Personal Development

cycling in the Peak District

The University and the Students' Union work together in partnership to provide high quality facilities both on and off campus, so that students have the opportunity to become involved in a wide range of sporting, cultural and volunteer activites in order to achieve their personal development aims.  Students are encouraged to achieve a balance between these activities and their academic studies.

Planning Your Development

Personal Development Planning provides a framework for identifying your personal and academic development needs, for example taking action to address gaps in your knowledge, skills or experience, reflecting on your progress and noting achievements to include in your CV.  Your tutors will be able to provide advice on how to approach this. 

Skills Development

301, the University's Student Skills and Development Centre plays a key role in helping students develop both academically and personally, by helping them get as much as they can out of their learning experience.  301 aims to give students the opportunity to learn additional skills and enhance existing ones.

Doctoral Development Programme (DDP)

All postgraduate research students will participate in the Doctoral Development Programme (DDP).  The DDP provides research students with a range of skills and competency-based training opportunities orientated both towards their specific programme of study and towards future employment.


Employability is the set of achievements, skills, understanding and personal attributes which will help students to be more likely to gain employment, be successful in their chosen occupations and become active citizens.  The Careers Service supports students in maximising their employability in many ways: working with academic departments to incorporate employability in the curriculum; providing advice and practical programmes for developing and recording skills (including employer-led Skills for Success workshops); helping students to find work experience, from part-time jobs and volunteering to summer internships and one-year placements under the Degrees with Employment Experience initiative; and supporting students in choosing graduate careers and applying for graduate opportunities.  Our services are available to all undergraduate and postgraduates; we also provide targeted support for postgraduate researchers.

Career Management Skills

The Careers Service offers a free-elective module to intermediate year students to help them develop their Career Management Skills.  Delivered through a series of interactive workshops, the module will guide participants through a career decision making process and equip them with the strategies they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive global graduate employment market.  By the end of this course, students will have developed their own personalised career action plan.  This means that, on successful completion, they will have achieved not only 20 credits towards their degree, but also a flexible blueprint for their future.

Attributes of The Sheffield Graduate

The University believes that all students should have the opportunity to acquire a set of attributes that enables them to get the most out of their time here, whilst also ensuring that they are ready for further study, employment and engagement with the wider world.

The Sheffield Graduate is:

  • knowledgeable in their subject
  • a skilled and ethical researcher
  • a critical, analytical and creative thinker
  • an entrepreneurial problem solver
  • information literate
  • skilled in the use of IT
  • an efficient planner and time manager
  • a flexible team worker
  • an accomplished communicator
  • an independent learner
  • an active citizen who respects diversity
  • culturally agile and able to work in multinational settings
  • professional and adaptable
  • well rounded, reflective, self aware and self motivated
  • competent in applying their skills and knowledge

This definition provides current students with clear goals for their time at the University and provides staff with a framework for identifying how they can best work with and support students in achieving these.

The Sheffield Graduate Award

The Sheffield Graduate Award recognizes the skills and experience gained outside a student's degree course.  It encourages in students a commitment to self-improvement, enterprise and life skills development, contributing to the distinctive qualities of the typical Sheffield graduate.

The Careers Service will no longer be offering the Sheffield Graduate Award as a free standing opportunity and no further induction sessions will be running.

We want to ensure we equip all our students effectively for their future chosen path. In order to achieve this we will be working towards a more integrated approach to student development, therefore we will look to embed the key learning from the Sheffield Graduate Award within the students' programme, making such opportunities available to all.

All students who have already attended an induction session for the Sheffield Graduate Award will have the opportunity to complete it by early 2018. Those students will be notified directly regarding the process for completing the Award.

Experience Sheffield

There is a wide range of opportunities for students to take part in activities to enhance their experience at Sheffield, whilst providing invaluable skills and personal development for the future.  The Experience Sheffield website will help you choose what to do and how to identify just what you are gaining from your experience, whether that's organising a charity event, running a society or even starting your own business!

Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)

During your studies you will acquire a wide range of learning experiences, achieving not only academically, but also through extra-curricular activities.  The University is committed to recognising the breadth of this student experience and all eligible undergraduate students will receive a HEAR which is a new kind of degree transcript to provide them with a more comprehensive record of their University career.  One of its key purposes is to enhance employability by officially recognising a broad set of University achievements, including extra-curricular activities and awards.

Official snapshots of the HEAR ('interim' HEARs) will also be issued to undergraduates at agreed points prior to graduation, to assist students as they begin to apply for jobs, internships or further study.  Students will be able to view their HEAR as it grows during their time at Sheffield, in order to help them identify the skills and experience they are gaining and plan how to build on these to achieve future goals.

Guidance on Paid Employment

Where full-time undergraduate students undertake paid employment, it is recommended that they should not work for more than 16 hours a week during semesters, since anything additional may start to have an adverse effect on their academic performance.  Full-time research students are restricted to maximum teaching duties of 180 hours per annum, including preparation time and marking.  This figure is based on guidance relating to Research Council Studentships.

Students and Work

From time to time students may be engaged by the University, for example as a result of recruitment to a post through the student Jobshop in the Students' Union Building.  This brings a new relationship with the institution and a protocol has been developed to manage this dual relationship at Students and Work.

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