PhD Workshops

PhD Workshops

As a PhD graduate, your skill-set will naturally include advanced research and analytical techniques required to undertake high level research in your field. You will also be expected to possess a range of transferable skills relevant to the successful completion of your research project and to your broader professional development. Workshops assisting you with aspects of your PhD Programme such as the Stage Transfer Assessment, Research and Professional Development planning and Viva Preparation are provided. In addition, workshops on project management, time management, and presentation skills are available to you.

<b>PhD</b> Workshops

Transferable Skills Workshops 2020/21 

Autumn Trimester Series

Mr Hugh Kearns joins us virtually from Adelaide to deliver a series of his ever-popular workshops this Autumn trimester. These six workshops will all be delivered online, so you can join from wherever you are.  Even if you have been to some of the workshops before, you are bound to pick up some additional advice. 

Full workshop details are listed, booking information is below.





Turbocharge your Writing:
2 part Masterclass


Getting your thesis finished (quicker!)

This course will teach you how to maximise your writing output and how to overcome common obstacles that reduce your writing productivity by:

  • setting a goal and guaranteeing you achieve it
  • producing double the number of words compared to your usual output
  • get more written in two hours a day than in eight
  • dealing with writer's block and procrastination
  • not obsessing over the quality of writing
  • not letting distractions get in the way of your writing
  • not thinking your writing or research is good enough
  • working well with your supervisor to improve your writing
  • actually finishing your research on the date you set!


Research higher degree (RHD) students who are in the writing intensive phase of their thesis and/or academic/research staff who wish to increase their writing productivity.

10:00-12:00, Friday November 6th


10:00--12:00 Monday November 16th 2020

(Note: participants must attend both sessions) 

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How to plan your PhD 

A PhD is a major undertaking yet many people spend more time planning a weekend away than they do planning the next three years of their life. This generally leads to missing deadlines, running overtime, regular crises and lots of stress. If you want to finish on time and enjoy the process along the way then it is important to have a good plan.

You need some very specific skills and tools to plan a PhD. This workshop will introduce you to the PhD Planning Toolkit. You will learn how to use these tools to:

  • create your big picture thesis plan
  • unpack your thesis down into logical parts
  • create tasks lists for each stage of your thesis
  • estimate times and schedule tasks
  • create a Gantt chart for your thesis
  • keep on track as you implement your plan
  • plan your writing
  • manage the finances
  • identify risks and deal with setbacks

At the end of the workshop you will have your own PhD Planning Toolkit and know how to use it to plan your PhD.


PhD candidates in early to mid-candidature


10:00-12:00, Tuesday November 10th, 2020



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Idea Mapping/ Mind mapping

Mapping your ideas is a creative way to organise your thinking. There are a range of tools such as concept maps, mind maps or idea maps.

These mapping techniques are used all over the world by students, teachers, researchers and in business as a way of improving learning and increasing creativity. They can be used to: organise the content and ideas in your thesis, structure a paper or report you need to write, prepare your lecture or presentation, or record brainstorming sessions. They are effective, easy to use and most of all FUN. In this workshop you will learn by doing. You will see how a idea map is created and then create your own using your own topic.

The workshop will include opportunities for you to use idea mapping with your own project. So bring along your ideas (and some coloured pencils)!

This is a learning by doing workshop. You will get to try out different approaches, see what others do and get guidance and suggestions on how you can get the most out of idea maps. In the workshop you will:

  • Find out about the different types of maps (concept, mind, idea)
  • Learn guidelines you can apply in developing maps
  • See examples of idea maps
  • Use maps to boost creativity
  • Find out about further resources


Anyone who wants hands-on experience of using idea maps.


10:00-12:00, Thursday November 19th, 2020


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Staying well during your PhD

Undertaking a PhD is both an exciting and challenging experience. It can be an emotional roller-coaster. The excitement of working on something you care about, exploring new ideas and making a contribution to knowledge. The challenges of feeling isolated and overwhelmed, dealing with setbacks, uncertainty, conflict and loss of motivation. Inevitably over the course of your PhD you will experience times when things aren’t going so well. This workshop draws on evidence-based strategies to help YOU stay well during your PhD.

Topics will include:

  • Managing the workload
  • Resilience and finding a balance
  • Learning how to switch off
  • Dealing with worries about setbacks and progress
  • Good habits e.g. exercise, sleep, routines
  • Dealing with isolation, lack of structure and loss of motivation
  • Procrastination, perfectionism and over-committing
  • Disagreements with supervisors and other colleagues
  • Support for more serious mental health issues
  • Supporting friends/colleagues who may be struggling



PhD researchers who want to explore ways to stay well during their research career.

10:00-12:00, Wednesday December 2nd, 2020


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Presenting your Research with Confidence

If you're a researcher then at some stage you are going to have to present your findings. It's tempting toget up and just read your paper, but to really speak to your audience you need to be able to communicateskilfully and with conviction. We've all been to dull presentations so it's worth your while spending alittle time to learn how to do it properly.

This workshop will provide a clear step-by-step structure that you can use again and again to give high quality presentations. It will cover:

  • How to make your message relevant to your audience
  • How to structure and link parts of your talk
  • Preparing materials, notes, handouts, powerpoint
  • Practicing
  • Delivery
  • How to handle questions
  • Dealing with nervousness

And it will be interactive and fun!


Anyone who has to present at a conference or give a seminar or a lecture on their area of expertise.


10:00-12:00, Friday December 4th, 2020


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The Impostor Syndrome

Why successful people often feel like frauds

How can it be that so many clever, competent and capable people can feel that they are just one step away from being exposed as a complete fraud? Despite evidence that they are performing well they can still have that lurking fear that at any moment someone is going to tap them on the shoulder and say "We need to have a chat".

The session will explain why high performing people often doubt their abilities and find it hard to enjoy their successes. It will also show the links to perfectionism and self-handicapping strategies such as procrastination, avoidance and overcommitment.

At the end of this session you will:

  • know what the latest psychological research tells us about the impostor syndrome is and how it operates
  • realise how widespread imposter feelings are and why highly successful people can feel like frauds
  • be aware of evidence-based strategies that reduce impostor feelings


Anyone who wants to find out more about the impostor syndrome.


10:00-12:00, Wednesday December 9th, 2020


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Booking Information


Alternatively, view booking details here

Note: dial-in information will be provided to registered participants ahead of each session

You may also find the resources below to be helpful. 

Video Resources

Please see below for video recordings of Transferable Skills training delivered by Graduate Studies staff, which students may find helpful. 

  • Mind the TAP This video aims to assist Stage 1 doctoral students in preparing for their Transfer Assessment.
  • Surviving your Viva Voce This video aims to assist doctoral students in preparing for their viva voce or oral defence of their thesis.
  • Working with your Supervisor This video explores the dynamics of this important relationship and offers tips on optimising the experience from the student’s perspective.
  • Getting to Grips with your RPDP This video aims to introduce you to on how to start completing your RPDP.
  • Research Degrees @UCD This video aims to introduce you to what it means to do a research degree programme at UCD.

Tip: Subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more video resources