Training and skills development

Being a postgraduate researcher is about more than producing a thesis. You need to identify and develop the skills needed for your research and future career - whatever direction that may take you. The University Graduate School is here to support this process through the Development Needs Analysis, provision of training courses and, for those enrolled, our PGCARMS programme.   

Determining your training needs

Skills development is something that you should be aware of throughout your postgraduate research. You should be discussing your training and development needs with your supervisor. This conversation is formalised by the completion and submission of the Development Needs Analysis (DNA) form.

Please note: submission of the Development Needs Analysis (DNA) form is a requirment for all postgraduate researchers at the University of Birmingham.  

The Development Needs Analysis process supports your skills development, it can help you to reflect on which skills areas to focus on, and when.

Finding the right workshop

All University Graduate School workshops are always free for our postgraduate researchers.

  • Training courses- view our extensive programme of workshops available through the University Graduate School and other training providers.
  • Postgraduate Researcher Pathways (PDF - 208KB) - identify what courses are most suitable for your stage of postgraduate research
  • Course etiquette - find out what is expected of you and what is expected of the University Graduate School when you book onto a course.

Next Steps

Attending a training course is an important step in your development, but it is not the final one. The University Graduate School offers a range of events intended to compliment many of our skills development workshops. We also have information on how transferrable skills can help your research, and a repository of course materials for you to reflect on your workshop learning. 

Event information- our events provide opportunities for you to develop your presentation, public engagement and networking skills, as well as raise your research profile.

Transferable skills - what are transferable skills and why are they important? Learn about why you should be developing these skills and about how they can help you in your research.

Course materials repository - whether you want the Powerpoint slides for the Presentation Skills course or the handouts from the Viva preparation course this is the place to find them.


Developed and managed by the University Graduate School, in collaboration with the College of Social Sciences, the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Research Methods & Skills (PGCARMS) provides enhanced advanced training in research and transferable skills. This programme is currently available to specific doctoral researchers from CoSS, CAL and LES.

  • PGCARMS- information and eligibility requirments for PGCARMS 
Signs pointing to new skills and training


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