Graduate School Development programme

Supporting you through your training and development needs

As a postgrad research degree student, you'll attend subject-specific online and face-to-face training and workshops as part of the Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP).

We've specifically designed the GSDP to support you at key doctoral milestones, and to help you become both an independent researcher and employable doctoral graduate. Our aim is to help you develop the research, professional and transferable skills you need to succeed in your research degree and beyond.

We work with the very best tutors from across the university to bring you high-quality and engaging development opportunities. You'll also hear from experienced researchers about their real life experiences of doing research and what lessons they have learned along the way.

The GSDP is also a great opportunity for you to build networks across the university, meet other postgraduate researchers and talk about your research.

What does the GSDP cover?

By the time you complete your thesis, you'll be expected to have developed high-level critical reading and writing skills. Our workshops offer a supportive environment in which you can work to develop Doctoral process your skills as an academic writer.

Identifying relevant literature and referencing it correctly is a crucial skill for doctoral researchers. In these workshops you'll learn how to find literature effectively, keep up-to-date with ease and work with references.

Successful researchers are highly-skilled at managing research projects and their own time – and our workshops in personal effectiveness will help you make the transition to doctoral research be developing your ability to manage your work and your time effectively.

There are certain milestones you'll need to navigate during your doctoral journey. Through these workshops and online modules, we'll demystify the research degree process and help you to understand what is required at each milestone.

Research governance is a core skill for all researchers – and our GSDP workshops will help to ensure you meet your ethical and legal obligations, and make the research process run smoothly.

A robust and carefully considered research design is a fundamental part of good research. These workshops will help you understand the philosophical underpinnings of research and kick-start the process of designing your own research project.

Once you have decided on a research question and overall research design, these workshops will help you think carefully about the details of your research design and consider how you'll collect your data.

These workshops will help you plan your data analysis and present your findings to the best effect, and make even the most stats-phobic student feel confident working with data.

Excellent research is nothing if we cannot communicate it effectively to other researchers and the wider public. In these workshops you'll learn how to communicate and promote your work to a variety of audiences.

Whatever your goals and motivations, our career development workshops will help you consider and plan your next steps, and make the most of the opportunities available to you during your research degree.

Watch GSDP workshops online

GSDP workshops that take place on campus are regularly recorded and made available at on our GSDP moodle site. These videos are updated throughout the academic year.

The video resources are a useful refresher for students who have already attended a workshop and can also provide information to those unable to attend the face-to-face sessions. Please note, recordings are made at the discretion of the workshop facilitator, so not all sessions are recorded.

Skills Forge

Once you start your research degree with us, you'll be able to use your university account details to book onto and record any training and development you attend using Skills Forge – a web-based system where you can manage your professional research and excellence skills (PRaXiS) development.

You can also record supervisory meeting minutes and notes, external training and development events, and conferences you may have attended as part of your training and development on Skills Forge.

Further training and development for researchers

Alongside our Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP), we also provide our postgraduate research degree students with additional training and development opportunities.

Subject specific training

As a postgraduate research degree student, you'll need to develop a range of research and transferable skills. In addition to the research skills you'll gain through your GSDP training, you'll also be able to make use of the subject-specific training available to you through your faculty.

You can search and book these workshops through Skills Forge and, as with GSDP events, they'll appear in your development summary so there's an accessible record of your training and development activities, ready for your major and annual review.

Online training and development

Online training resources for postgraduate research students are available which cover all aspects of the doctoral process and skills for researchers. You can self-enrol onto these self-paced resources on Moodle (our virtual training environment).

Available sessions include:

  • Introduction to Writing the Literature Review
  • Project Management for Research
  • Introduction to Research Ethics and Research Integrity
  • Preparing for Your Doctoral Viva Voce Examination
  • Preparing for Your Major Review
  • Managing the Supervisory Relationship
  • Planning and Writing Your Thesis
  • Using MS Excel for Data Analysis
  • Introduction to Research Data and Document Management

Partnership training with the University of East Anglia

This online training is delivered in partnership with the University of East Anglia, and offers research and professional skills training in a ‘live-taught’ online format. Training sessions are delivered via a virtual classroom on Tuesday evenings between 7pm-9pm. Five different modules are available, covering:

  • Academic writing
  • Qualitative research skills
  • Finishing your PhD
  • Teaching Skills
  • Quantitative research skills

These sessions can also be recorded on Skills Forge and count towards your yearly research development activities.

I would have no hesitation in recommending these courses to UoP PGRs – especially if an early evening slot that you can attend from home would fit your circumstances. The materials to support the sessions are provided the following day and this includes the recording of the session. I would have thought this would be particularly valuable to those for whom English is a second language.

Caroline Kovacs, PhD School of Computing is an online training resource which is free to all our postgraduate research degree students. provides a library of more than 5,000 courses on business, software, and creative skills – some of which will be directly relevant to research degree students, while others provide more general skills training such as Microsoft Office, SPSS, and Nvivo.

Graduate Students Professional Development (GPROF)

The GPROF, delivered by the Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement (DCQE), is mandatory for postgraduate students who are involved in any teaching activity and work as demonstrators and tutors.

Postgraduate students are permitted to teach, after they have attended the GPROF induction session and completed their action plans, and as long as they're either engaged in or have completed the programme. It's also part of the University’s APEX framework and can be taken forwards towards accreditation by the UK Higher Education Academy.

Postgraduate students who wish to participate in GPROF should complete the application form and ask their department to sign the document, indicating their consent. For further information please visit the DCQE website.

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