Universities are renovating the formats and configurations of their doctoral programs to become more international, collaborative and attentive to labor market needs. In a competitive global setting doctoral programs compete to attract students, promote international partnerships, engage with industry and provide students with the social capital necessary for future employability. A quantitative study of 149 PhD students in 15 collaborative doctoral programs between Portugal and three US universities offers insight into doctoral programs structured around international mobility, collaborative research projects, and university-industry collaborations. The survey results show that doctoral students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields value programs that promote academic opportunities with international networks and participation in research projects. Social capital seems to have been acquired mainly through networks and contacts with other researchers and peers. The results reveal the limitations of the university-industry collaborations and that most students continue to anticipate employment in academia.