Student Skills Profile

PhD Skills Profile

Academic Skills

Technical and subject specific skills

Skills developed through a placement in industry or similar

Skills developed during teaching sessions

Skills developed through self-directed or independent learning

Skills developed through assessment

 

Students often feel unsure of exactly which skills they are developing through their university study. They are particularly uncertain of the value of those skills to employers. As a result, they may keep quiet about them, focusing instead on skills developed through extracurricular activities and part-time work.

Your time spent studying is a very important factor in your development. There is, after all, a reason why employers seek graduates for their posts. A closer look at the components of your degree study will help you recognise what you have to offer and your value in the workplace.

If you’re not sure to what extent you need to spell out your skills to employers, remember that it is difficult for them to know the exact details of the degree subject you’ve studied as there are literally hundreds of programmes available and there is no way they can have specialist knowledge of them all.

Suggested activity

You may find it helpful to use the tips below to create a profile of the skills you have gained during your academic studies. You are welcome to record your thoughts on the Students Skills Profile or on the PhD Skills Profile documents.

Technical and subject specific skills

  • Specific subject knowledge
  • Scientific techniques or knowledge
  • Statistical analysis or data analysis

Skills developed through a placement in industry or similar

  • Independence
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Business and commercial awareness
  • Awareness of different cultures
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Specialised technical skills

Skills developed during teaching sessions

  • Lectures - listening skills, note taking, attention to detail, analysis of large amounts of information for relevant detail
  • Seminars - presentation skills, group work, critical thinking, analysis of ideas, interpersonal skills, problem solving, creativity, logical thinking
  • Field work - teamwork, problem solving, creativity, flexibility, time management, interpersonal skills, communication skills, negotiation, critical thinking, analytical skills
  • Lab work - group work, attention to detail, time management, note taking, numeracy, written communication
  • Oral presentations - presentation skills, independence, creativity, time management

Skills developed through self-directed or independent learning

  • Essay writing - time management, critical thinking, research skills, writing skills, ability to absorb large amounts of information, IT skills, discriminating and judging points of view
  • Researching a topic - research skills, note taking, critical thinking, ability to absorb large amounts of information, independence, time management
  • Working through problems or questions - problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, time management, numeracy
  • Background reading - ability to absorb large amounts of information, ability to prioritise, time management, research skills
  • Group work - interpersonal skills, project management, independence, self-motivation, commitment, critical thinking, IT skills, writing skills
  • Online study (also called e-learning) - IT skills, self-motivation, independence, and skills associated with specific tasks (e.g. research, group work)
  • Project work - project management, independence, self-motivation, commitment, critical thinking, IT skills, writing skills, subject specific technical skills, interpersonal skills, sensitivity, negotiation
  • Independent development of study skills - willingness to learn, self-development, self-reliance, plus the specific skills addressed

Skills developed through assessment

  • Exams - ability to work under pressure, ability to prioritise, ability to absorb and retain complex information, time management, structuring an argument, writing skills, critical thinking
  • Essays - time management, critical thinking, research skills, writing skills, ability to absorb large amounts of information, IT skills, discriminating and judging points of view
  • Dissertation - as with essays but also project management, independence, creativity, self-motivation, commitment
  • Special projects - project management, independence, self-motivation, commitment, critical thinking, IT skills, writing skills, subject-specific technical skills
  • Group projects - as with special projects but also interpersonal skills, sensitivity, negotiation
  • Peer assessments - interpersonal skills, group working, sensitivity, critical analysis, independence
  • Oral presentations - presentation skills, independence, creativity, time management
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