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Development and training for postgraduate research (PhD) students

Queen Mary research students have access to training and development opportunities within Researcher Development, other teams and departments at QMUL, and outside QMUL.

Transferable skills

All full-time PhD students at Queen Mary are expected to take part in two weeks of transferable skills training activities per academic year (part-time students should complete a pro-rata rate of training as appropriate). Suggested activities include attending and presenting at conferences, participating in or helping to organise journal clubs, writing groups and seminar series, and attending training courses or workshops. Selection of appropriate activities and courses should form part of your relationship with your supervisor. The training and development activities you take part in should be recorded using the Skills Points System. More information about this system can be found on the Doctoral College website.

Research skills

While Researcher Development (RD) provides many opportunities for PhD students to develop their transferable skills, during your PhD you will obviously require and develop many skills which are more specific to your discipline. These may be technical skills, methods of data analysis, language skills or a wide variety of other research-related skills.

You will probably find that you will develop many of these skills naturally during the early stages of your PhD through a combination of trial-and-error, and interactions with your supervisors and colleagues. Individual schools/institutes also run training sessions on research-related skills, which you are encouraged to attend, and there are also many external courses which you can access. More details about what is offered and expected of you in your discipline can be found from your school/institute.

QMUL PhD Development Programme

The PhD Researcher Development Programme is a series of workshops and training courses run by RD and other providers within QMUL (e.g. Careers, Library, Public Engagement). It is designed to help you recognise and develop key skills and attributes needed to effectively manage your research, and to prepare and plan for the next stages of your career. It also provides opportunities for you to meet other research students and post-docs from different departments and campuses, which can be a valuable and interesting experience.

The programme is very varied and includes courses designed to help you with specific aspects of your PhD (e.g. ‘Writing your Thesis’, ‘The Viva’) as well as courses to help you develop more widely applicable skills (e.g. ‘Mindmapping for Researchers’, ‘Speed Reading for Researcher’, ‘Critical Thinking’). The courses on the programme are delivered by experienced tutors, most of whom have a PhD and experience of research.

The courses offered are divided into three levels, according to which stage of the PhD they are likely to be suitable for. However, everyone’s training needs are different, so you are free to attend courses at whichever stage of your PhD is most appropriate for you.

Level 1 (RD1xx)

These courses are for early stage PhD researchers, in the process of initial data collection and research. These courses will help you get stated with your PhD, learn how to have a productive relationship with your supervisor, manage your data collection and prepare for your first upgrade/report.

Level 2 (RD2xx)

These courses are for PhD students in the second stage of their PhD research and for those students working towards their 18 month report. These courses are designed to help you maintain momentum with your PhD, begin thinking about your career options post-PhD and move towards managing your research more and directing your research towards an end result. Additionally courses will be offered on presenting and disseminating your research.

Level 3 (RD3xx)

These courses are designed for PhD students in the final stages of their PhD including writing up and preparing for your Viva.

Click here to see a full list of workshops and courses that are currently on the programme. To book on a course, visit the QMUL bookings database and search for courses by name, course code or type (Research Student).

For any questions about the PhD Researcher Development Programme, please contact Dr Fryni Panayidou.

Events and competitions

In addition to the RD regular programme of courses and workshops, RD and the Doctoral College also offer events and competitions for postgraduate research students.  These will be advertised on the Doctoral College website, by e-mail, and using posters and fliers, so do keep your eyes open!
Click here to visit the Events page on the Doctoral College website.

External opportunities

Hopefully, during your PhD, you will take advantage of many of the opportunities that exist at Queen Mary. It doesn’t have to stop there though – there are a vast number of events and activities outside QMUL that you can get involved with.
Click here to find out more.

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