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MAS CDT Handbook 2018/19








I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the University of Warwick and to the Molecular Analytical Science Centre for Doctoral Training (MAS 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.

At the end of the MSc modules and mini projects you will have a well-rounded view of many different areas of science. This will equip you to choose 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.

Best wishes for a great time at MAS,

Professor Pat Unwin, MAS CDT Director

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The MAS CDT centre (ALso known as MOAC) is a community of students, academics and administrative staff, and we benefit a great deal from being based in Senate House. It is important that to make the most of the facilities we have but also help to 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 MOAC centre hosts the MAS CDT, Chemistry MSc students, MRC DTP IBR MSc students and the Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science office.

The people you will see in MAS / MOAC on a regular basis:
Director of MAS CDT

Professor Pat Unwin - Chemistry - - Ext 23264 or 22187

MAS CDT MSc Director & Chemistry MSc Director

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

MAS CDT PhD Director

Professor Steven Brown – Physics - - Ext: 74359


Naomi Grew - - Ext: 75808

Christina Forbes - - Ext: 24621

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The MAS four 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 who enter the centre 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 your MSc you will have unique opportunity to work very closely with current industry leaders on exciting analytical science projects,

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MSc Modules

Taught Core modules term 1 & 2

CH915 Principles and Techniques in Analytical Science 10 CATS

CH932 Introduction to Chemistry and Biochemistry 10 CATS

CH921 Frontier Instrumental Techniques for Molecular Analytical Sciences 10 CATS

CH922 Microscopy and Imaging 10 CATS

CH923 Statistics for data analysis 10 CATS

CH925 Computational Modelling 10 CATS

CH948 Warwick Interdisciplinary Science Transferable Skills 16 CATS

CH913 Team Research Project: Real World Analysis 12 CATS

Students attend all of the following modules but must choose 3 for credit:

CH914 - Sensors 10 CATS

CH908 - Mass Spectrometry 10 CATS

CH911 - Chromatography and Separation Science 10 CATS

CH916 - Magnetic Resonance 10 CATS

CH926 - Molecular Modelling 10 CATS

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Your personal timetable is available via Tabula please make sure you check this timetable regularly.

The formal MSc taught training programme will be completed during the Easter break. The rest of year one involves two mini-research projects in different disciplines. The year one programme leads to a Master of Science degree.

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Transferable Skills for MSc

As part of the MSc, you are required to complete an accredited transferable skills module CH948. You can access the paperwork/module guide on Moodle.

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Exams and Assessment

To pass the MAS CDT MSc, the University MSc regulations require students to pass (i.e. get more than 50%) on at least 150 CATS out of the 180 CATS required for an MSc degree. 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, MAS 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, MAS 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 will then be capped at 50%.

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

PGT Mark equivalents

University of Warwick PGT Exam Conventions

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Coursework deadlines, Penalties and Extensions

Module leaders will clearly state deadlines for handing in assessed work both to the students and also to Administrative staff. Submission will be via Tabula.

The penalty for late submission of work where no formal extension has been granted has been set by Senate at three (3) marks per day for postgraduate students (minute 126/03-04) as explained on the Teaching Quality website, ‘marks’ mean marks on a percentage scale. A late piece of work that would have scored 65% if it had been handed in on time would be awarded 62% if it were one day late, 59% if two days late, etc.

Coursework extensions can only be obtained under special circumstances (i.e. illness or other personal circumstances) from the MAS MSc Director (not the module leaders).

Coursework will be returned to you (often with feedback). You are responsible for filing it in your coursework folder (which will be stored in a locked office for safety) for the External Examiner to scrutinise at the end of the year.

Please make yourself aware of the University’s policy on plagiarism:

If you are in any doubt as to whether or not the work you have produced would compromise these rules then please talk to a MAS staff member or the module leader before submitting your work.

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Electronic Submission of assignments

  • All assessed work is to be submitted via Moodle
  • Please note that you can only submit documents in pdf format
  • Your attachment will be automatically prefixed with your student ID number and module code. After completing the form the system will email you a confirmation receipt to your Warwick account.
  • Please keep the email confirmation for future reference.
  • You can re-submit up until deadline which will overwrite any previous submission.
  • You will be informed by the module leader if you are required to also submit a hard copy.

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Extenuating/Mitigating Circumstances

Extenuating or mitigating circumstances are those events that have had a detrimental effect on your study, to the point that it is in your interest to draw your department’s attention to them and ask for them to be considered in mitigation of poor performance. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) illness, both bodily and emotional; disability; the severe illness or death of a close family member; a shocking or traumatic personal experience. In addition, sudden, unexpected changes in family circumstances might affect your ability to make academic progress as a consequence of their demonstrable emotional impact upon you, and may also be considered as mitigation.

The University is aware that in some cultures it is considered shameful or embarrassing to disclose the details of these kinds of circumstances to those outside one’s family. This is not the case in the prevailing UK culture and you should be aware that your department and the University are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist if at all possible. If you feel inhibited from talking to a member of academic staff (such as the MAS MSc Director) in the first instance, you may also consider talking to a member of your SSLC, the Students’ Union, the University Senior Tutor or a member of staff in Student Support for initial, informal advice.

Clearly, though, in order for your circumstances to be considered as mitigating by your department, they must be conveyed formally to someone in MAS (usually the MSc Director or the MAS Director). The University expects that you will discuss your circumstances before Exam Boards meet, so that they may be taken into account in good time. You should be aware that, in the event you feel you need to appeal the outcome of an Examination Board, offering extenuating or mitigating circumstances at that point, you will need to provide a (very) good reason why you withheld the information earlier. Without wanting to invade your privacy, the University does expect that you bring such circumstances to your department’s attention in a timely manner, despite the discomfort you might feel in so doing. Failure to disclose such circumstances at a time when you could have done so may subsequently be problematic. Your department will do all it can to support you in difficult situations.

There is a comprehensive network of support and welfare services available to students to support you in times of difficulty. There is often more than one service which may be able to help, and services work together to ensure that any problems are dealt with swiftly and effectively. More details of the above services, along with others available to students can be found at

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MAS MSc Mini Projects

The MAS CDT MSc course comprises 2 mini-projects of 10 weeks’ duration each (36 CATS each).

One project has to have a substantial quantitative/computational component (e.g. mathematical modelling, calculation, extensive data analysis), the other a substantial experimental (i.e. laboratory based) component.

An individual student must choose projects offered by two different supervisors and in different research areas.

Joint supervision, including with an industrial collaborator, is possible, but there has to be a University of Warwick based academic as the named PI for each project. Except in exceptional circumstances, at least one of your two allocated projects will have an industrial co-supervisor.

Students who did a previous degree at Warwick are not permitted to choose a mini project with an academic who had played a substantive role (either as main or co-supervisor) in supervising any research project (including Summer projects).

Each supervisor can only host one MAS project per slot, hence maximally two projects in total per year.

Project 1 will be assessed by:
  • Poster plus flash presentation during the annual conference
  • 2,000 word technical report (not including references)
Project 2 will be assessed by:
  • Thesis in the format of a full research paper (6,000-8,000 words)
  • Presentation
Mark breakdown:
  • Project execution, as assessed by the supervisor: 35%
  • Written work (as assessed by supervisor and one other independent marker): 40%
  • Poster + flash presentation: 25%

Students are advised that mini project deadlines are very strict and penalties will be imposed for late submission.

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Progression to PhD

Progression to the MAS PhD programme will require a student to have obtained either a Merit or a Distinction on the MSc and to have obtained an overall average mark of 65%.

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.

Should you have any queries or concerns during your MSc programme, you should contact the MAS CDT MSc Director, the MAS CDT Administrators, or the MAS CDT Director.

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In addition to carrying out your core academic work, during your MSc and PhD you will also follow the quality assurance process by attending MAS/MOAC Wednesday seminars, weekly MSc meetings, and the MAS CDT annual conference. You will also follow the transferable skills training programme by taking CH948 during your MSc and the ‘Warwick Post Graduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science’ during your PhD. As far as possible and practicable, PhD students also follow their supervisors’ departments’ quality assurance systems, thus doing final year talks and, where relevant, second year posters.

Our Centre for Doctoral Training acts as a catalyst for bringing together academics from different departments, particularly through the weekly seminar programme. Seminars usually take place every Wednesday during term time (except for the first and last Wednesday each term) in the Seminar Room from 1.10 pm to 1.45 pm. A ploughman’s lunch is available from 12.50 pm. Setting out and clearing away the seminar lunch is the responsibility of the MAS MSc students. Additionally, students are allocated various responsibilities regarding the upkeep of the common room and kitchen (e.g. watering plants, dishwasher duty, tidying up the library and so forth). Attendance at Wednesday seminars is compulsory except where permission for absence has been granted by the Director or Administrator in advance.

During term time, all MSc students have a compulsory weekly meeting in order to identify any concerns. These meetings will usually take place on Wednesdays. It is assumed that all information conveyed during this time has been formally passed on.

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

Seminars external to MAS can be found at the links below:

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Health & Safety Inductions

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

MSc students must attend the Health & Safety inductions in Chemistry as well as the safety talk given by the University Safety Officer should one be arranged. These inductions are on the timetable for week one. More in-depth safety training will be available upon transition to the PhD; you must consult your PhD supervisors about courses to be attended.

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MAS CDT Annual Conference

Part of the centre’s funding covers an annual conference for all students and interested 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.

Attendance at the Annual Conference is mandatory for all students.

Annual Conference 2019 will be held at Knowle Manor in Dunster, Somerset:

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Attendance, Holidays and Absences

Attendance at taught MSc sessions (lectures, workshops, laboratory practicals etc.) is mandatory. Periods of absence due to illness of less than one week can usually be dealt with by submitting a completed absence form:

MAS PhD students are expected to take no more leave than staff: 30 days including all customary leave days and shut-down periods. In addition, there are usually eight statutory leave days (such as bank holidays). This makes a total of 38 week-days of holiday entitlement. The timing of leave for MSc students is prescribed by their timetable. Untaken leave cannot be carried over from one year to the next.

For periods of absence due to illness of one week or more, in addition to the absence form, a doctor’s note clearly stating the reason for the absence together with start and end dates is required. If the Administrators have any reason to believe that the system of self-certification for absences is being abused, a doctor’s note may be requested from the first day of any absence. Absence due to illness from any sessions leading directly to assessment or examinations will need to be excused by a doctor’s note irrespective of the duration of absence. Laboratory sessions are not to be missed without a supporting doctor's note (or genuine emergency, bereavement etc.); if they are, you will not be able to submit work for that portion of the module. 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.

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:

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.

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Attendance Monitoring

MAS 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 MAS Wednesday seminars and submit assessed work for the MSc exam board. PhD students are required to attend MAS CDT Wednesday seminars and the annual CDT conference as well as meeting meet regularly with their Supervisor.

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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.

MAS CDT and the Department of Chemistry have postgraduate SSLCs; if you would like to take part tell the current SSLC chair. All SSLC representatives should attend one of the SSLC training sessions – check the website for details:

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Term dates: 2018/2019

Welcome week Monday 24th September 2018

University Autumn Term Monday 1st October 2018 – Saturday 8th December 2018

Revision/Exams Thursday 6th – Monday 17th December 2018

University Spring Term Monday 7th January 2019 – Saturday 16th March 2019

Revision Week Monday 18th – Friday 22rd March 2019

Exam Week Monday 25th - Friday 29th March 2019

University Summer Term Wednesday 24th April 2019 – Saturday 29th June 2019

Mini Project 1 Monday 15th April - Friday 28th June 2019

Mini Project 2 Monday 1st July - Friday 6th September 2019

Final MSc presentations and results Tuesday 24th September 2019

Statutory and Customary Holidays

See the following website for up to date information:

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Out of Hours Access to MAS/MOAC

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

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Personal Details and Email Accounts

It is the student’s responsibility to update their centrally held record via evision with any changes in contact details (address, phone number, emergency contacts). MAS will primarily use Warwick e-mail accounts as a means of contacting all students. You are required to check your University e-mail account at least twice a 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 liaising with IT services about their University e-mail account and user code if this is necessary. Students need to ensure that their University alias (e.g: always points to their current user account. Please note that the user account may change with the transition from MSc to PhD and provisions will need to be made accordingly.

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

Computers: Students are provided with a laptop at the beginning of their MSc course; this remains the property of MAS CDT and will need to be returned after the MSc year. The laptops will contain software necessary for the MSc course. Students will be expected to keep their laptop safe and advise the administrator should any fault arise. It will be assumed you have the required computing facilities unless you indicate otherwise.

Laptops are not provided for MAS PhD students due to EPSRC funding rules. Supervising departments should provide students with a laptop that meets the needs of their project. Please note that you are expected to make sufficient arrangements for backing up your work – you can back-up you work in MAS but only via Mac computers. Please see the CDT administrators for more information.

Printers: The central university computing facilities include a printer credit system for which credit can be bought.

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MAS 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)

MAS 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. Please do not abuse your photocopying and printing privileges.

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Pigeonholes and Mail

Every MAS student has a pigeonhole in Senate House in which University correspondence will be placed and coursework will be returned to you; please check yours daily. Once something is deposited in your pigeonhole it is assumed to have been received within 1 working day. You are allowed to have parcels delivered to you in the department, please address to MOAC DTC, Senate House, Univeristy of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL rather than MAS CDT.

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Books and Periodicals

MAS has a subscription to New Scientist and Nature, and these journals (along with a variety of other scientific publications) are available on the tables in the common room. As a matter of courtesy, students are requested to replace all reading material after use. MAS 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 Projects

Industry partners and Warwick Academics work throughout the year to develop ideas for PhD projects. Students are able to see the list of current projects on the website at and are encouraged to keep up to date with the ideas being proposed and approved. Before their final decision, students will usually have a meeting with the PhD Director in order to discuss their choice. In the event of more than one student wishing to do a particular project: For projects with industry co-supervision (and hence co-financing) the industry partner(s) will input into the choice of the most appropriate student; Otherwise students with higher marks to date will have priority in choosing projects.

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PhD Advisory Committee Meetings and Reports

MAS 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. MAS 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: PhD Director to review AC form submitted at the meeting:
AC Meeting 1 15th December 2018  8th January 2019 22nd January - 5th February 2019 5th February 2019
AC Meeting 2 18th June 2019 2nd July 2019 16th - 27th July 2019 31st July 2019

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 form is to be completed.

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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 MAS CDT PhD Director and their supervisor(s). Students need to be provided with appropriate training and receive appropriate payment.

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PhD Budget Management

All MAS students are allocated their own consumables and travel budgets which is managed by their supervisor. Students will have stores codes in Chemistry, Physics or Engineering as appropriate. You can order goods using the online ordering system called OPeRA. 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 3 year period as well as 1-2 one-day UK meetings each year.

Expenses claim forms may be found online or from the CDT Administrative office. You need to keep and submit all relevant receipts otherwise claims cannot be reimbursed. 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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Transferable Skills During your PhD

The transferable skills training programme spans the full 4 years in a carefully structured manner. In year 1 (MSc) students receive an introduction to team working and leadership, and a wide range of oral and written communication skills training, with a particular emphasis on communication across scientific disciplines (CH948). The programme continues in years 2-4 (the PhD) with concentrated 3 or 4 day courses run in collaboration with other CDT’s. These courses expose students to another research culture and enhance each individual’s science networks.

Year 2 ( year 1 PhD) focuses on team working in a research environment and interactions with supervisors, colleagues and younger scientists. This course usually takes place in March.

Year 3 ( year 2 PhD) looks at the communication of research to general (non-scientific) audiences (with the end point of this course being an interaction with a real audience of the students’ choice). This course usually takes place in April at Imperial College in London.

Year 4 ( year 3 PhD) involves a particular emphasis on decision making, career guidance, job hunting, thesis planning and leadership. This course usually takes place in December at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor

This programme is complemented in years 2-4 by Doctoral Skills modules 1, 2 and 3, as well as individually-designed research-related advanced training programmes with lecture courses, summer schools, conferences, laboratory visits etc. Your PhD advisory committee reviews your progress which is formalised in the form of The Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science

The aim of this accredited Certificate is to help you to be a successful doctoral researcher and to be even more successful in your post-doctoral career than you might otherwise have been.

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