Skip to main content

Graduate College Mentoring Certificate

The Graduate College Mentoring Certificate Program supports and recognizes the development of intentional mentoring practices in a research context.

Pursuing the certificate provides an opportunity to enhance skills, gain experience, and engage in reflection and growth as a mentor. Mentoring others and guiding their work is crucial for success in many common career paths for graduate students and postdocs, so pursuing the Graduate College Mentoring Certificate can be a productive way to prepare for those paths. It is also one way that the Graduate College celebrates graduate students' and postdocs' contributions to the research enterprise at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The certificate is available to any graduate student or postdoctoral scholar at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who completes the three requirements below. If you have questions, contact us at

Certificate Requirements

1. Complete 3 hours of mentorship training

  • Attend at least 3 hours of mentorship training, offered by the Graduate College (see upcoming workshops here). Training offered by another entity may count toward this requirement, with approval from the Graduate College (contact Note: This requirement was formerly 4 hours.
  • Training should address topics including mentoring in a research setting, inclusive mentoring and diversity, setting expectations, and feedback and communication.

2. Mentor a student one-on-one for at least 40 hours

  • At least 40 hours of research should have been supervised before submitting this application.
  • To qualify, you must have been the primary mentor overseeing the mentee’s research project.
  • Mentors should consider encouraging mentees to present their research (in the Undergraduate Research Symposium or other venue).
  • If you are interested in gaining mentoring experience, consider applying to be a mentor in the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program.

3. Mentoring Philosophy and Reflections

  • Mentoring Philosophy: Describe the core principles that guide your mentoring, including your motivations and goals for a mentoring relationship. (approximately 200-300 words)
  • Reflection #1: How has your experience as a research mentor shaped your mentoring philosophy and your future approach to mentoring? What went well, what went less well, and how do you plan to adapt your approach in the future? (approximately 250 words)
  • Reflection #2: How did you or would you implement the mentoring strategies and best practices you learned in your mentorship training? (approximately 250 words)
  • Reflection #3: How do you make your mentoring inclusive? What role does mentoring play in increasing the diversity of participation in academic research? (approximately 250 words)

Submit Certificate Application Here