Your Training and Development

As a research student you’ll have access to a range of training and development opportunities to help you get the best out of your research and develop professionally.  Our aim is to create a research culture within which your ideas can develop and flourish, and to provide you with the facilities and support to complete your research project successfully.  Your supervisor will be there to provide academic guidance throughout your PhD, providing support and direction as required to ensure that you are able to develop your research skills and take full advantage of the professional development opportunities available to you within the University and wider national and international networks.

Supporting you throughout your PhD studies

The Doctoral Academy

Departmental Reviews and your Viva Examination

If you choose to enrol for a PhD whilst studying for the MPhil, a confirmation interview will be held at the end of your first year. This is an opportunity to discuss your research progress with a panel of academic staff and is ideal preparation for your final viva examination, which will be held at the end of your third year.

A structure is in place which guarantees regular meetings with your supervisors to facilitate your progress. This process is overseen for academic rigour by the department’s graduate research board, who report back to both the student and the supervisor on a regular basis.

Download our guide to preparing for your viva examination here (pdf 65KB)

Training Needs Analysis

Research students joining the University undertake a training needs analysis (TNA) and devise a personal development plan. Your TNA tracks your development and is centred on the acquisition of skills in the following areas:

  • Becoming an effective researcher
  • Advanced research and career skills
  • Scholarship and engagement
  • Subject-specific skills

PebblePad: e-portfolio

PebblePad is an online personal learning space, in which you can gather, reflect upon, and produce evidence for the Doctoral Development Programme, building a record of your personal development at the University of Sheffield.

Everything that you created in PebblePad can be kept private or be shared with others such as peers, supervisors or external users such as placement supervisors or potential employers.

PebblePad is free to use during your research. Once you’ve completed your research, you can either subscribe to continue using PebblePad or choose to export your PebblePad contents.

A student

A student

a student

The Sheffield Teaching Assistant

If you’re interested in developing your teaching skills, these professional development workshops will provide you with invaluable support and skills.
No previous teaching experience required. The workshops are fully integrated with the Doctoral Development Programme, and on completion you will receive a University of Sheffield certificate.

Doctoral Development Programme

The flexible, ongoing Doctoral Development Programme is a training plan which forms an integral part of your research degree, and is tailored to your individual needs. It provides you with a range of skills and competency-based training opportunities orientated both towards their specific programme of study and future employment.

University of Sheffield Virtual Graduate School

The University’s Virtual Graduate School (VGS) provides research students with a wide range of online research resources including guides, readings and resources about research skills and topics. The VGS supports your development of research skills through key phases of the research degree and is aligned with the Doctoral Development Programme.

Angela Catania

At the University of Sheffield, I am part of a thriving scientific community with many opportunities to exchange ideas with fellow archaeologists as well as students in other areas. The seminars and the other events organised by the department provided me with opportunities to be involved in an active and stimulating debate. Furthermore, the conferences and the seminars in the UK and abroad allowed me to expand my academic network. Finally, the welcoming environment of the Archaeology department allowed me to build my professional skills and improve my academic preparation while growing up as a person in a stimulating but yet very welcoming environment.  

angela catania, PhD Student

Yvette working in the community

I am involved in a number of different outreach projects, including the Roots of Iron project and other heritage outreach projects in partnership with Sheffield City Council and the University of Sheffield, as well as running my own outreach projects for students within the area, who want to get involved with Experimental Archaeology.

Yvette Marks, phd student

Other opportunities to get involved

The Graduate Research Conference and Tuesday Lunchtime Lecture Series

Our students are provided with opportunities to participate and host graduate workshops, including the annual Graduate Research Conference. 

The Department's Tuesday Lunchtime Lecture series is well attended by members of the Department and the wider community and attracts internal and external speakers from across the UK and beyond, offering an excellent networking opportunity.

A student presenting their research

a student


The department’s postgraduate journal Assemblage, run by postgraduate students, is an opportunity for students in the department to hone their writing and publication skills, as contributors, peer-reviewers, and editors.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities publishes a journal called Track Changes, which releases issues bi-annually on broad themes and is open to Archaeology students. Track Changes is run by postgraduate students, as editors, copyeditors and peer reviewers, and publishes student research.

Archaeology in the City

The Department's student-run volunteer outreach programme organises a variety of community activities including:

  • 'Archaeology & Ale', monthly pub talks and podcasts open to all with an interest in archaeology
  • School activities - a range of free outreach activity sessions and courses for students of all ages, both inside of and outside of the Department.
  • Heritage festivals including the Woodland Heritage Festival at the J. G. Graves Woodland Discovery Centre and the Light Up The Hill festival - a celebration of Iron Age Sheffield on Wincobank Hillfort.

More information is available on the Archaeology in the City website

External Conferences

Our postgraduate research students take part in a wide variety of national and international conferences, developing the skills needed to successfully communicate their research to an audience and developing valuable networks.  For fully-funded students, funding support is often available via the research sponsor to enable you to participate in conference presentations or posters. If you are partially or self-funded, funding may be available from the Univeristy's Learned Societies Fund.

Undergraduate Tutoring

Postgraduate Research students are given the opportunity to apply to become tutors to our Level One undergraduate students.  This work allows students to develop their mentoring and teaching skills plus the chance to share their archaeological knowledge and expertise with those just starting out in the discipline.