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Transferable Skills

In addition to acquiring in-depth specialist knowledge of a specific research topic, your time as a research student is an opportunity to gain many valuable skills that will be transferable to other situations. As part of your training you can expect to spend approximately two weeks per year on activities to enhance these skills.

Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science (PGCTSS)

All PhD students (starting after 1 Oct 2008) will have the option to complete this certificate which aims to both help you to be a successful doctoral researcher and to be even more successful in your post-doctoral career than you might have been otherwise. The certificate consists of six modules as set out below and normally you will complete two each year. Each year, one of these will concentrate on the skills that you should be building up during your routine work as a research student. The other will be based on an approximately three-day course with some follow-up activities. The successful completion of three modules will lead to a Postgraduate Award in Transferable Skills; the full Certificate requires six modules (see below).

The three Doctoral Skills modules (Year 1 CH950, Year 2 CH951 and Year 3 CH952) have been designed to be integrated with the department’s normal PhD monitoring progress. These are described generically for the Science Faculty, but there is flexibility to substitute different activities for each element. They have been mapped specifically for Physics.

The second module you will do in year 1 is a residential course ‘CH953: Teamworking in a Research Environment where you will get the opportunity to interact with science students from your own department and others. The final two modules will be selected from the list below.

More information can be found at

Year 1: One core module and one optional module (usually Team Development and Networking).

CH950 Doctoral Skills 1 + CH953 Teamworking in a Research Environment

Years 2 and 3: 2 core modules and 2 optional modules

CH951 Doctoral Skills 2 + Optional Module 1

CH952 Doctoral Skills 3 + Optional Module 2

Optional Modules
CH953 Teamworking in a Research Environment CH961 Introduction to Teaching for Postgraduates in the Sciences
CH954 Science communication  CH933 Academic scientific writing: Writing extended scientific articles and reports
CH955 Decision Making and Leadership  CH934 Academic scientific writing: Writing focused scientific articles and reports
  Research Ethics
CH957 Envisioning and Enabling Innovation  
CH958 Project management (2nd Year) HR903 Bioscience, Politics and Social Acceptability

Each student will keep a record of their skills development in a Training Portfolio that will form the basis of assessment for the PGCTSS and could form the basis of a CV for subsequent job applications. You will be encouraged to reflect on your development and to include details of skills acquire in the normal course of PhD research and through self study.

Warwick Research Student Skills Programme

The Graduate School Programme offers an extensive skills and development programme for research students, as Saturday workshops and also three-day programmes covering the same ground in week 11 of each term. All students can make use of these sessions, which are free, but you do need to book a place. In particular, there are sessions designed for first years and the 3-day programmes would be an alternative for those not attending GRAD schools.

Developments and events organised by the programme can be followed via the following Twitter page Twitter

Warwick Professional Development for Postgraduate Researchers

There's more to a doctoral researcher that research...

....engaging with your own professional development will enable you to expand your range of skills and better understand the way in which you work. This will enable youi to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Be a more effective researcher
  • Navigate eithical framworks
  • Build extensive networks
  • Enhance your employability in a challenging job market

You can find out more about this here.

Masters Skills Programme

The Student Careers and Skills office offers a skills programme specifically aimed at Postgraduate Masters students.

For more information on this programme, please use the link below.


Conference Presentations

PhD students will normally attend at least one UK and one international conference during their training period. This will give you experience of presenting your own work and meeting the experts in your particular field. The Department has allocated certain funds for each student to pay for the registration and travel expenses. There are other sources of funds for students who want to go to more conferences, especially if presenting a paper: look to your research group's grant portfolio, ask the conference organisers to waive the registration fee, apply to the Institute of Physics or other charities ...

Postgraduate Seminars

These seminars, held on Thursdays from 5pm in term, are run by postgraduates for postgraduates and give an opportunity to practice talking about your work in a relaxed atmosphere without academic staff. You will also find out what the rest of the Department is working on and may find areas of common interest. After the talks drinks are provided by the Department.