Training Requirements for PhD Students

PhD students are expected to receive a certain amount of skills training during the course of their study. The UK Research Councils expect that each student receives 10 days of training for every full year of study.

These skills may be present on commencement of the students' PhD, may be gained through participation in formally taught courses, or developed during the course of their research.

It is expected that different mechanisms will be used to support learning as appropriate, including self-direction, supervisor support and mentoring, departmental support, workshops, conferences, elective training courses, formally assessed courses and informal opportunities.

Types of Training

The Research Councils broadly divide training for doctoral students into six categories -

  • Research Environment (RE)
  • Research Management (RM)
  • Personal Effectiveness (PE)
  • Communication Skills (CS)
  • Networking and Teamworking (N&T)
  • Career Management (CM)

We expect all students to undertake some training from each of the six categories.


Participation in conferences, symposia and workshops can count towards the training activity that an individual may undertake. However, it is important to ensure that students undertake a balanced programme of training, including training in some of the areas mentioned above.

SRUC Training

Each summer, we organise a training day specifically for research postgraduate students. The topics covered during this event are driven by feedback from students on their training requirements. Areas covered on previous courses include thesis writing, managing your supervisor and viva preparation. We also hold a postgraduate research conference each year where first and third year students give a presentation on their research and the second year students present a poster.

Other Activity

Student's participation in external courses or other training activities such as SRUC/Group/University seminars, workshops etc, is encouraged and is an important part of doctoral training.

Documenting Training

Training received should be formally reviewed as part of each student's annual appraisal with his/her supervisor or supervisory panel. This annual appraisal may also be an appropriate point at which to identify subsequent training needs and opportunities.

Students need to identify their training needs for the year on their Personal Development Plan (PDP), which should be signed by their supervisor.

It is expected that the student will keep a record of all training undertaken, using the skills logbook provided at the start of their period of study.

Important Training Links

Students registered at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow can access the training programmes organised and run by the appropriate University.

The following links will take you to the training pages for each of these Universities.

Usually, you will need to book onto a course well in advance. If you encounter any problems getting access to training courses, please contact the Manager of Research Postgraduate Studies for SRUC, Dr Mark Hocart.

Another very useful source of information and training for research students is Vitae. Students are encouraged to visit the site regularly for information on events, courses, workshops etc.

Dr Mark Hocart

Postgraduate Manager, and Dean of Edinburgh Campus

Address: Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4084

Fax: 0131 535 4346


Postgraduate Administrator

Research Enquiries (for PhD, MRes, MPhil).

Address: Postgraduate Administrator, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4028


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