Graduate Student Mentorship Program

The University of Alberta Department of Political Science is dedicated to providing our graduate students with quality learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom.  As part of this commitment, the Department is working with the University of Alberta Career Centre to deliver a Graduate Student Mentorship Program for all Master’s and PhD students in Political Science and Policy Studies.

About the Program

Modeled on the University of Alberta Career Mentoring Program, the Political Science Graduate Student Mentorship Program pairs students with community-based professionals to help them develop the skills, competencies, and networks required to transition into the next stage of their careers. The 12-month program runs for a calendar year, starting in January. Mentees and mentors are provided with an orientation/training session at the outset of the experience, and the Department conducts periodic check-ins with each pair to determine the types of supports they need over the course of the year.

For more information, please contact the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies:  or with AWE


All MA in Policy Studies students are required to participate in the Program. MA and PhD students in Political Science are welcome to participate.  There is no fee associated with the program.

Benefits of Being a Mentee

At the end of the program, mentees will have:

  • Gained information, advice, and guidance from someone with professional experience.
  • Received nonjudgmental feedback on and practice in developing workplace competencies.
  • Discovered new contacts and community connections.
  • Realistic, first-hand information about career paths, jobs, industries, and work settings.
  • Insight and clarity about academic goals and future plans.
  • Self-confidence and experience in professional settings.
  • The ability to recognize unexpected opportunities.

Expectations of Mentees

Mentees are expected to:

  • Own the learning process; practice self-awareness through reflection to understand personal vision (i.e. interests, values, strengths, career desires, etc.).
  • Admit errors and mistakes, recognize procrastination, and take responsibility for actions.
  • Initiate consistent and timely communication with the mentor.
  • Solicit feedback from the mentor regularly.
  • Give feedback to the mentor and demonstrate appreciation for their suggestion.
  • Set SMART goals and have the mentor evaluate them.
  • Evaluate progress by setting performance criteria and tracking achievements.
  • Be open-minded and show interest in new perspectives.
  • Be an active listener (i.e. in meetings, on the phone, in email responses).
  • Use tact in communicating difference of opinion.


Mentors are trusted guides that act as an informal coach, role model, and connector, offering encouragement, guidance, and -- when asked -- advice to students about their career paths.

A great mentor:
  • is recognized as a mentor by their peers.
  • has the desire to help less experienced people.
  • sees solutions and opportunities that help mentees make sense of their goals and challenges.
  • can stimulate a mentee's thinking and reflection.
  • is empathetic to the experiences of a mentee.
  • being a mentor as a way to personally grow and learn.

Benefits of Being a Mentor

At the end of the program, mentors will have:

  • Gained satisfaction in building up the self-worth of a graduate student.
  • Diversified professional networks by exploring new connections on behalf of their mentee.
  • Practiced leadership and interpersonal skills through coaching, communication, and active listening.
  • Helped a graduate student leverage unplanned events in their life and career.
  • Contributed to the long-term growth of their industry.
  • Gained fresh perspective on work-related practices.
  • Experienced career rejuvenation.

Expectations of Mentors

Mentors are expected to:

  • Be available to meet with their mentee virtually or in-person (as circumstances allow).
  • Draw on personal experience, successes, failures, and insights to assist their mentee.
  • Want to improve their skills as a mentor.
  • Be available for the time and frequency agreed upon in the Mentoring Agreement (minimum once bi-monthly).
  • Be open to giving and receiving feedback with their mentee.
  • Be interested in learning from someone with a different background and experiences

Have an impact today! Sign up to be a mentor to help other students like Rissa take the next steps in their career. If you are interested in getting involved, please complete this expression of interest form. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact