OCPD Peer Teams

The OCPD offers small-group “peer teams” to guide UCSF doctoral students and postdocs through critical moments in their career and professional development.

Based on the peer team model developed as part of UCSF’s Making INformed Decisions (MIND) program, our Peer Teams are small groups (5-7 students/postdocs) led by facilitators, which support their members in making significant progress toward a shared career/professional development goal. Peer teams support this process by providing advice, accountability, shared experiences, and cheerleading. Facilitators, who are OCPD career counselors or interns, provide advice and mentorship. They also help peer teams share time equitably, and keep the focus on problem-solving.

Any student/postdoc who is committed to making significant progress toward a relevant goal in the course of one quarter is welcome to participate.

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


Peer Team Topics

The OCPD will next offer peer teams in Winter 2024 (January-March). Students/postdocs from all disciplines (basic/biomedical and social/behavioral sciences) are welcome in all peer teams. Below are the peer team topics that were offered in 2023. 

  • First-Year Graduate Student Peer Teams: These peer teams are designed for first-year graduate students who would like peer support as they navigate classes, lab rotations, developing community and mentorship. Students who participate in this peer team will work through OCPD resources for choosing a thesis lab or research group.
  • Career Exploration Peer Teams: These peer teams are designed for students/postdocs who would like to identify one to three career paths that interest them, and research those careers in more depth. Students/postdocs who participate in the peer team will work through OCPD resources for conducting informational interviews to expand their network and learn more about career paths.
  • Applying for Jobs and Internships​: These peer teams are designed for students/postdocs who are currently applying for jobs and/or internships. Students/postdocs who participate in this peer team will work through OCPD resources for finding and applying for opportunities, interviewing, and negotiating. 

How Peer Teams Work

Students/postdocs selected to participate in Peer Teams commit to participating in the following activities:

  • Attending at least two live meetings:
    • Peer Team Kickoff and Finale (One hour each; required)
    • Weekly Peer Team meet-ups (One hour per week; optional)
  • Checking in weekly with your peer team (asynchronous, via Slack):
    • Every Monday, start working on assigned activities for the week
    • Every Friday, let your peer team know how the activities went
  • Commit to completing specific goals related to your peer team (such as lab rotations; informational interviews; job or internship applications; etc.) during the Peer Team. (Your peer team Facilitator will help you set useful and realistic goals.)
  • Complete 1-2 hours of professional development "homework" each week, assigned by your Facilitator. Depending on your goals and your peer team, this work might include research, watching and taking notes on instructional videos, or completing assigned readings.

See info session slides


  • As part of our commitment to dismantling structural racism and the impact of bias, we embed equity within the decision-making criteria in selecting participants. We especially invite applications from students/postdocs who belong to historically excluded groups. 
  • ​​​​​​Graduate students applying for Career Exploration and Applying for Jobs and Internships peer teams should have passed (or will pass) their qualifying exams by the Spring 2023 quarter. 
  • All postdocs with a postdoctoral title code are eligible for the Career Exploration and Getting Experience peer teams. 
  • If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact us!

How to Apply

Applications for Winter 2024 peer teams will open in late Fall 2023. The purpose of the application is so that we can be sure a peer team is a good fit for your goals. To be notified when the application is available, please sign up for our listserv.

Join our Listserv

The application includes:

1. General applicant information

2. Three short answer essay questions

Applicants from historically excluded backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply. 

PLEASE NOTE: You must complete this application in one sitting (you will not be able to exit the survey and return to it again). Please preview the application and allow about 30 minutes to complete it. 

Upcoming Events


How to inclusively hire: Which strategies will you use?

Date: May 30, 2024
Time: 12 - 2 p.m.

OCPD Office Hours (for Graduate Students and Postdocs)

Date: May 30, 2024
Time: 9 - 10 a.m.

OCPD Office Hours (for Graduate Students and Postdocs)

Date: June 4, 2024
Time: 12 -1 p.m.