'Amazed at how reinvigorated I feel about a time in my PhD where I was starting to feel really jaded'

Image of a graduation cap

GRADschool is a three day course that gives you time to step back from your PhD, think about the skills you have developed and how they will help you to take that next step in your career.  You’ll have the chance to meet researchers from other universities or subjects and work on group case studies, which give you the opportunity to practice skills such as communication, networking, leadership, influencing, team working and time management. 

The GRADschool is aimed at 2nd and 3rd year PhD researchers and has a strong focus on career development and personal impact.  As well as having a Careers Adviser on hand, our team of experienced tutors are from a range of backgrounds and will be able to talk to you about how their research background helped to get them where they are now. 

'I feel more confident in taking responsibility for my PhD and my career and more equipped to communicate my skills to others'

To find out what happens at a GRADschool have a look at an GRADschool example programme (MS Word) or read what others thought of the GRADschool .

At last year's GRADschool, we recorded a few people talking about what they got out of it. Listen to the podcasts here.


GRADschool FAQs

1. What makes this different to a normal training workshop?
GRADschools have been around since the 1960s and are highly regarded across the UK and internationally. The fact that they are a unique experience makes them difficult to describe. However, the ethos is that you learn best by trying new things out in a safe environment (i.e. as part of the large group case study) and then by reflecting on that experience, guided by the tutors.  Each day builds on what you've already done the day before and the intensive experience over three days, away from your PhD, really helps to speed up the learning process.  Most people say that they go back into their PhD feeling more confident and more motivated.  This means it is perfect for people who are getting ready for the final push towards the end of their PhD, have hit a particular barrier or low point in their research or who just want to take some time out to think about what they'd like to do next. 

2. My supervisor doesn't want me to take three days out of my research
All PhD students are expected to undertake skills development activities during their PhD.  This is part of the expectations of the Graduate Schools and also the research funders. For example, Cancer Research UK have highlighted their support for early-career researchers to undertake such training. The UK Research Councils are strongly supportive of the GRADschool training model and many professional bodies also encourage researchers to attend.  Therefore, such training activity is regarded as a key component of your PhD experience. For research students from MVLS and Science and Engineering, this course is worth two credits, due to the time commitment that we expect from you.

3. Who are the tutors?
Our tutor team brings a broad range of skills, background and experience. It includes academic and non-academic staff from our partner universities, as we well as tutors who have worked in industry, for charities or Government or run their own business.  

4. Who should attend?
The GRADschool is for PhD students from any subject area, in at least 2nd year of their PhD.  The sessions will be relevant whether you are looking for a career in academia or would like to consider other options.  

5. Where does the GRADschool take place?
The Glasgow GRADschool normally takes place at Glasgow Caledonian University in June. This is a non-residential course and runs from 9am-5pm each day. For people who want a more immersive experience (in a wild and beautiful part of Scotland), you can attend the GRAD on the Island course, which runs in late May each year. 

6. How do I book?
Places can be booked on this course via My Campus (ref: RSDB 6005).  If you have any questions about the course, please contact Elizabeth Adams.