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PGCTSS mapping of Doctoral Skills modules for Physics

Details of PGCTSS requirements

Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

In the first year you should complete

The normal departmental activities should enable you to complete most of the "Tasks". The tasks are all specified in the PGTSS course handbook, and a brief description is given below of how this maps onto what is expected from Physics students, which differs slightly in a few instances. In most cases you can include copies of your submissions and feedback sheets as evidence that the tasks have been completed. For others please ensure that your supervisor or another academic has signed off the completed sheets and also the summary top sheet in your blue folders.

It is not essential to complete Doctoral Skills 1 within your first year, but you should be able to do most of it. The skills module is meant to help you compile what you have been doing anyway, so if you are struggling with any aspects ask either your supervisor or the Director of Graduate Studies whether you are trying to do the right thing.

Doctoral Skills 1:

  1. Literature Review of 5 research papers: In 1st year report. Feedback sheet is OK for evidence.
  2. Research Plan: Copy notes to sheet or use the outline submitted in October (only if written by student rather than supervisor). You can ignore “budget plan” if you have no control of your finances.
  3. Interim Research Report: Use your 6-month report, with the feedback sheets as evidence.
  4. End of year Research Report: Use synopsis of first year of work presented at start of year 2. CASE student, or similar, could use an interim project report for this.
  5. Poster/ Seminar review for the general reader: If you have presented work at a conference/project meeting, use that. Otherwise there are plenty of chances to write about Wednesday Departmental Colloquia or similar talks.
  6. Seminar Reviews: Produce a set of 5 half page summaries on your group seminars. If your group does not have regular seminars you could write about the Postgraduate Seminar Series.
  7. Poster/Presentation Assessment: Follow the instructions given to comment on a poster or other postgraduate presentation you experience during the year (but not duplication of 6). An ideal opportunity would be the second year poster day.
  8. Meeting Planning: This is to demonstrate that you have some ability to organise things at research group level. If you have yet to prove this ability for a scientific event, consider arranging a social event for your research group.
  9. Web page: Every student should have a web page set up, either on group pages, by department or ePortfolio. Content should include at least a synopsis of your project.


In the second year you should complete

Doctoral Skills 2:

  1. Year 2 Research Plan: Use plan submitted in October. You can ignore “budget plan” if you have no control of your finances.
  2. 18 month Research Report: Physics does not require this report. Instead the second year poster is used, feedback sheet is evidence.
  3. Critical review of recent advances: ~2 pages, including up-to-date citations relevant to your research field. This is something you do have to write specifically for the Certificate, but will be useful in research anyway.
  4. End of year Research Report: Use synopsis of second year of work presented at start of year 2. CASE student, or similar, could use an interim project report for this.
  5. Poster or Oral Presentation: Use the second year talk to research group, feedback sheet is evidence. Could be substituted with conference presentation.
  6. Seminar Review: 400 words review of a technical seminar.
  7. Seminar Review for a General Reader: 400 word review of a Departmental Colloquium (or similar).
  8. Networking: Evidence of scientific interaction beyond your research group, and preferably beyond Warwick.
  9. Meeting Planning: List actions to organise things beyond your own research group.
  10. Web page: Update and development of the bare information required for DS1.


In the third year you should complete

Doctoral Skills 3:

  1. Year 3 Research Plan: Use plan submitted in October.
  2. Time management: Short summary to show evidence of this.
  3. Thesis Plan: As provided to dept.
  4. Critical Review: e.g. Referee report on a paper
  5. Scientific Writing – draft thesis chapter: Submit the assessment sheet with an early draft chapter to your supervisor.
  6. Scientific Writing – report or paper: Publish a paper as principle author (i.e. actually write it, even if not listed first). Evidence of submission is OK. Could be detailed report on industrial project if publication not suitable.
  7. Networking: Evidence of scientific interaction beyond Warwick, at a level beyond that required for DS2.
  8. Verbal Presentation: Conference/workshop or other “public” presentation.
  9. Research Applications: A page on the potential applications/impact of your research. See notes on DS3.
  10. Ethical Principles: Notes on ethical considerations for your research field. See notes on DS3.
  11. Managing a Research Budget: Even if you didn’t actually control the expenditure, make an estimate of the funds used for your project and comment on where money was spent wisely, wasted or more was needed.
  12. Supervision/Teaching: Note any undergraduate teaching or demonstrating, including final year project supervision. If you did none of this, consider mentoring of first year PhD students.
  13. Career Development: Prepare a 2 page CV. See notes on DS3.
  14. Web page: Update and development of web site. This should now be presentable to a future employer (academic or otherwise).