E7 Professional development and training

  1. Candidates are required to undertake an assessed professional development and research skills training programme.
  2. The credit requirements for the assessed programme are:
    • MPhil (60 Level M credits)
    • PhD (60-120 credits of which at least 60 are Level M)
    • Professional Doctorate (120-270 credits at Level M)
    • DPhil by publication (60-120 credits of which at least 60 are Level M).
  3. Candidates who teach must comply with the requirements of the University’s Postgraduate Research Teaching Policy (PDF) and must undertake the training available that is appropriate to the number of hours that they teach per year.

Procedures about professional development and training

Assessed professional development and research training

This procedure relates to regulation E7.i-ii.

  1. The purpose of the assessed programme of development is to enable Postgraduate Researcher (PGR) candidates to meet the requirements of the UWE Bristol MPhil or Doctoral descriptor and become effective researchers, and to increase awareness of skills transferability in the wider labour market. Modules selected for this programme by the candidate and their Director of Studies (DoS) should include learning objectives which align to the aims and objectives of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework.
  2. All PGR candidates must achieve the minimum credit requirement specified for their award, but it is recognised that some PGRs will benefit from undertaking research training beyond the minimum required and up to the maximum specified to enable them to reach the requirements of the relevant descriptor for their award.
  3. Masters level modules may be taken from any College or School with the agreement of the DoS that they are relevant to the research project being undertaken and the skills or knowledge required to achieve it. These modules may form part of taught awards at Masters level within the University, in which case they are not run specifically for PGR candidates and are not guaranteed to run every year. Candidates should check with the module leader before registering on the module. Information on modules can be found via the UWE Bristol module specification search function.

Accreditation of learning (AL) and experiential learning (AEL) in MPhil, PhD, and MPhil or DPhil by publication awards

This procedure relates to regulation B4 in the University's Academic Regulations.

  1. PGR candidates wishing to offer previously accredited learning (AL) or experiential learning (AEL) towards some or, occasionally, all of credit requirement for their award must do so in accordance with the University’s Academic Regulations at regulation B4.

Accreditation of learning (AL) and experiential learning (AEL) in professional doctorates

This procedure relates to regulation B4.iii-vi in the University's Academic Regulations.

  1. Where prior learning (AL or AEL) contributes to the credit requirements of a professional doctorate, this must be in accordance with the relevant limits set out in the University's Academic Regulations at regulation B4.iv.
  2. Where a professional doctorate candidate fails to meet the requirements of the award on which they are registered but is eligible to receive the specified lower or interim award, the AL or AEL limit for that award will apply as set out in the University's Academic Regulations at regulation B4.iv.

Processes for considering and reporting AL and AEL to examining boards

This procedure relates to regulation B4.iii–vi in the University's Academic Regulations.

  1. The Doctoral Academy has an established process for the scrutiny and verification of applications for recognition of AL from PGR candidates. During 2023/24 this may be devolved to University Colleges or Schools using processes in accordance with the University's Academic Regulations at B4.iii. PGRs are advised to follow the latest advice provided by the Doctoral Academy when applying for recognition of accredited learning.
  2. The Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is used as a basis for the PGR candidate's development needs analysis. Use of AL against Masters-level project/dissertation modules that do not have explicit learning outcomes related to methods, communication, philosophy or governance will only be approved if there is a particular justification when mapped against the RDF.

  3. AEL requires the matching of the learning achieved through experience by the PGR candidate to the learning outcomes of a specified UWE Bristol module, and must be executed in accordance with regulations at B4.iii–iv. Processes for the consideration of AEL are the responsibility of the University College or School in which the module sits.
  4. Credit awarded to PGR candidates for accredited learning or accredited experiential learning used previously to contribute to a different award will not carry marks in accordance with University's Academic Regulations at B4.v. The module outcome will be pass or fail.
  5. All recommendations to recognise AL or AEL will be confirmed by the designated examining board in accordance with the University's Academic Regulations at

Procedures about PGR candidates who teach

  1. UWE Bristol strategies identify research activity, output and knowledge exploration as key to informing and enriching its taught curricula. PGRs have the potential to play a significant role in supporting learning and teaching in this respect and the Doctoral Academy has developed a policy for PGRs who teach (PDF) which underpins this aim. This policy provides more detailed information about how and when to teach including:
    • Contribution to teaching by PGRs can only occur with the permission of the DoS and must not impede progress on the research degree.
    • Teaching commitments for full-time PGRs may not amount in total to more than 120 hours per academic year (PGRs who teach for more than 120 hours per year must be registered on their research degree award part-time).
    • PGRs who teach must undertake the training made available by the University that is appropriate to the number of hours that they teach per year.

Further information about the Research Skills Development Programme

'Invest in Yourself' is UWE Bristol’s comprehensive programme of researcher development workshops, activities, and resources for researchers at all career stages from PGR onward. Taking part helps PGRs make the transition from student to researcher, while becoming part of UWE Bristol’s research community and culture.

The programme is updated annually and we always welcome suggestions for improvement. Please see our Research Skills Development page for current programme details.

Doctoral Academy Handbook sections