What to Expect During the PhD Program

While the main focus of the PhD program is to conduct scientific research on a particular topic within one of the groups at the School of Chemistry, there are a number of other activities that the students are encouraged and expected to attend to complement their research experience:

School Colloquia

The School holds weekly seminars during the academic year, with visiting academic lecturers. Graduate students are expected to attend at least half of these.

Regular and ad hoc Postgraduate Training Courses

Within the School, biennial courses are held on topics such as NMR and Mass Spectrometry, and a variety of annual transferable skills courses are held. The School also encourages students to make constructive use of the range of transferrable skills training available through other organisations within the University, in particular the Institute for Academic Development. Students are expected to attend a balanced selection of courses during the course of their PhD.


PhD students spend about 40 hours per year as demonstrators in undergraduate student labs. This is a valuable opportunity to interact with the undergraduate students in our School and acquire experience in teaching.

Attendance at Conferences

Dissemination of research to the scientific community is an integral part of any research project. PhD students are required to attend the Joseph Black Conference, which is a whole-school conference held in May each year in which 2nd year and 3rd year PhD students present their research. Students may also attend national and/or international conferences and courses appropriate to their research field and present their work to the wider scientific community.