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Course Information


Researcher Development Programme

The courses on the RDP are there to support your study and career development and you can choose to engage with them at a time that suits you (subject to the formal requirements of your department’s annual review process). Courses such as From Surviving to Thriving, Getting the Most Out of the Supervisor/Student Relationship, Research Efficiency and Effectiveness, Approaching the Thesis and Writing the Literature Review, may be useful in your first year. In your second year you may like to learn about research tools such as NVivo, SPSS or MATLAB if needed, or Ethics and Data Protection, and start thinking about the wider research experience and improve your presentation skills and think about publication.Towards the end of your research journey you may find the Viva course useful and be thinking about your potential career and we have a number of courses to help you identify your skills and look toward life beyond your research degree. There are many more courses and they are repeated each year so you can pace yourself. MRes students are welcome to take any of the courses that you think would be appropriate.


Currently all courses are online


Applying for Funding - How to Write a Research Proposal

Are you revising your project proposal for your PhD? Or developing a proposal for funding? This workshop will provide practical advice on writing a succinct, engaging and convincing proposal. You will review genuine sample proposals from successful PhD and funding applications and try out techniques for writing your own. The workshop materials will be drawn from the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences but the approaches considered will also be relevant to students from other disciplines. 

Applying for Jobs: CVs & Applications


The focussed webinar (led by a former academic researcher and seconded career development advisor) provides an overview of what constitutes an effective CV and application within Research and in other sectors.

We’ll examine, generically, what makes an effective CV and consider the different types of document that are required for different posts.  We’ll think about how you can best present your qualifications, skills and experiences to a range of audiences and make an immediate first impression.

We’ll also explore how these principles can help you to create an effective application letter or form.

Following on from the webinar, participants will be offered the opportunity to gain feedback on their CV.

Applying for Postdoctoral Fellowships and Research Grants

Are you thinking of applying for your first postdoctoral fellowship or research grant? A major factor in determining your success is your project proposal. This workshop will provide practical advice on writing a succinct, engaging and convincing proposal. You will review genuine sample proposals from successful applications and try out techniques for writing your own. The workshop will also introduce you to the current postdoctoral research funding environment and to ways of keeping up-to-date with opportunities. 

Demystifying the Viva

The purpose of this workshop is to examine the doctoral viva process and experience in order to help doctoral researchers with their preparation for it.

‘Success’ in a doctoral viva is the product not only of writing a good thesis, but also of being well prepared for the viva.  The doctoral viva can, however, be shrouded in mystery. The workshop will aim to demystify the viva by exploring the range of purposes served by the viva, how the viva works procedurally and the criteria generally imposed by institutions and those used by examiners. Some insights into the examiners’ perspectives will be provided to further shed light on the process.

Advice will be provided about intellectual preparation, practical preparation and emotional preparation, including how to respond productively to the range of possible outcomes.

Effective Presentation Skills

This course will provide a foundation of presenting skills that will help students deliver conference and departmental presentations throughout their academic career, as well as providing a basis for continuing to improve their presentational skills throughout their working lives. Students will be able to work on a current presentation of their own and receive individual feedback and guidance. 


Ethics standards apply very generally across many topics, methods and disciplines of research. This course explores what it means to be an ethical researcher. It examines the principles of ethical conduct and professionalism, involving reviewing some ethical Codes of Practice. It explores what academic misconduct means, including plagiarism, and how students should respond if they uncover malpractice.

Students will also have the opportunity to review the conventions of referencing and the legal rights of authors while they explore how current data protection laws apply to research, and discuss their impact upon that research. The nature of ‘informed consent’ and how to obtain it will also be discussed, and students will also explore how to balance risk when planning research. 

From Surviving to Thriving:

A five-week course to help researchers move out of the ‘panic mode’ and their current struggles with research and towards being just a little bit more productive and happier.

The modules would be 2 hours and they cover ‘essential’ guides to: Developing Your Resilience; Managing Your Procrastination; Cultivating Your Productivity; Nurturing Your Happiness and The Emotionally Intelligent Researcher.

Improving Writing Strategies for Publication

With increasing workloads, importantly focusing on teaching for example, an obvious question to ask is: How do I improve my writing strategies for publication?  To answer this question, this practical, pragmatic and interactive one-day course starts by taking a step back to go forward by answering simple questions such as ‘what actually is academic writing?’; ‘What is research?’ and ‘How does the English language actually work, when it comes to academic writing?’.  Answers to these questions lay the foundation for exploring the expected structures of the different levels of academic writing – from the sentence, through to the paragraph and the article – so that when time is short, you can write immediately according to a set of templates to help you improve your strategies for publication.  

Improve your Work/Life Balance

This course gives you the rare opportunity to take a break from the treadmill of work, to focus on yourself and consider the areas of your life to which you could pay greater attention. Our physical and mental health is often not at the forefront of our priorities whilst we are doing our PhD, and with a small adjustment not only could our life be more enjoyable but even more effective and productive.

Managing Research Publications and Data 

This class will give you an introduction to creating and updating your PGR profile on the College website using Pure, help you understand how to raise your research profile and visibility via research publications using Pure, an opportunity to get practical support with Pure profiles, Open Access for research publications: the REF and funder’s (including the Research Councils) requirements and how to meet them, practical opportunities to look at how to make research publications OA via Pure, an introduction to research data management including meeting funder’s requirements and writing a data management plan.

Research data management (RDM) is a key element of the research process and good practice in data management is one of the core areas of the responsible conduct of research. Visit Royal Holloway's RDM website to find more information about different aspects of RDM.

Making an Impact Online

Most academic content is accessed online: this class is a guide to academic blogging, tweeting and research paper discoverability.

Professional and Career Development Planning

The current health situation has certainly provided some people with the time to stop and think a little about their career and what they need to focus on instead of their previous routines.  We appreciate that everything seems to be confused and on hold at present but that shouldn’t mean that you don’t consider your career development needs.  So, when it comes to a longer-term career plan, how and where do you even start?

In this focused webinar, tailored to research and led by a former academic researcher, we will focus on the different elements of career planning and help you to identify the steps you need to take and the aspects that will help you to take control of your career.

Research Effectiveness

In these current times it’s one thing to have a routine and complete tasks but it’s another thing to actually be Effective as an original thinker.  In this short focussed webinar (with a small amount of pre-thinking to help you get the most from it) we’ll focus on some strategies for helping you to read strategically and write effectively.  We also briefly explore research creativity and thinking.

Our aim is that these tools can be productive for you whether you’re in lockdown, or when we return to some sort of normality.

Research Efficiency

The current health situation has led to a radical change in professional and personal circumstance for everyone. But research goes on. And in the new reality of remote working and professional distancing we all need to reflect on how we are productive and efficient.

This short webinar (with prethinking to help you get the most from the time) will not deal explicitly with remote working (there’s lots of advice about that already) but will provide a toolkit of ideas, reflective questions and proactive strategies to help you get the best out of your time, handle your project efficiently and manage your self and your motivation.

This webinar compliments the session on Research Effectiveness.


Careers Courses

These classes will help you to write academic and non-academic applications and negotiate job interviews in both academia and industry. There is also a session on jobs inside Higher Education but for those who do not want to work within academia. Webinars on getting a good post-doc position, working in industry and career planning are delivered throughout the year.

Academic Writing 

These classes cover the planning of your thesis, time management, writing literature reviews and methodologies, writing style and writing for the reader, authorial identities, writing strategies for a writing block, and writing for publication. Please see Moodle for details.

Approaching the Thesis

This session will cover the common areas that some students may struggle with or want to improve upon when undertaking a research project. The session will cover strategies for:

  • Planning
  • Structures
  • Aims and articulating your research focus
  • Contribution to knowledge
  • Approaches to your research experience
  • Sitting down to write

Writing Literature Reviews

The literature review is one of the most important sections of your thesis. How you engage with authors in your field, and how your own voice comes through amongst the masses of literature could determine the tone for the rest of the thesis. This session will cover:

  • The purposes of a literature review
  • The elements that make up a Literature Review and how to improve it
  • Writing the literature review and issues of authority/authorship and 'invisible scholar' syndrome
  • The language of a literature review

Writing Methodologies

Methodologies are like the framework of a house. If the house is flawed, it will not stand. Having a strong methodological framework for your research is important. Too often methodologies can prove sticking points in a thesis and this session will look at the importance placed on this section. This session will look at:

  • What is included in a methodology chapter
  • Looking at quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Structures
  • What examiners want to know about your methodology
  • Language of a methodology chapter

We will look at examples of methodologies and review how simple writing strategies such as signposting can have a positive effect on the strength of the methodology and therefore the backbone of the whole thesis.

Writing a Scientific Paper

This course will show you how to structure and write your research paper to give it the best chance with a journal. We will look at how to make your writing clearer and more concise, at conventions for research paper style and at the title and abstract in particular. You will get a chance to work on your own next paper, putting together key sentences into a structure and abstract.

Getting your Scientific Paper Published

This course aims to help you publish and publicise a scientific research paper in the most effective way, so that many people will read it, cite it and build on it. You will learn how to navigate the peer review process, how to choose the journal that will give you the best results as fast as possible, how to structure your paper and abstract, and how to publicise your research.

Fundamentals of Academic Writing and Publishing

This practical, pragmatic and interactive three-module course starts by laying a foundation for your academic writing by showing you how academic English ‘works’ and explores a fundamental principle to create clear writing.


This session will help you save time, raise your profile and plan your research by covering:

  • Make the most of college library resources
  • Help you access the resources you need beyond Royal Holloway
  • Organise your references using reference management
  • Services the Royal Holloway Library has in place to assist students

How do I book?

For course and booking information see the RDP Moodle site

Please contact Dr Laura Christie if you have any queries or alternatively please email



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