skip to content

Current Graduate 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 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 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.


PLEASE NOTE: we are currently developing an on-line portal to replace the Excel Spreadsheet which is linked through the text below.  For those submitting their first year report in January 2018, please use the excel spreadsheet.  We anticipate that the on-line portals will be complete by Spring 2018 and ready for pilot use this academic year, i.e. 29th June 2018 first year report submission.



It is very important that your Training Record is something which you are both familiar with and maintaining on a regular basis throughout your PhD studies.  To do that effectively, you will need to read the information below very carefully, alongside the first page in the Training Record itself 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 Record, which is 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!


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 or CDT 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


You should record all of your training in your Training Record, including attendance at:

  • Compulsory course elements;
  • Non-compulsory recommended courses
  • Academic courses (both Department of Chemistry and those run elsewhere);
  • Research Seminars (Department of Chemistry Departmental/RIG seminars, as well as those in other Departments);

As well as:

  • Meetings with your Supervisor/co-Supervisor;
  • Key research outputs;
  • Collaborations and placements;
  • Researcher Development activities: many of those available are listed here, together with their associated credits; please see the Head of Graduate Education if there are training opportunities that you find elsewhere which are not listed here.

Obviously, for any course booked using the University Training Booking System (UTBS), your attendance is automatically recorded electronically.  However, currently the print out from UTBS contains all sessions (including those booked and not attended or cancelled) so we still ask that, even though your attendance is monitored electronically through this, you make your own record to submit at the end of the first year and at the end of PhD studies, from which it is much more simple to understand what you have achieved.  We are working with UTBS to rectify this situation but this is a long term project so the training record does still need to duplicate what is recorded officially in UTBS.


There are two key times that your training record needs to be submitted:

  1. Upon submission of your first year probationary report (simply upload to Moodle, labelled with your name, as per the instructions you are given);
  2. Upon submission of your PhD thesis (electronic copy 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.