Your career and development

Postgraduate research student in Laidlaw Library

A postgraduate research degree is your opportunity to develop skills in preparation for a fruitful career, as well as contributing to a research area you’re passionate about.

Below are just some of the transferable skills you will develop throughout your studies:

  • Ability to work independently and as a team
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Organisational skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Project management
  • Time management.

Whether you have your sights set on an academic career, or want to apply your knowledge to a specific area within an organisation, the skills developed throughout your studies will be highly sought after.

Our alumni have gone on to careers in academia and beyond, with many progressing to roles in higher education such as Lecturer or Assistant Professor, in the UK and overseas.

Research pathways

Which research degree you choose often depends on your motivation for undertaking a postgraduate research programme and the amount of time you can dedicate to your research. Below we explore where the different research degree options could take you and the commitment required.


A PhD is the most internationally-recognised research qualification and would be relevant for those wishing to pursue an academic career or a career targeting specific issues within an organisation. You can choose to study for a PhD either three years (full-time) or five years (part-time).

MA by Research

An MA by Research can be completed in one year (full-time) or two years (part-time) and can be started at any point during the academic year. The part-time option makes it ideal for those wishing to continue working whilst studying, scheduling supervision sessions to fit around your professional life.

Training and support

Whichever route you choose to pursue, we encourage you to take advantage of the numerous training and support opportunities available. Whether you need guidance on how to plan your next steps, wish to network with fellow researchers or you’re looking to brush up your presentation skills, our research community and extensive resources can help.

Find out more about the support and training opportunities available.

Careers advice for researchers

The Careers Centre offers a tailor-made programme of support for postgraduate researchers including one-to-one discussions and appointments with a Faculty of Social Sciences consultant. 

Teaching opportunities

Teaching opportunities are offered to select candidates who will have the opportunity to share their expertise in a number of teaching areas as module assistants. At the outset of each year, teaching opportunities are advertised and postgraduate applications are assessed according to skills and school needs. Teaching allocation is made in line with our equality policies.

Postgraduate teaching assistants are given guidance and training before they begin teaching.