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Current Postgraduate Students


The Chemistry Department fully recognises that your primary purpose for being in the Department as a Graduate student is to perform research: we are fully supportive of this aim.

In pursuit of this goal and of your corresponding personal development, there are some carefully considered elements in your PhD or MPhil training programme that all students will complete, to ensure that uniform education and professional development opportunities are provided to all graduates who come to study and research in our laboratories.

In addition to the elements that will be completed by all graduate students, you will have full freedom during your second and third years in the Department to choose from a huge selection of researcher development events and activities, personalised to yourself and your own career development.  We strongly recommend that you take advice at a very early stage from your Supervisor, Academic Mentor and/or the Grad Ed Team on the best selection of academic courses to choose and thereafter on the Researcher Development and Careers Service openings that will be best suited to you: making the right, informed decisions early on will help greatly in planning your time effectively and enrich your overall experience during your time here.

We are proud of the high quality opportunities we offer as a Department and University and we believe that all our students will embrace them.  From the privilege of hearing high profile visiting Departmental and Research Interest Group (RIG) specific speakers to attending workshops that will enhance your research abilities, careers sessions run by our alumni to hearing experts from industry speak about areas where your science may one day find application: everything is an opportunity particular to this, your time in Cambridge.


We are delighted to be able to now share with you the new on-line platforms which you may use to create two types of training record:

1)  Department certified training: this includes all courses within the Chemistry Department which you have swiped in for (compulsory and voluntary) inside the Chemistry Department, registered by the swipe phone directly into the University Training Booking System (UTBS).  If you wish to check the compulsory courses, please look here.  

  • If you wish to download your certificate, please do so here

2)  Self certified training: this should incorporate all other aspects of your training, including academic courses, seminars, key research outputs, meetings with your supervisor, collaborations, placements and Researcher Development Activities* - see tabs at top of the web pages and/or within the Excel spreadsheet should you prefer it - both inside the Department (if not recorded automatically in the Department of Chemistry by swipe phone) and outside the Department/University which you wish to record.  

  • If you wish to create and download your self-certified training record, please do so here
  • If you prefer to do this using an excel spreadsheet format, please do so here: Excel Spreadsheet Training Record

Ultimately, our goal is to merge the two platforms into one, which will then give the user simply one combined certificate but for now, we need to use the two platforms to generate all the information. 

Please do not worry if there is overlap between the two, e.g. if you realise you have included something in the self-certified training that is in the Department certified training already: we are aware that this may happen and will notice the duplication/disregard.

Please also note that the record of participation in and attendance at the training (FS6, FS7, FS23 & FS24) which constitutes the Core Skills Training Programme (CSTP) is being independently monitored by the Researcher Development Department and will be shared with us at the end of the year.  These training elements will not be included in the Department Certified Training but if you choose to include them in your self certified training, you may.


It is important that your Training Records are something which you are both familiar with and maintaining on a regular basis throughout your PhD studies: this will ensure you have a clear picture of all the achievements you have made when it comes to the point at which you need to leave us and seek your next study opportunity/employment.  To do that effectively, you will need to read the information below very carefully, alongside the Home page in the Training Record web pages or excel spreadshee which explains how to use it.

It is straightforward but knowing what you need to do from the beginning and working towards it will avoid needless worry or panic later on.   


Because we recognise how fundamental researcher development is to your overall experience at Cambridge and your ultimate job prospects, we ask that all of our students take on average 30 days of training throughout their PhD.  During the first year of PhD study, the Department awards you 15 days of credit automatically for taking part in all the compulsory course elements we provide. During the second and third year of your PhD studies (though you may gain credits previously if you choose to), we then support your selection of and attendance at 15 further days worth of workshops and other events, with complete freedom of choice and bespoke to your own career and professional development.  In combination with the compulsory elements carried out by all students during their first year, these will then form part of your Training Records, which are an integral part of the requirement for you to become registered for PhD after the first year report is completed and examined, as well as to graduate successfully from your studies.  We sincerely hope that you will embrace the opportunities you have here (these courses are 'free' to you now but will come at a high price when you leave us) and use some common sense in the choices you make:

  • gain your credits from a range of different skill areas;
  • attend courses because you are generally interested in them/they will be genuinely useful to you, not as a means to simply tick boxes in order to collect the credits.

Generally speaking:

  • Each incidence of up to 0.5 days of training (1.0 - 4.0 hours) will give you 0.5 credits
  • Each incidence of one day of training (4.5 - one day) will give you 1.0 credits
  • Longer training periods will generally be assessed for credits according to the skills gained over the entire period of training: one full credit per new skill learned.

If you have any questions about this, you should speak with the Head of Graduate Education to see what is a fair allowance.


Because we recognise that MPhil students are time-poor, we ask only that a reduced selection of compulsory training elements be undertaken by our MPhils, although of course any MPhil student is free to join whichever other training elements are useful or relevant to them.  Any credits gained may be recorded and if an MPhil student continues on to PhD here in the Department, those credits may be transferred to the PhD Training Records.


Our philosophy is not one of just ticking boxes to say that a particular activity has been carried out and recent experiences can count in terms of the Training Record.  For example:

  •  Students that carried out an MPhil previously in our Department may carry over their Researcher Development credits from the MPhil year;
  •  Any student joining us following a year of rotations/training within a DTP / CDT or otherwise may, following discussion with and approval from the Head of Graduate Education:
    • opt out of compulsory sessions which repeat training they have covered before;
    • include other non-compulsory training they carried out during their first CDT/DTP year as a part of this Training Record.


There are two key times that your training records need to be submitted:

  1. Upon submission of your first year probationary report (simply upload both pdfs to Moodle, labelled with your name, as per the instructions you are given, and provide two printed copies of each (two pages per side, double sided) alongside the printed copies of your first year report;
  2. Upon submission of your PhD thesis (electronic copies labelled with your name to the Graduate Student Co-ordinator).

Apart from the obvious opportunities that this excellent training provides for you, this is required by us as a Department as our proof that students coming to be trained by us through PhD studies are all being provided with the same opportunities, with the precise choice of which to take being down to the individual and bespoke to themselves.