SOAS University of London

Doctoral School

Research Training Provision

Pursuing a PhD is increasingly seen as more than producing a thesis and acquiring a scholarly specialism. Your motivations for embarking on a PhD journey may vary, but by the end of it, you will be expected to be able to operate as an independent and competent researcher in various professional contexts and achieve broader social impacts. In order to better prepare you for the current competitive economy and other challenges ahead of you, SOAS is committed to the academic and professional development of all doctoral researchers. Our doctoral training programme is robust and in line with the recommendations of UK Research Councils (RCUK), the Vitae Researcher Development Framework, and other good practices of the sector. This page provides you with an overview of training opportunities at your disposal.

Given the abundance of opportunities but the pressures of time, it is crucial for doctoral researchers to plan and monitor their researcher development activities strategically. The annual Training Needs Analysis (TNA) has been designed to help you and your supervisors in that process. The TNA is a conversation between a doctoral researcher and their lead supervisor at the beginning of each academic year, whereby both parties identify skills areas that need further development and make prioritised action plans for that year.

Throughout the rest of the year, the doctoral researcher must enter any activities and reflections that ‘evidence’ their efforts to meet the training needs in the SOAS Logbook. The entries will be overseen by the supervisors and considered for annual progression. Support for logbook use can be found on BLE. You will need to log in using your SOAS ID and password.

Here you will find a summary of training opportunities provided for MPhil/PhD students provided both across SOAS and at other institutions.

Table of Contents

  1. Doctoral School
  2. Arts and Humanities Faculty
  3. Languages and Cultures Faculty
  4. Law and Social Sciences Faculty
  5. Careers Service
  6. Learning and Teaching Development
  7. Library & IT
  8. IFCELS
  9. Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network
  10. Doctoral Training Centres and other opportunities

Doctoral School

  • Doctoral Training Advisor: Yenn Lee
  • Courses/Workshops specifically for research students (taught in collaboration with various teams of the School)
    • Research/thesis writing
    • Generic methods and techniques for data collection and analysis
    • Research integrity and management
    • Academic publication and presentation
  • Understanding Research Methods MOOC: A massive open online course on research methods in humanities and social sciences, accessible on demand. The course was developed jointly by SOAS and the University of London International Programmes and was nominated for a Guardian University Award in 2015.
  • One-to-one consultations by appointment

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Arts & Humanities Faculty

Department-specific training:

Anthropology & Sociology
History
  • Research Tutor: Marie Rodet
  • Mandatory for MPhils: the Methodology Seminar for 2 terms (Wed 11-1), the Regional Research Seminar, and one Generic Research Skills seminar
  • Further information: degree page and degree handbook
History of Art & Archaeology
Media Studies
  • Research Tutor: Dina Matar
  • Weekly research training seminars for MPhils on Mon 5-7
  • Weekly research seminars on Wed 5-7 (schedule available online)
  • Methods course for MAs and MPhils on Wed 3-5
  • Further information: degree page
Music
  • Research Tutor: Richard Widdess
  • Research training course on alternate Tue at 5:15
  • Public research seminars in the other weeks
  • Research students allowed to attend master’s Analysing World Music in Term 2
  • Further information: degree page
Study of Religions
  • Research Tutor: Erica Hunter
  • MPhil Research Writing Workshop throughout the year
  • 3rd-year PhD students give presentations to the Research Student Seminar
  • All research students invited to the Departmental Seminar
  • All research students urged to attend MA Methods and Theory course
  • Further information: degree page 

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Languages & Cultures Faculty

Faculty-wide training:

  • Mandatory research training seminars on Tue 5-7 (except for Linguistics students)

 Department-specific training:

Africa
  • Research Tutor: Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jnr
  • 2 termly seminars and 1 mini-conference in the course of an academic year (in collaboration with Research Tutor Rachel Dwyer)
  • Students encouraged to attend research training in the Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) as well as seminars and conferences in and beyond the School
  • Further information: degree page
China and Inner Asia
  • Research Tutor: Xiaoning Lu
  • Mandatory Postgraduate Research Training Seminar on Tuesdays 5-7pm
  • PhD students give presentations to the Department Research Seminar and all research students are invited
  • All research students encouraged to attend seminars organised by the Centre of Chinese Studies
  • Further information: degree page
Cultural, Literary & Postcolonial Studies
Film Studies
Japan & Korea
Linguistics
Near & Middle East
South Asia
South East Asia
Translation Studies

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Law & Social Sciences Faculty

Faculty-wide training:

The Faculty provides a two-part Research Ethics and Security workshop (schedule to be confirmed) and a 10-week Quantitative Methods course (on Tuesdays in Term 2) for MPhil students across all three faculties.

Further information: research students information page

Department-specific training:

Development Studies
Economics
International Development Pathway 

(shared between Development Studies and Economics)

  • Compulsory LIDC seminar series
  • Compulsory departmental PG research training of either Development Studies or Economics
  • Its own additional training course Battlefields of Methods: compulsory for MSc Research for International Development students and strongly recommended for other MPhil/PhD students
  • Further information: degree page
Financial & Management Studies
  • Research Tutor: Ciaran Driver
  • Students take various Quantitative Methods courses at MSc level
  • Individual tuition on Advanced Topics in Finance & Management and two research forums
  • Further information: degree page and degree handbook
Gender Studies
Global Studies
  • Research Tutor: Sutha Nadarajah
  • Mandatory for MPhils: Research methods training provided by CISD
  • Research student-led colloquium in Term 2 nearing upgrade
  • Further information: degree page
Law
  • Research Tutor: Fareda Banda
  • Research Methods in Law [PG Research Training Seminar]
  • Further information: degree page and student information guide
Politics & International Studies
  • Research Tutor: Alastair Fraser
  • Politics MPhil Methods on Thu 3-5 in Term 1, MPhil Research Seminar in Term 2, and Politics MPhil Conference in Term 3
  • Further information: degree page

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Careers Service

  • Careers Consultant for Doctoral Students and Early Career Researchers: Jana Dankovicova
  • One-to-one 30-minute consultations – career planning, CVs and applications, mock interviews, etc. (Thursdays 10-12pm)
  • PGR / ECR workshops include:
    • Academic career planning
    • Academic applications and CVs
    • Academic planning beyond academia
    • Non-academic applications and CVs
    • Academic and non-academic interview skills
    • Networking skills
    • Presentation skills 
  • Events for Doctoral students:
    • Academic Careers Day
    • Research Careers outside academic and other PhD-level careers
  • Other SOAS Careers events with employers and alumni
  • Online resources and further information: Early Career Researchers 

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Learning and Teaching Development (formerly Academic Development Directorate)

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Library & IT

  • Library news (from our subject librarians)
  • Training for printer/photocopier use also offered at the beginning of the term
  • Orientation Day presentation
    Research Students' Orientation Day presentation. A copy of the presentation for Library & Information Services is available online.
  • Subject Librarians
    All research students are encouraged to arrange a one to one training sessions with thei Subject Lbrarians.
  • Interlibrary loans
    Interlibrary loans from the British Library are free for postgraduate students. Loans from other sources are charged at £3 per satisfied request. Interlibrary loans can be requested via the website and via the Interlibrary loan form embedded in EBSCO Discovery Service.
  • Study Carrels
    Research students are entitled to use the study carrels on Levels D and C in the Library. Carrels are available on a daily basis and keys are available from the Issue Desk on Level E.
  • Ebooks
    The Library provides access to over 100,000 ebooks. Search for them on the Library catalogue or via the eJournal and eBook Finder.
  • Ejournals
    The Library provides access to over 40,000 e-journals. Search by title via the eJournal and eBook Finder or for individual articles under "Articles and more" on the Library catalogue.
  • Specialist databases
    The Library provides access to 70+ specialist databases including bibliographies, abstracts and indexes for literature searching; legal databases; financial databases; news databases; data and statistics; primary source materials; full text dissertations and theses; resources in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. For more guidance on resources by subject see the relevant subject guides. For a list of all available databases see databases web pages.
  • Recommendation forms
    The Library has online recommendation forms for new resources, whether books, journals, databases etc. All requests will be considered and responded to.
  • Access to other libraries
    All research students may have access to and can often borrow books from over 160 academic libraries under the SCONUL Access scheme. Apply once online for access.
  • Finding material in other libraries
    Try checking union catalogues such as COPAC and WorldCat to locate materials in other libraries in the UK and worldwide. A list of catalogues is available from the SOAS Library webpages.
  • Archives & Special Collections
    The Library houses a unique collection of archives, manuscripts and rare books relating to Africa, Asia and the Middle East which can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room on Level F. Access the web pages or visit the Reading Room for more information.
  • Keeping up to date - Library & Archives Social Media
    The Library has an active social media presence. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and blogs for latest updates and news about new resources.
  • Reference Management Software
    The Library supports use of the Zotero reference management tool which is freely available online. Training is offered and online support materials and tutorials are available from the IT training Moodle site.
  • Training sessions
    The Library offers a programme of workshops and training opportunities. All students may also book a one to one session with a Subject Librarian (see above).

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IFCELS

  • In-sessional Academic English Support for international students at all levels
  • Relevant courses include:
    • Research Reading
    • Preparing and Writing Dissertations (for a taught programme)
    • Grammar Improvement
    • Seminar Skills
  • One-to-one support available but places limited
  • Further information: IFCELS

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Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network

  • A wide range of training courses for research students across different institutions
  • Participating institutions: 
    • University College London
    • Birkbeck
    • London School of Economics
    • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
    • School of Advanced Study
    • Royal Veterinary College
    • Kings College London
  • The BPSN reserves the right to charge a cancellation fee of £50 where a student does not attend a course without giving 2 working days' notice.
  • Place can be limited so book early
  • Further information: BPSN website

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Doctoral Training Centres and other opportunities

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