Improving the PhD through provision of skills training for postgraduate researchers

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    Postgraduate research degrees in some systems, such as the UK, can be almost exclusively research based, with little formal, compulsory taught component. Government reviews recommend 10 days per year training in generic or transferable skills to ensure the suitability of doctoral graduates for employment. Professional bodies stipulate a commitment to continuing professional development as a requirement for chartered or accredited status. This includes The Chartered Society of Forensic Science and the British Association for Forensic Anthropology, as well as institutions for related fields such as The Institution of Engineering and Technology. Increasing numbers of universities therefore offer skills training programmes.

    Research students were surveyed to investigate their attendance and views on non-mandatory training courses, and only 33% of students agreed that all training needs were covered by their degree. However, in contrast to the recommended training commitment, over a one-year period students attended a mean of 5.5±0.7 training days, with 12% attending no training. Responses indicate a significant demand for increased training in management, consistent with government reviews; however, this work also indicates that provision of technical training should be addressed.

    Short course availability, design, delivery, promotion and recognition are discussed in relation to improving student uptake to reduce to the discrepancy between attendance levels and recommendations or aspirations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationForensic science education and training
    Subtitle of host publicationa tool-kit for lecturers and practitioner trainers
    EditorsAnna Williams, John P. Cassella, Peter D. Maskell
    Place of PublicationChichester
    PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9781118689196
    ISBN (Print)9781118689233
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2017


    • Centres for dctoral training
    • Course provision
    • Doctor of Philosophy
    • Forensic science
    • Postgraduate
    • Skills training


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