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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school

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The Normal Programme of Research Training

Students entering the first year of the PhD without prior research training or methods expertise are required to complete a programme of training. This normally takes the following form:

  • Subject-specific Research Training Course (usually ‘Advanced Issues’ or ‘Theory and Practice of Research’ or ‘Doctoral Seminar’), as specified in the relevant Subject Postgraduate Research Student Handbook. All students are required to complete this.
  • Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (semester 1).
  • Core Quantitative Data Analysis 1 and 2, at least Part 1 (first half of semester 1).
  • Research Design (semester 2) OR, for Social Anthropology only – Qualitative Methods and Ethnographic Fieldwork (semester 2).
  • Exemptions may be made for Research Skills, Core Quantitative Data Analysis and Research Design / Qualitative Methods and Ethnographic Fieldwork if you can demonstrate prior learning with the agreement of the course organiser and supervisor.
  • Any additional research training specified by Supervisor and PG Advisor. This may include the requirement to attend University-provided transferable skills events www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/institute-academic-development, or to complete additional English language or other language training.

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.

Research Training to be completed in the Second and Third Years of the PhD

This includes:               

  • Core Quantitative Data Analysis for Social Research, Part 2, if not already taken (second half of semester 1).
  • Additional research training specified by Supervisor and PG Advisor. This may include the requirement to take specified Graduate School courses, to attend University-provided transferable skills events

www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/institute-academic-development, or to complete additional English language or other language training.

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