Training and Skills

We want our researchers to be well-equipped in terms of both technical and soft skills to ensure a successful degree and a career after they graduate. We are, therefore, proud to offer a comprehensive training programme to all of our researchers.

You are now in a place where the best courses upon Earth are within your reach … such an opportunity you will never again have.”

So said Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and President, speaking to his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph, as he began his studies at Edinburgh in 1786.

Pursuing a research degree here could be the best experience and a defining moment in your life. You will gain skills that will serve you for the rest of life, making you a more confident and knowledgeable person. In addition to gaining research skills, making friends, meeting eminent researchers and being part of the research community, our research degree will help you to develop invaluable transferable skills which you can apply to academic life or a variety of professions outside of academia. 

These include: 

  • Research skills such as the ability to work independently and to identify the aims and objectives of a project from the outset, the ability to argue a case effectively and to offer constructive criticism
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills to carry out complex tasks as well as to analyse a large amount of data/information
  • Technical writing skills for peer-reviewed publications, thesis and extensive reports.
  • Enhanced communication skills and the ability to convey high-level information in a persuasive manner to a wide variety of audiences including the non-specialist
  • Teamwork, time, project and stress management skills
  • Networking skills in an international context

Every PhD student is required to take part in a programme of training and development that supports your Development and acquire these skills. The Graduate School runs a series of courses that are targeted at Engineering students, and there is also a wide range of other courses offered across the University.

A typical training plan for an Engineering PhD student includes core training and other training activities. These courses have been tailor-made to our Engineering PhD students and have been designed by us together with the award-winning Institute for Academic Development

Core training activities: These are a part of every PhD student's training. These include:

Year Core Training Courses
First Year Compulsory Induction for new PGR studentsFirbush residential course: research skill development and reflection., Preparing for your First Year Review (Engineering)
Second Year

Writing a Research PaperWriting and Designing Your Engineering Academic PosterPresentation Skills WorkshopSchool Research Conference (Poster and Presentation)

Third Year

PhD Thesis Writing Workshop (Engineering)


Other training activities: Here are some examples of other training our students take part in.

Year Other Training Courses
First Year Basic engineering workshop skills, Prepare for Doctoral SuccessFinding Academic Literature (Engineering)Online courses on statistics, data management, academic writing research ethics and integrityCOMPASS programme: Orientation for International PGR students
Second Year

Academic Writing for Engineering, Academic Writing Masterclass (SCE/MVM)Team Building and Leadership Fundamentals

Third Year 3 minute thesis international competitionResearch, Researchers and Media - A hands on approach to communicating your researchLocal GRADSchool

The above list only shows a selection of the courses available across the University. Other courses delivered by the Institute for Academic Development can be found on their website. All of our students also have access to VITAE to help plan their training.

We organise major conferences and annual presentations at which our students are expected to present; this formative developmental experience plays a key part in student progression.

A postgraduate degree in Engineering can lead to a career in industry, in academia, in consultancy or in a host of other careers that use the transferable and critical thinking skills you will acquire.