Personal Development

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Graduate school is supposed to be hard. But, it can also be humane and healthy, and a place where you can thrive. Staying mentally and physically healthy is not just important, it is the most important thing. Many people and resources at MIT are dedicated to supporting graduate students’ health and well-being. We invite you to explore new avenues for your own personal development, and:

  • Embrace the reality that effort, learning, and failure play their own role in the ultimate achievement of our goals
  • Find a healthy balance between work and life
  • Care for the your emotions and the emotions of others, and make mindful choices that align with your beliefs
  • Learn how to receive and share constructive criticism
  • Discover and articulate your personal values

Mind Hand Heart

  1. MindHandHeart is a coalition of students, faculty, and staff  working collaboratively and strategically to strengthen the fabric of our MIT community. Mind Hand Heart aims for awareness of our “heart” to be fully alive on our campus, inseparable from “mind and hand” and equally valued as a component of our success in making a better world.

MHH promotes mental health and well-being to reduce depression and the risk of suicide through:

  • The MHH Innovation Fund, seeding novel approaches to wellbeing and mentoring passionate students as their innovative ideas develop.
  • A volunteer coalition bringing voices from across the Institute together to solve problems and develop opportunities.
  • Strategic partnerships designed to connect MHH with other culture-shaping initiatives promoting respect, health, and our shared humanity.
  • The Department Support Program, an effort to strengthen the welcoming and inclusive nature of our academic climates.


More Ways to Grow

Find balance and make some time for your interests and passions:

MIT Physical Education (PE) classes – Offered quarterly and open to grad students – sports, yoga, swimming, dance, first aid, martial arts, outdoor education, and more.
Community Wellness – Classes and resources for stress reduction, exercise, mindfulness, sleep, healthy eating, family support, etc.
The MIT Hobby Shop – a fully-equipped wood and metal shop that teaches students the art of thoughtful design.

Embrace Failure

FAIL! is a grad student and alumni-led initiative challenging companies, universities, and society to embrace a culture that is accepting of failures and the lessons they can provide. FAIL seeks to change the culture in companies, universities, and society in general by creating a more understanding and accepting environment towards failures. Each semester, the initiative brings high-profile individuals such as experts, CEO’s, or professors to talk about their personal failures, societal failures, and collective failures, and how they learned from them. 

Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life (ORSEL)

ORSEL’s mission is to empower all MIT students holistically as they seek to find integration and balance in their academic, social, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

ORSEL affiliates support on-campus programming, provide confidential one-on-one counseling, and advise student religious organizations. Religious, spiritual, moral and ethical convictions are important personal identity markers, and the Institute encourages the MIT community to thoughtfully engage with today’s pluralistic world.

PhDs: Suggestions for Every Stage

Close-up of an intricately-woven web of netting.

Research Mentoring Certificate

This certificate program is designed for PhDs and postdocs who wish to develop their mentoring skills and grow their practice of productive and inclusive research mentoring.

A group of hands holding puzzle pieces.


Staff in the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) provide advice and counsel on a variety of issues including faculty/student relationships, changing your advisor, conflict negotiation, funding, academic progress, interpersonal concerns, and a student’s rights and responsibilities.


Dissertation Dispatch: The Grad School Survival Guide

Graduate school can be hard. And during difficult moments, advice from peers who have walked a similar path can make you feel less alone. That’s why the Graduate Professional Development team is putting together a “Survival Guide” of real advice, …

By Tara Thakurta
Tara Thakurta Graduate Community Fellow
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Redefine success, identify challenges, and flip failure this new year!

Life comes with its fair set of challenges. The goal of building resilience is to equip yourself to weather life’s challenges as they arise. Much of that work involves redefining what success and failure mean and finding ways to use …

By Tara Thakurta
Tara Thakurta Graduate Community Fellow
Read more

New Professional Development Certificates for PhDs and Postdocs

Applications are now open

We are excited to announce that applications are now open for two new professional development certificate programs for PhDs and postdocs for AY 2023-2024: the Research Mentoring Certificate and the Grant Writing Training Certificate. Applications for …

By Amanda Cornwall
Amanda Cornwall Graduate Student Professional Development
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Chancellor’s Community Innovation Fund Is Back!

The Chancellor’s Community Innovation Fund is back!

Founded and supported by the Office of the Chancellor, the Community Innovation Fund seeks to leverage the creativity and problem-solving skills of MIT students, staff, and faculty to strengthen the fabric of our …

By Tara Thakurta
Tara Thakurta Graduate Community Fellow
Read more

Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership Workshop Series: Fall 2023

The Graduate Program in Engineering Leadership Program is pleased to announce the Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership Workshop Series for Fall 2023.

We invite you to register and attend our series, which count toward satisfying requirements toward our certificate. The …

By Tara Thakurta
Tara Thakurta Graduate Community Fellow
Read more

Featured Resources


Survival Guide for Women of Color

How to protect your bright mind from the drain of everyday racism you may encounter in academic life.

CAPD Podcast Playlist: Professional Development & Career Competencies

Check out CAPD’s ever-expanding playlist of podcasts offering insight into professional development & career competencies.

American Council of Learned Societies: Pathways to Non-Academic Careers for PhDs

Interested in non-academic career paths for humanities & social sciences PhDs? Watch the recording of the American Council of Learned …

The New York Times: The Working Woman’s Handbook

Check out this collection of articles from the New York Times addressing women in the workplace.

“The workplace still isn’t …

Life in Academe: “Conspiracy, Complaining, and Cooking”

In this article published in Inside Higher Ed, Nassim Parvin shares three concepts that serve to illustrate her post-PhD life …

Berkeley Science of Gratitude Journaling

Want to practice gratitude? Check out Berkeley’s step-by-step guide for Gratitude Journaling, an important skill for graduate student development, professionally …