The Graduate School

Postgraduate Researcher Development Planning

Graduate School

Process and Forms

Cycle of planning, doing, recording and reviewing

Process and forms

Mature Students

Setting Aims & Objectives

Identify development areas

Setting aims and objectives

Graduate School

Development Opportunities

What are development opportunities?

Development opportunities

Postgraduate Researcher Development Planning at Queen’s

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) defines personal development planning as a structured and supported process undertaken by a student to reflect upon their own learning, performance, and achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career management.


There are many benefits to be gained from personal development planning.  Postgraduate research students who engage with the process will:

  • become more self aware and able to identify ongoing development needs
  • have a record of development and evidence of transferable skills
  • engage in more focused and relevant skills development
  • develop the skills required for success as a postgraduate researcher
  • be prepared for continued professional development and career planning
  • enhance their employability by being able to articulate their capabilities

The UK Quality Code for Higher Education requires that ‘research students have appropriate opportunities for developing research, personal and professional skills’ and that ‘each research student's development needs are identified and agreed jointly by the student and appropriate staff at the start of the degree’ and are ‘regularly reviewed and updated as appropriate’ (Chapter B11: Research degrees).  

Postgraduate research students at Queen’s University are required to take responsibility for their personal and professional development and for recognising the support  they need in this regard (Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes). Supervisory teams  agree with students the training and development requirements that need to be fulfilled in relation to their  research degree programmes.

Students should use the Queen’s University Postgraduate Researcher Development Planner to support their development planning.  Personal development planning guidance notes for supervisors and students are attached here.

The Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme team provide a supporting role, and are  available to provide guidance and assist students and/or supervisors in relation to development planning.

An HEA study in 2005 concluded:

‘PDP is important at postgraduate level. It is important for research students emerging from 5* RAE rated research departments to have reflected upon/developed key skills to ensure successful transition to the world of work.’

Researcher Development Planning

Postgraduate Researcher Development Planning at Queen's covers guidance on how to identify development needs, set personal development objectives and select relevant development activities.

Quick Links

Postgraduate Researcher Development Planner

Postgraduate Researcher Development Planning Guidance

Researcher Development Framework