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Research skills training

The University places great importance on improving each research student’s depth of knowledge and on developing their research skills. The latter include skills specific to the subject of research and other more generic transferable skills. They also include employment-related skills and time management in order to help students to complete theses or dissertations successfully within the allocated time.

In order to develop the relevant skills, the student and principal supervisor (or programme co-ordinator in the case of postgraduate masters degrees designed to lead to advanced research) will identify and agree a training programme, including generic skills and any other skills deemed necessary for the satisfactory completion of the degree, as part of the student’s induction process.

The school and the University will provide the student with an appropriate skills training programme as agreed by the student, the principal supervisor (or programme co-ordinator) and the school. In the case of postgraduate masters degrees that are designed to lead to doctoral research (such as the MRes), the skills training programme will be largely integrated into the modules and options offered by the degree programme itself. In some schools doctoral students may be able to obtain parts of their skills training programmes as a set of non-credit bearing modules. If these are formally approved modules, the University will be able to provide a transcript of these units in response to requests.

An initial induction programme will be offered by the University at the beginning of every academic session in which provision for research skills training and career development training will be introduced.

Each research student’s training needs will be reviewed annually. The annual school report on each research student will indicate the areas where training has been given and identify future areas for skills training or career development. The student and the school must confirm in detail in their annual reports that the training provided has been undertaken and is meeting the student’s needs.

Students are required to maintain a record of the skills training and career development that they have received. This record should be shown to and agreed by the principal supervisor (or programme co-ordinator).

Students may be required to attend and participate in internal courses, seminars, presentations, demonstrations, teaching and discussion groups as agreed with the principal supervisor (or programme co-ordinator) and the School’s Director of Postgraduate Studies. Students may also be expected, as appropriate, to attend and participate in external training modules, seminars, conferences, and discussion forums.

Students may be required to be enrolled on modules for training purposes to meet the requirements of funding bodies or schools.

Students may undertake unassessed participation in modules for training purposes on the recommendation of the supervisory team with permissions of the Schools involved in the delivery of the modules. Students will not gain credits for these modules. Students will be registered to these modules directly by Schools via MMS, not through the Academic Advising system. The level of participation should be agreed by the student, the student’s supervisor, and the module co-ordinator. The agreement may be suspended or withdrawn if the student fails to abide by the agreement. If the student, the student’s supervisor, and the module co-ordinator agree that the level of work undertaken is commensurate with that of other students, this may be reported and a grade of 0A (Audit) will be applied and visible on the student’s transcript. Students should not normally audit modules where there is no training benefit relevant to the student’s research.

Failure by a student to meet training requirements agreed with the School must be reported to the Pro Dean, who may refer the matter to the relevant Dean for action.

Students can be asked to take modules as a formal requirement for their programme when there is no funding body requirement only if this has been approved through the normal curriculum approval process. In this case, students will be registered to these modules through the Academic Advising system. 

General enquiries

Nicola Milton
Executive Officer to the Proctor
nam6@st-andrews.ac.uk
tel: +44(0)1334 462131

Emily Feamster
Academic Policy Officer, Proctor's Office
ef54@st-andrews.ac.uk
tel: +44(0)1334 462010