Guidance and support

Academic guidance and support

Being a PhD student in the School of Geography

We’re committed to helping you prepare for what’s ahead in your research degree and future career.

Helping you to settle in

Whatever your motivation for undertaking a PhD, it’ll be a journey which will stimulate your passion for your subject and push the boundaries of your own and current knowledge. The work will be challenging, but we’re on hand from the outset to support you in succeeding. From Day One, you’ll benefit from a strong support network to guide you through your research degree.

Within one month of starting your degree, you’ll be required to complete a training plan to help identify your training and development needs with your supervisor. This is a great opportunity to create a personalised plan, aligned to your research.

You’ll work closely with a lead supervisor and one or more co-supervisors, who are experts in their field, providing guidance and support to your research project.

Your supervisors are your most important contact and are responsible for:

  • agreeing a research project that is original and is feasible within the standard period of study
  • conducting a training needs analysis and ensuring that you receive appropriate research training
  • undertaking a minimum of 10 supervision sessions (6 for part-time postgraduate researchers) per year
  • advising on all aspects of the research and thesis preparation
  • commenting on all your written work
  • ensuring you receive written feedback on the assessment of progress.

Supervisors will also guide you in publishing your research.

Your bespoke training plan

As a postgraduate researcher, you’ll maintain a Graduate Record of Achievement and Development (GRAD) – an essential tool in managing your research degree. This University-wide web-based application will allow you to manage your training plan, upload files and reports, track your own milestones, request and record supervisory meetings, record training and view any feedback you may have received. This is an easy way for you to keep on top of your work while reflecting on what you’ve already achieved.

When you commence your study at Leeds, you will have an induction to brief you on the progress monitoring for research degree candidates. You will attend courses on ‘Foundations in Teaching', and complete online modules for pre- and post-transfer which relate to your progression path.

You will undertake a training analysis within one month of starting your research degree study, and this will then be reviewed at the beginning of each registration year. This can be generic skills training, research specific training, and participation and attendance at seminars and conferences.  It is expected that you will fully participate in all activities within your research institute including the internal seminar series.  Additionally it is hoped that you will participate in the annual University SHOWCASE conference for research degree candidates.  

Develop your research skills

You will develop a range of research skills relevant to your project. Training will be available to you on research skills and techniques, the research environment, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management. This will be offered to you by the University and/or the Faculty Skills Training teams. You’ll attend a number training courses and workshops throughout your degree to help you build a strong foundation of skills, providing you with the basics to complete each year of your studies. In your first year, topics include Project Managing your degree, Word for Thesis & Long Documents and Preparing for your Transfer. All the training will be delivered either through formal training at the University, by informal instruction by your project supervisors or other qualified personnel, or through external courses where appropriate. Bespoke training may also be provided through your Doctoral Training Centre.

Leeds Doctoral College

The Doctoral College brings together all the support services and opportunities to enhance your research, throughout your time here. It runs regular drop-in and training sessions for our postgraduate researchers, and organises seminars and other events including the annual Doctoral College Showcase.

Your postgraduate community

When you join the School of Earth and Environment, you’ll join a friendly, supportive and diverse community of postgraduate researchers who come from all around the world. You’ll be directly associated with one of our world-leading research groups, working alongside like-minded researchers and academics. This fairly small-scale community with whom you’ll interact on a day-to-day basis will quickly become your ‘home base’.

Furthermore, you'll benefit from an active research environment through a wide range of seminars, lectures and research groups. You will be given opportunities to present results and receive constructive feedback from colleagues in your research institute. The School has a number of more informal groups which meet to discuss issues relating to their research.

Postgraduate researcher facilities

All full-time researchers are provided with their own desk and a suitable computer, typically in an office shared with postgraduate researchers from the same discipline area. 
You’ll benefit from the University’s extensive IT facilities including:

  • free wi-fi across campus
  • free downloadable Office Professional Plus
  • subject-specialist software.

You can discover information resources through our Researcher@Library scheme, which offers a wide range of workshops throughout the year. Access to a wide range of journals is available online.
You’ll also be able to access appropriate laboratory facilities for your research.