The Graduate School

Development opportunities

Development Opportunities

Postgraduate research students have access to a wide range of development opportunities both within and outside of Queen’s University. However it is important that students maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of their learning by choosing the most appropriate development opportunities, on an individual basis.

There are a number of considerations which can help ensure that the most appropriate opportunities are chosen.

  • The probability that the effort and chosen activity/activities will lead to the required result.
  • Learning style preferences and other preferences in relation to learning.
  • The accessibility and availability of the chosen development activity/activities.
  • Personal time constraints.

There are, broadly speaking, two types of development: integrated and formal. Integrated development occurs within a work/educational context. It is integrated within such contexts, but has clear development objectives.  Formal development takes place away from work/educational activity. The explicit intention is development and it is structured by trainers and developers. The table below explains the characteristics of these two types of development and provides examples of development opportunities within a postgraduate research student context.    


The Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme (PRDP) provides a wide variety of formal development opportunities: training courses; on-line learning; personal effectiveness programmes; student-led initiatives; mentoring; 1-2-1 consultancy and advice. 

At Queen’s University there is a range of development activities offered to postgraduate research students at both School and Faculty levels. Students are also encouraged to undertake development outside of the University. Vitae provides a range of development opportunities for postgraduate research students, on a national level. 

Postgraduate research students at Queen’s University are expected to undertake 30 days of development activity within the course of their research degrees and an outline of the types of activity included can be found here.   

Guides showing the development activities offered within the PRDP by Researcher Development Framework domain can be found here.