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Department of English Studies

Research Training

General University Training Provision

Durham University provides training in core, generic research skills, and in personal and career development skills, through its central postgraduate research training programme. The programme includes three cycles of presentations and workshops, designed for first, second, and third year research students, related to each of the seven areas covered by the Joint Statement on skills training requirements published by the AHRC and the other research councils (that is, ‘research skills and techniques', ‘research environment', ‘research management', ‘personal effectiveness', ‘communications skills', ‘networking and team working', ‘career management').

Departmental Training Provision

The formal assessment of any training needs takes place at student's induction, in the course of which the supervisor and the student identify what the student requires and agree an appropriate programme of training. New research students are required to take the module ‘Research Methods & Resources' in the taught MA programme, unless they have already taken this course or its equivalent elsewhere. Students can sometimes extend knowledge by attending level 2/3 or MA modules, and lectures in other departments. The Language Centre provides Self-Access Learning, and courses in foreign languages. There are opportunities for postgraduates to participate in North-East Postgraduate Forum for the Long Eighteenth Century, and in Durham centres such as Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Seventeenth-century Studies, and Poetry and Poetics.

Departmental PG Training Fund

Research students are already allowed up to £150 p.a. out of the Department's general Travel Budget to support attendance at conferences. In the past five years the Department has been able to draw on various sources of training money to cover expenses such as the following, subject to availability of funds:

  • A book and journal allowance, to help with books needed for teaching 1st year modules. There would be a need to prove that these needs cannot be met by the library
  • Language training - both, training in languages other than English and in English for non-native speakers
  • Help towards the cost of taking relevant modules in other departments or at other institutions
  • Travel costs and expenses for attending postgraduate training events run by other HE institutions

Advisory Duties of Supervisors

In addition to items covered by this fund, supervisors of all research students are expected to offer their supervisees, on request, subject specific advice on any of the following:

  • PG teacher training, including how to give lectures
  • Post-doctoral life (that grey area between graduating and getting a permanent position)
  • Preparing a CV, a research statement, and a teaching portfolio
  • Job applications: how to make them, how to deal with interviews
  • Accepting a job offer (the etiquette of discussing terms, salary, etc.)
  • Getting a PhD published.

At the moment the University offers general training course that cover most of these issues. However, supervisors will offer more subject-specific advice where necessary. There are also detailed websites offering help in these areas. Such internet addresses and more substantial help already appear in our Postgraduate English forum.

Research Assistantships

In recent years the Department has been able to draw on research funding to set various small Research Assistantships, designed to offer research students training in subject specific skills. Research Students are paid (£300 - £500) to help with the research project of a member of staff. We plan to continue this scheme.

Training Days

In the past few years The Department has hosted several training day events for postgraduate students, covering topics such as submitting and delivering a conference paper, and getting oneself published.