The Professional Development Program supports development of well-rounded graduate students so they are prepared to excel in careers in industry, academia or the public sector after graduation. Over the course of the academic year, students are encouraged to attend a wide variety of available seminars, colloquia and workshops delivered by notable engineering leaders in education, research and industry. These seminars allow students to grow in knowledge, network with professionals and peers beyond the classroom and lab and gain exposure to diverse styles of research presentation.

Approved seminars include everything from departmental seminar series, faculty candidate seminars and PhD and MS thesis/dissertation defenses, among other opportunities. One such opportunity is the department's Distinguished Speaker Series where top researchers from other universities across the nation visit for a day and share knowledge and insights with CU Boulder students and faculty. 

The number of required seminars varies based on the degree a student is pursuing: 

  • PhD students: 25 required PDP seminars
  • Professional MS students: 15 required PDP seminars
  • MS Thesis students: 10 required PDP seminars
  • BAM and BSMS: 10 required PDP seminars
  • Dual Degree in Engineering Management and Mechanical Engineering: 15 required PDP seminars

Graduate Student PresentationGraduate students starting in fall 2019 or later must also complete MCEN 5208: Introduction to Research to complete the Research Development Requirement. This course provides a strong foundation in a variety of topics related to research that will prove valuable both as a student and professional, such as ethics in research, literature review and grant writing. For students who started in a term prior to fall 2019, this requirement may be fulfilled either by completion of MCEN 5208 or by completing 7 Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) on an ad hoc basis.

Credit is received for seminars attended by filling out the PDP Seminar Form. Student progress toward completion of the Professional Development Program requirement is tracked through the "ME Graduate Professional Development Program" course on the Canvas platform. If you have any questions about your progress in fulfilling these requirements, please contact the graduate advisors at