiveness; Teaching and Presentation Skills; and Research and Information Management.

The workshops are offered by the program partners, such as Student Learning Support, the Learning and Teaching Office, the Ryerson Library, the Career Centre, Magnet and Mitacs Step.

Mactavish says the program is something students are interested in taking.

“Many of the offerings have come about because graduate students indicated an interest and a desire to expand those skill sets. In fact, much of what we do in the grad school is really about hearing our students and supporting them in ways that they want to be supported,” adds MacTavish.

Future Smart is free to all registered Ryerson graduate students. Students have two years to complete the program and have to participate in seven workshops to complete the program.

Students interested in the program can register online at the graduate studies website.


Reporter at The Ryersonian. Interests include fashion and lifestyle. Jessica graduated from the Ryerson School of Journalism in 2015.