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CDT Handbook

Welcome to the Analytical Science CDT

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the University of Warwick and to the Analytical Science Centre for Doctoral Training (AS CDT). We hope you’ll have a productive and very enjoyable time here. Our aim is to provide you with an environment where you can greatly enrich your knowledge and scientific experience; undertake high quality research; and play a full part in creating our exciting multidisciplinary scientific community.

The training given in the MSc or Certificate will give you a well-rounded view of many different areas of science. This will equip you for your PhD in analytical science, with significant multidisciplinary and industry engagement.

You are from a variety of different disciplines and this is one of the strengths of this programme. The strengths that you have will enable you to help those who have less experience in your discipline and vice versa. Interaction with your colleagues will provide you with an invaluable network of professional contacts.

We shall support you throughout your time with us and there are many opportunities to learn skills that will help you in your future career.

As with many things in life – the more you put in, the more you get out!

This handbook is an important resource that you should read carefully. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will answer them or direct you to someone who can. We assume any information we give you in handbooks, emails, or in meetings has been understood and accepted unless you tell us otherwise.

Professor Steven Brown, AS CDT Director

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The Analytical Science CDT Centre

The CDT centre has hosted 3 generations of Physical Science CDT over 14 years: MOAC DTC, MAS CDT and now the Analytical Science CDT. The centre is a community of students, academics and administrative staff, as well as hosting the Chemistry MSc students. Everyone benefits a great deal from being based in Senate House. It is important to make the most of the facilities we have but also to help keep the environment a pleasant and inviting place for people to visit. The MSc students, although the newest members, play a very important part in making the centre an effective place for multidisciplinary science—simply because they are physically in the centre the most.

The centre hosts the Analytical Science CDT, MAS CDT, Chemistry MSc students, MRC DTP IBR MSc students and the Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science office.

You can read the common room and workroom rules here.

During the week, the sliding doors at the front of Senate House are card access only from 7:00 pm, if your card access is not working please visit the admin office.

The people you will see in the department on a regular basis:
Director of Analytical Science CDT and MAS CDT PhD Director

Professor Steven Brown – Physics - - Ext: 74359

Director of MAS CDT

Professor Pat Unwin - Chemistry - - Ext 23264 or 22187

Analytical Science CDT MSc Director & Director of Chemistry PGT

Dr Nikola Chmel - Chemistry - - Ext 23234 (02476 523234)


Emilie Day - / - Ext: 75808

Christina Forbes - - Ext: 24621

Katie Robertson - - Ext: TBC

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CDT 1 + 3 Training Route

The 1 + 3 year programme consists of a one year taught MSc in Molecular Analytical Science (F1PL) followed by a three year PhD in Analytical Science (F1P9), in which you undertake a research project based in two or more different disciplines.

The purpose of the MSc is to provide all the students with the skills and knowledge needed to perform effectively in analytical science research, develop new techniques and methodologies and apply them in creative ways to solve real-world problems. To that effect, training in exploiting synergies between different experimental methods and in harnessing the power of combining data collection with experimental design, statistical analysis, modelling, and simulation will be undertaken. The disciplines covered include chemistry, physics, statistics, mathematics, biology, engineering and computer science.

The centre has been established through collaboration with our industrial partners, as a result during the MSc you will have unique opportunity to work very closely with current industry leaders on exciting analytical science projects.

On the 1+3 route progression to the PhD programme will require a student to have obtained either a Merit or a Distinction on the MSc.

You will find different aspects of the course more or less challenging depending on your background. Part of being an effective multi-disciplinary scientist is to be able to communicate what you know and understand to colleagues from different backgrounds. To help you gain these skills throughout the MSc you will be encouraged to teach and learn from each other.

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Direct PhD Training Route

If you are on the Direct PhD in Analytical Science (F1P9) route you will formally start your PhD in the October of your first year but will then undertake 6 modules (60 CATS) from the MSc course from term 1 and 2 of your first year (see below for list of modules). In order to progress to the PhD programme, students must pass the modules with at least a Merit average. This will lead to the conferral of a Postgraduate Certificate in Molecular Analytical Science.

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MSc Modules

Taught Core modules term 1 & 2

Term 1 Modules

CH915 - Principles and techniques in analytical science

CH921 - Frontier Instrumental Techniques for Analytical Sciences

CH922 - Microscopy and imaging

CH923 - Statistics for data analysis


CH932 - Introduction to Chemistry and Biochemistry (discontinued for 2021/22)

Term 2 Modules

CH948 - Warwick Interdisciplinary Science Transferable Skills (1+3 students only)


CH908 - Mass spectrometry

CH911 - Chromatography and separation science

CH914 - Electrochemistry & Sensors

CH916 - Magnetic resonance

CH986 - X-ray and Neutron Techniques

AS CDT Formal Requirements

MSc & PG Certificate


When you are enrolled on a module (for either the MSc or Certificate) there is an expectation that you will attend all of the scheduled lectures and workshops and labs. If you are unable to attend a session you need to complete the absence form.

The main undergraduate university term dates do not relate to the MSc course. Lectures will take place in term-time but exams and projects all take place during vacation time. If you need to be away during the MSc year please check the timings with the admin office and see the CDT term dates below.

If you do not attend all compulsory parts of the course you may be unable to complete your MSc/PhD and your stipend may be stopped.

The full course handbook will be available on Moodle at the start of term. This will outline all regulations including exams, assessment and extenuating circumstances.

MSc Requirements

To pass the AS CDT MSc, the University MSc regulations require students to pass at least 150 CATS out of the 180 CATS required for an MSc degree. 50% is the pass mark. The remaining 30 CATS must be above 40%.

For an MSc with Merit to be awarded, the University requires an average of 60% or above to be obtained. In addition, AS CDT requires the student to have obtained at least 150 CATS at 60% or above.

For an MSc with Distinction to be awarded, the University requires an average of 70% to be obtained. In addition, AS CDT requires the student to have obtained at least 150 CATS at 70% or above.

If a student achieves an overall module mark beneath 50% they have the option to re-sit the components marked below 50% once. However, the whole module or research project mark would then be capped at 50%.

The Warwick Interdisciplinary Science Transferable Skills module CH948 is assessed as pass/fail and must be passed.

Where the weighted average for classification is within 2 percentage points of the borderline for the Distinction or Merit category, students should be promoted if at least 50% of the weighted credits counting towards the classification are above the class boundary and this should include the compulsory dissertation/project where applicable.

In order to progress to the PhD programme, 1+3 students must achieve either a Merit or a Distinction on the MSc.

PG Certificate Requirements

To pass the AS CDT PG Certificate, the University regulations require you to complete 60 CATS. The award of Postgraduate Certificate should be with Merit if a student attains an Award Average (weighted according to the credit rating of the modules comprised within the award) of between 60.0 and 69.9 inclusive and with Distinction if a student attains an Award Average of 70.0 or above. No student may receive an award with Merit or Distinction if the student has not received the minimum pass mark for any module, unless there are mitigating circumstances. Where there are mitigating circumstances, the Mitigating Circumstances Panel may make recommendations to the relevant Examination Board as to the extent to which these special circumstances should be taken into account.

Where the weighted average for classification is within 2 percentage points of the borderline for the Distinction or Merit category, students should be promoted if at least 50% of the weighted credits counting towards the classification are above the class boundary and this should include the compulsory dissertation/project where applicable.

In order to progress to the PhD programme, students must pass the modules with at least a Merit average.

Progression Procedure

The procedure for progression for direct-start PhD students to their PhD projects is available here.

PhD Requirements

AS CDT’s system of quality assurance for PhD students is a combination of meetings with the PhD Director and meetings with an advisory committee. In both cases recommendations for progression will be made which the student should follow up. Each student has their own 2-person advisory committee whose members are appointed by the PhD Director in consultation with their supervisors. AS CDT staff will then confirm with the nominees that they are prepared to undertake this role.

The monitoring system includes 6 monthly reports and a plan for the next 6 months. The report must be submitted using the online form in the PhD portal according to the following deadlines:

  AC to be arranged and secured in members diaries before: Preparation Report to be submitted (using online form) by: Advisory Committee to take place between: Meeting with PhD Director
AC Meeting 1 Mid December  Beginning of January   Mid Jan - Mid Feb March
AC Meeting 2 Mid June Beginning of July Mid July to Mid Aug September

Your advisory committee meetings are meant to help you identify where you are with your project. They are to establish:

  • That the progress seen is appropriate to the stage of the research programme;
  • That the research methods are appropriate and practical;
  • If any theoretical and practical difficulties are hindering the project;
  • If the level of contact with supervisor(s) is adequate;
  • That a realistic plan is in place for completion of the research within the expected time frame;
  • Goals to be achieved before the next advisory committee meeting.

During each advisory committee meeting, the online copy of the PhD Advisory Committee formLink opens in a new window is to be completed, and the meeting is designed to offer you a chance to speak candidly about your project, supervision and your time at Warwick in general, and to raise any issues or concerns which might be impacting your progress or performance.

All Advisory Committee members have been provided with the following guidance to help inform the conversation:

It is agreed that the purpose of the advisory panel meetings is to support the student. This does not necessarily need to be in the form of scientific expertise, however, it can be beneficial to have an adjacent understanding of the science.

We are aiming to provide a forum for the student to update on the progress of their project, provide them with general advice about completing a PhD, and checking on their welfare and wellbeing.

When performing the meeting I work from the following form:

It is helpful to have one of the advisory panel members act as secretary to collect notes during the meeting in the online form.

To begin, ask the students to give an update on their project, this is usually in the form of a presentation ~5-10 minutes. Then follows a discussion around the science, offering suggestions, especially those that may not be immediately obvious to the student’s research group.

Then proceed through the questions in the form.

Some of these questions may be irrelevant, for example use of multiple techniques, as often it can be the case that there is a focus on one particular technique. Even if so the student should be made aware of complimentary techniques.

Advice for students is discussed with them throughout the meeting, subjects such as finding relevant conferences to attend and working on papers or their thesis depending on the stage of their PhD.

Advice for supervisors is a chance for the student to speak honestly, but politely, about anything that they think their supervisor could implement.

Advice for CDT are things that the panel members can bring up to the management committee about the running of the CDT. This could be around topics of talks in weekly seminar, thoughts on engagement with the CDT, and even the content of the advisory panel questionnaire.

The whole meeting is a chance for students to speak candidly about their project/supervision/time at Warwick and we should encourage them to voice any concerns. This is also a chance for the panel members to voice their experience of working towards and PhD and scientific research.

It is important to remember that this is an advisory meeting, not a viva.

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PhD Students are not required to carry out demonstrating/ teaching within their host department(s). If students would like to volunteer for demonstrating/ teaching they must first obtain approval from the AS CDT Director and their supervisor(s). Students need to be provided with appropriate training and receive appropriate payment. You are encouraged to get involved with demonstrating for the AS MSc course.

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Seminars and Meetings

In addition to carrying out your core academic work, during your MSc and PhD you will also follow the quality assurance process by attending weekly Wednesday seminars, weekly MSc meetings, and the CDT Annual Conference.

During term time, all students attending modules have a compulsory group tutor meeting in order to identify any concerns. It is assumed that all information conveyed during this time has been formally passed on.

Every department runs their own seminar programme. PhD students are required to attend the AS/MAS CDT seminar and at least one other seminar each week.

External seminars can be found here:

Chemistry Dept RSC Lecture Series

Materials GRP events

Physics Dept Seminars

Engineering Dept Seminars

Statistics Dept Seminars

Warwick Centre for Predictive Modelling Seminars

WMG Seminars

CDT Annual Conference

Part of the centre’s funding covers an Annual Conference for all students and staff. The conferences are multi-day events held away from Warwick, with self-catering meals planned and cooked by the student cohorts, scientific content from students, and visiting speakers.

All students will present their work. We usually ask students to present as follows:-

  • MSc year - flash presentation and poster
  • PhD year 1 - flash presentation and poster
  • PhD year 2 - 15 min presentation and poster
  • PhD year 3 - flash presentation

Attendance at the Annual Conference is mandatory for all students.

You can see photos from previous Annual Conferences here:

Transferable Skills

You will follow the university transferable skills training programme by taking CH948 during your MSc and the ‘Warwick Post Graduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science’ during your PhD. The Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science has been accredited by the Royal Society of ChemistryLink opens in a new window, the Royal Society of BiologyLink opens in a new window and the Institute of PhysicsLink opens in a new window. Progress in your Transferable Skills Certificate will be monitored by your Advisory Committee.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

The CDT Administrator will contact you to make arrangements for you to attend CH953, CH954, and CH955, which are often run in collaboration with other CDTs. Some of these modules are usually be arranged as a residential course. You will be required to attend on the dates given.

You will take:

 CH953 Team Working in a Research Environment in March/April of your first PhD year (Warwick)

 CH954 Science Communication in April of your second PhD year (London)

 CH955 Decision Making and Leadership in December of your third PhD year (Windsor)

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Health and Safety Inductions

All students are required to attend all relevant safety induction sessions in all of the Departments in which they are to work.

More in-depth safety training will be given at the start of MSc mini projects or PhD projects. There will also be lab-specific training which your Supervisors will advise you on.

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Attendance, Holidays and Absences

Attendance at taught MSc sessions (lectures, workshops, laboratory practicals etc.) is mandatory.

PGR leave policies can be found on the Doctoral College page. You are encouraged to discuss any reasons for absence with the Administrator, who can advise you on the options available to you and support you with the process.

Sick leave

Less than one week: please submit a completed absence form for periods absence due to illness of less than one week.

For one week or more: please submit medical certification as well as the completed absence form. Your medical certificate must be signed, in English, cover the entire duration of sick leave, and state the start date and duration of the absence.

Paid sick leave: you may request paid sick leave pursuant to the policy on the Doctoral College's webpage, which provides for 13 weeks of sick leave in a rolling 12-month period. You will need to complete the Doctoral College's Sick Pay Form to ensure that your stipend continues to be paid.

You may also need to take a period of Temporary Withdrawal, which can be requested via Student Records Online, if the occurrence of sick leave is more than 28 calendar days. When you return to studies, you will be asked for a fit note from your doctor to ensure you are ready to return to your studies. This should be submitted with your Resumption from Temporary Withdrawal at Student Records Online.

Mitigating Circumstances (taught modules only)

If there are personal or medical difficulties impacting on your ability to study for or complete assessments, you may need to report mitigating circumstances. This should be done via the Personal Circumstances tab on Tabula, or for research students, via the Absence Form. Mitigating Circumstances should be reported as soon as possible, before the submission deadline.

Please refer to the policy here: Microsoft Word - Mit Circs policy_Sep2019 revision ( and Advice for Students here.

When laboratory sessions are missed on an unauthorised basis, you will be required to meet with the Director to discuss the reason for your absence in more detail.

Annual leave

It is important that students take time out from their studies for a break in order to maintain an appropriate work/life balance. Taking a period of annual leave does not alter the end date of your degree programme.

Please agree your annual leave with your supervisor/s well in advance, and then log it on the absence form. You should not take more than four weeks of annual leave at a time, and should seek to manage your annual leave so that it does not adversely impact your studies. Annual leave may not be carried over from one year to the next.

The timing of leave for MSc students is prescribed by their timetable.

Other absence

Periods of absence due to causes other than illness (e.g. holidays, other external commitments and conferences) should be agreed in advance with the Administrators as well as any relevant module leaders or supervisors, prior to the time of absence. You must complete the online form for each period of absence.

Warwick also offers parental leave. Further details can be found on the Doctoral College pages and the CDT Administrator can support you with the process.

If you do not attend all compulsory parts of the course you may be unable to complete your MSc and your stipend may be stopped.

Monitoring Points

The CDT is required by the University to monitor your attendance and engagement with your course of study. In order to satisfy these monitoring points, MSc students are required to attend Wednesday seminars and submit assessed work for the MSc exam board. PhD students are required to attend CDT Wednesday seminars and the CDT Annual Conference as well as meeting meet regularly with their Supervisor.

The monitoring points scheme for MSc students is available here; and for PhD students is available here.

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Wellbeing support, Reasonable Adjustments and flexibility

Warwick has a comprehensive Wellbeing Support Services team, offering self-help resources, masterclasses, psychological interventions and therapies, and support with disabilities. The Wellbeing team can make recommendations for reasonable adjustments needed to manage the impact of your condition on your studies.

If you would like to change your mode of study to work part-time at 60% FTE, please seek the agreement of your supervisor and discuss it with the CDT Administrator. You can then request a change of mode via Student Records Online.

CDT Term dates

University term dates

Welcome week Week 0

University Autumn Term Week 1 - Week 10

MSc Exams Week 12

Christmas Break Week 

University Spring Term Week 15 - 24

MSc Revision/Exams Week Week 23-25

Mini Project 1 11 weeks Week 27-37

Mini Project 2 11 weeks Week 38 - 49

Final MSc presentations and results Week 52

Statutory and Customary Holidays

Please click here for the latest statutory and customary leave dates for the current academic year.


Student-Staff Liaison Committees (SSLCs) are student-led committees that form the basis for the representation of students' views within the department and at higher University committees. They are an integral feature of the University's quality assurance framework. SSLCs provide a forum for academic staff and students to discuss issues relating to a module, course, department or centre. The SSLCs are student-led and organised forums.

AS CDT and the Department of Chemistry have postgraduate SSLCs; you can view details here. If you would like to be involved, please speak with the current SSLC chair. All SSLC representatives should attend one of the SSLC training sessions.

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Personal Details and Email Accounts

It is the student’s responsibility to update their centrally held record via Student Records Online with any changes in contact details (address, phone number, emergency contacts).

We will usually communicate with you via your University of Warwick email account, or sometimes via MS Teams. Please check your University e-mail account at least once per day, unless this is impossible due to down times of the University’s IT system or because you have arranged to take holiday. It will be assumed that any message is received within 24 hours of being sent. Students are responsible for keeping the administration office informed if there are any problems with their University e-mail account so that alternative contact arrangements can be made.

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Computing and Printing

You will be provided with a laptop at the beginning of your course; this remains the property of the CDT. Students will be expected to keep their laptop safe and advise the Administrator should any fault arise. You will need to make sure that you have included your laptop in your home contents insurance.

The CDT provides its students with free printing:

  • HP Laserjet (Black & White) in the MSc Student Study room
  • Kyocera MFP in the common room (scanning and printing and photocopying)

Here are instructions on printing from a MacBook.

Here are instructions on printing from a personal Windows laptop.

Printing and Scanning (

The CDT also owns an A0/A1 poster printer which students can use for research and teaching purposes. To use it, you will need to sign the online form on the computer next to the printer.

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Books and Periodicals

As a matter of courtesy, students are requested to replace all reading material after use. The CDT has a library for the benefit of students. Books must not be removed from the common room. If they are used in a student office then they must be returned to the library shelves at the end of each day.

If you feel there is a book which would benefit you and the other students and it cannot be found in either the library or the University library, please tell the Administrators.

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PhD Budget Management

All CDT students are allocated their own consumables and travel budgets which is managed by their supervisor. Students will have stores codes in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering or other department as appropriate.

You can order goods using the online ordering system called OPeRA. Guides are available here.

Reports on your budget expenditure will be made available to you on a regular basis.

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Expenses and Travel Guidelines

It is expected that PhD students will attend one international conference over the funded year period as well as 1-2 one-day UK meetings each year.

Any expenditure under £100 should be paid for and a reimbursement requested using your consumables code via Concur. You need to keep and submit all relevant receipts otherwise claims cannot be reimbursed. Any other expenditure should be requested via CC the Administrator.

It is expected that you will maximise what you can achieve with your budget, i.e. do things as cheaply as possible! You must also abide by Warwick’s financial regulations.

All PG students are required to log details of their overseas travel arrangements with the Chemistry Finance Office for all work trips here.

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