Postgraduate research training and development

We are committed to the personal and professional development of our postgraduate researchers, and enabling them to complete their research on time, achieve academic outputs and achieve their employment aspirations.

Our commitment to researcher training and development

We offer a wide range of personal and professional opportunities to support you through your research degree and on into your future career. The aim of the development activity is to encourage researchers to develop their research performance, employability, professionalism and engagement with society. The Organisational Developmental and Professional Learning (OD&PL) website can tell you more about our approach to personal and professional development.

Please take some time to watch this video to be introduced to the range of training and development support available for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) at the University.

You may also find it useful to look at the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), a reference point for researcher development widely used in the UK and internationally. The RDF was developed by Vitae, the UK’s national organisation for the development of researchers. The University of Leeds is a member of Vitae: you can set up a login account to their website using your University email address which will provide you with access to the full resources of their website.

A variety of professional services contribute to your personal and professional development, including: Organisational Development and Professional Learning, The Library, The Careers Centre, IT, the Counselling Services and also Leeds University Union.

Organisational Development and Professional Learning (OD&PL)

OD&PL provides support with academic writing, research, networking, presenting, publishing, project management, time management in your research and much more.


You can also sign up to one of the Library’s workshops or webinars if you need help with literature searching, open access, research data management, using EndNote, or increasing the visibility of your research.

LinkedIn Learning

All students and staff have access to LinkedIn Learning through our institutional subscription. You can access LinkedIn Learning via Minerva. LinkedIn Learning offers over 5000 short courses across business, creative, technical specialities and research software and coding. You do not need to have a LinkedIn account to access the content, but you can connect your own LinkedIn Account with the Leeds LinkedIn Learning subscription, which will allow you to publish your LinkedIn Learning course completions to your LinkedIn profile. There is a Doctoral College collection, bringing together our resources and external courses that we recommend; search for Doctoral College to access the collection.

Training and development plan

Having an effective training plan will help you to complete your research degree on time and with minimum stress. It is worth taking time to plan, review and revisit your plan. Postgraduate researchers arrive with us with different levels of experience so our training and development activity is tailored to your needs. Please discuss your needs with your supervisor, agree a training plan and record it on GRAD within three months of starting your studies. Your supervisor will monitor your progress regularly, as a minimum as part of the first formal progress report, the progress report at transfer stage then annually. For more information about the training plan, please refer to the Doctoral College Handbook.


Key training courses

As well as the training and courses available through the postgraduate researcher development website, there are key courses we have put together to help you in understanding the stages of your research degree. You should refer to these in your first few weeks of starting your research degree but you can also refer to them at any time throughout your studies.


The GRAD system is the University’s online system supporting the postgraduate research degree process. It is used for a wide range of tasks from recording meetings with your supervisor through to administration associated with the PhD transfer process. The following links lead to videos that show you how to carry out common tasks in GRAD.
Welcome to GRAD
Transfer process
Sharing notes before a supervisory meeting
Sharing notes after a supervisory meeting
Progress report

Feeling at Home in Leeds

Coming to a new environment to study can be exciting as well as challenging. This guide will help you find ways to settle in and get the most from your time here. You can use this guide at any point during your time in Leeds and you can choose to complete sections at different times according to your changing needs. If you have any questions or problems accessing your guide, please email

The guide contains seven sections for you to explore:

  1. Welcome to Leeds – this section introduces what you can expect from your transitions to living and researching in Leeds and how to use the rest of the guide.

  2. Navigating change and cultural difference – this section looks in more detail at the experience of culture change, and introduces some strategies for dealing with change more generally. It will be especially helpful if you are new to the UK and will also be useful for managing any period of significant change in your life.

  3. Making friends and finding balance – this section explores how to making connections and finding a routine can help you settle in, make new friends and create the right balance between academic and social life.

  4. Getting the right help and support – in this section, you'll find out how to make the best use of the wide range of help and support available at Leeds, whenever you need it.

  5. Getting the most from the University of Leeds – this section is designed to help your explore and choose from the many different activities and opportunities available at Leeds, and take the first steps towards getting involved.

  6. Navigating the Leeds academic environment – this section gives an overview of academic expectations, relationships and communication at Leeds. 

  7. What's next? – this final section supports you as you reflect and create your own action plan to help you achieve your academic and personal goals for your time at the University of Leeds.

To access the guide, click Feeling at Home in Leeds guide.

Working with your supervisor

The purpose of this course is to help you, as a PGR, to continuously develop and maintain an effective working relationship with you supervisor.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you are expected to be able to:

  1. explain the responsibilities of a supervisor and a PGR;

  2. evaluate your professional relationship with your supervisor;

  3. formulate approaches to developing and maintain an effective professional working relationship with your supervisors and others.

This will help you to:

  1. make the most of your supervisor meetings through planning and preparation

  2. develop strategies for dealing with current challenges or anticipating future ones

To access this course, click Launch.

Induction to transfer

This induction course will help you orientate yourself in the first stages of your research degree as you begin your journey to transfer. It introduces you to the practical aspects of your research degree and will help you think about how you will develop personally. It will also help you plan ahead as your research progresses.

Learning outcomes
Successful completion of this course will help you to:

  • map out the journey you will take with your research degree, from proposal to viva

  • find the detailed information you need to keep your research degree on track

  • apply key University rules and regulations to your research degree to help ensure a successful thesis

  • gain access to support the University offers for your health and wellbeing

  • gain access to support the University offers for your personal development and training needs.

There is a Padlet and 3 courses for you to work through that make up the whole Induction to Transfer course. Click on the titles below to access each item.

Why do a research degree?
Explain why you want to do a research degree and post your response on the course Padlet. Padlet is an online pinboard used for sharing ideas via text and multimedia. 
(This pinboard is hosted on a third-party service called Padlet. Any information you submit will be used solely for the purposes described above. All data will be deleted within six months from the start of term. More information about see Padlet's terms of service and privacy policy.)

Managing your research degree
Explore each step of the first stage of your research degree up to the transfer stage. Investigate tools and training available to help you organise your research degree. 

Research practice
Investigate the rules and regulations of research degrees and ways of managing your data. This also covers academic integrity, ethics review, data management and copyright.

Personal and professional development
Discover how you can develop as a postgraduate researcher and explore the University support systems.

Post-transfer to completion

Once you are through transfer, you will want to start thinking about the route through to thesis submission in a few years’ time. This course will help you think about the next stage in your research degree. Your journey to submission is the majority of your time on your research degree. It involves you doing the majority of your research and writing up your work. During your research degree you are likely to identify additional training needs as your project progresses. You should also actively look for professional development opportunities, such as conference presentations, teaching or outreach work.
Learning outcomes
Successful completion of this course will help you to:

  • discover the common opportunities and events that occur on a research degree post transfer

  • explore and apply the high level principles and steps required in the presentation of your thesis.

There are 4 courses for you to work through that make up the whole Post transfer to completion course. Click on the titles below to access each item.

Your situation
Review your progress so far and plan the next steps of your research degree.

Your professional development
Explore opportunities for professional development and develop your own curriculum vitae (CV).

Preparing your thesis: The logistics
Examine your submission process and check that you know the right format for your thesis.

Your viva
Prepare for your viva by exploring key ideas and reviewing common questions.

Support across the University

The video below goes through the support you can access across the University as a PGR. Press play to watch the video.

You can also view this text document that details the support available. The document is designed to compliment the information in the video, however, it can be used as a stand alone document to refer to at anytime.

IT student induction

This induction has been designed to give you all the information you need to make the most of the IT facilities at the University of Leeds. There are three short modules, each taking only a few minutes to complete.

Data Management training and support

You should have a data management plan in place by no later than the transfer stage. You can find help and guidance on the Library Research Support pages including a number of courses to help you with research data management.  Email the Library Research Data Management team if you need help and advice on Data Management processes will be reviewed as part of the formal progress milestones.

Academic Integrity training and support

The Induction to Transfer course in the Leeds Doctoral College Minerva Organisation covers academic integrity advice and support, including what is plagiarism (definitions); guidance on note-taking and referencing; and links to other support and resources.

Ethical Review training and support

You may need ethics approval for your research and it is very important to know if you do. The Induction to Transfer course on this webpage covers research integrity and ethical review, including examples of research that needs ethical review and the ethical review process. Ethical review processes will be reviewed as part of the formal progress milestones. You can also find out more on the Research and Innovation Service website.

English Language

The Language Centre provides resources for independent study and language support. The Language Centre provides free in-sessional courses for PGRs who may benefit from academic English language support.

Key Travel

The Purchasing team run a regular training webinar for PGRs on using the Key Travel online booking tool, covering how to create an itinerary, how to book and the approvals process. Register online.