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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Research Training

Successful completion of a research degree involves a balance between the pursuit of your own research project, and training in the skills which enable you to become a more effective scholar, both now and in the future. Our formal requirements for training in research methods include generic and discipline-specific courses, and the School also provides regular workshops and short courses in advanced research methods. All of those are open to students at any stage of their degree.

The modes of delivery of different research training courses have been designed around four key considerations:

  • Methods and methodology should be understood in their theoretical or epistemological context;
  • Training should emphasise hands-on competence;
  • Wherever possible, training should focus on the area of the student’s own research;
  • Training should be as flexible as possible, within the constraints of the Programme.

You should discuss your own particular research training requirements with your supervisor and/or Postgraduate Advisor at the start of your period of study and complete a Training Needs Assessment. The Training Needs Assessment should be referred back to each year. If you have already undertaken research training courses (e.g. if you have already completed an MSc by Research degree in SSPS) then you may need to take fewer research training courses. If you have not previously undertaken research training, then you will need to take the relevant ‘core skills’ courses during your first year. Most students take their initial programme of research training in their first year – but please remember courses remain available to you throughout your programme of study, and for some courses it may make more sense to take them in your second or third year.

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