The Graduate Studies Programme
General: Each student's programme is managed by a dedicated committee
consisting of supervisor, second supervisor and two other academic staff members,
who are responsible for the student's training and assessment. At the start of the
project, the student will, in collaboration with their supervisor, produce a 'personal
training plan' (PTP) which will detail all the academic and development goals to
be achieved by the first 9 months. This is used as a template for first-year assessment
at this time and will be revised in accordance with the assessment, to produce a
new plan for the second year. Thus each student develops a personal training programme,
specific to their own project and individual needs. However, all students' programmes
will contain the following components.
Research Techniques: The CRS in the Department runs a techniques
workshop. In the first year, students will be expected to attend sessions directly
relevant to their research topic, but in the second year they will be expected to
attend sessions concerning techniques outside their immediate area of interest.
Acquisition of research skills in this way will be assessed at both the first and
second year assessment meetings.
Experimental design and data assessment: Both these parameters
are tested at the first and second year assessment meetings, and appropriate use
of statistics will also be assessed. Students will be encouraged to attend undergraduate
QM (quantitative methods) classes if necessary (depending on background) and - on
one occasion - must attend the annual Postgraduate Experimental Design and Statistics
Course run by the Department.
Research Environment: Students are required to assess the health
and safety implications of their projects when they start. The student discusses
each individual risk with their supervisor and hence obtains appropriate training
in risk assessment, and also development of the considerations involved regarding
health and safety.
Communication skills: Students give 2 formal oral presentations
to the Department as part of their first and second year assessments. The first
is limited to the use of overheads, the second to slides/PowerPoint to develop skill
in these media. Writing skills are developed and assessed in the form of the first
and second year reports. Communication of written science is assessed formally at
the 2 assessment meetings. Third year students will be encouraged to attend University
writing skills classes.
Interpersonal and transferable skills: As described above, an evolving
PTP will involve detailed timetables for work, including writing-up in the third
year. Students are also expected to participate in the extensive programme of skills
training offered by the Department, the Division and the University's Centre of
Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CETL). The GSC appreciates that not all the
courses offered are appropriate for all students, so current courses on offer are
listed on an internal webpage, together with a recommendation as to which students
should attend a particular course, and its level of importance to their work.
With respect to handling relationships at work, students are given the BBSRC guide
and University guide to student/supervisor relationships. Most importantly the student's
committee is expected to assist in addressing issues of this type. All BBSRC students
will be strongly encouraged to attend and network at international conferences in
their particular area and to attend a CRAC course, to develop their job-marketing
Transferable skills training information is available at www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/skillstraining/.
Use of IT, data handling and bioinformatics: Students are given
an introduction to the computing facilities of the Department in first week. Students
will be encouraged to attend University Courses dedicated to work processing, presentation,
spreadsheet and specific bioinformatic packages, as appropriate. Adequate competence
in Word, Excel and Powerpoint will be assessed specifically at the first and second
year assessment meetings and presentations.
Those students pursuing a project requiring substantial bioinformatic analysis will
be required to attend the Department Bioinformatics Course, given by the University
Computational Biology Centre - but focused clearly on the requirements of Plant