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Professional and Transferable Skills Training

All first-year PhD students are required to undergo basic skills training. This training will not involve a large time commitment beyond things you must do in the first year as part of your progression to the PhD. Specifically, you are required to submit a first-year report in Term 3 and this report together with results from assessed modules will form the basis for the progression to the PhD. (See Year 1) The skills training will primarily focus on ensuring that you submit the best possible report and that you are prepared to present this material in an hour-long talk. There is some additional miscellaneous aspects of the training, but the aim always is to make it valuable.

Part I: Speaking with Style

Being able to communicate well to fellow mathematicians is an essential skill for a research mathematician. The goal of this training is to ensure that first-year PhD students can present orally a substantial piece of mathematics in a clear, concise and lively fashion. The material will normally be the topic of the first-year report due in Term 3. The student and supervisor will decide on a substantial piece of mathematics in the student's research area. This could be a research article or chapters in an advanced text. Generally secondary sources will be consulted as well. In Term 2 all first-year students will give a very short talk so that some early feedback can be given on presentation skills. Final presentations will take place in Term 3. All students are required to give a talk.

Part II: Advanced Mathematical Writing

All PhD students are expected to be able to write research-level mathematics in a clear, precise, and concise style, and with proper use of English. Students are expect to master Latex, the standard tool for typesetting complex mathematical expressions, if they have not already done so.

Students are expected to produce a report of approximately 12 to 20 pages of clearly written mathematics by the beginning of Term 3. In most cases the material will be the same as that used in Speaking with Style. Drafts reports are due at the end of Week 2 of Term 3. These will be peer reviewed by fellow students, as peer review itself is a valuable skill. When the peer is satisfied with the work, it will be submitted to the supervisor and Director of Graduate Studies by the end of Week 4 of Term 3.

Part III: Other

All PhD students are required to maintain a web page with at least basic content on their research problem. In addition the univerisity has now launched the Warwick Portfolio and all first-year students should attempt to use it.

We hope to hold a few training seminars throughout the year aimed as skills and career development. You will be informed of these via email as needed.