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PGCRDResearcher Development

Why this course?

The postgraduate certificate in Researcher Development (PGCRD) is a flexible, academic development degree (normally encompassing one-year or two-year part-time study), ideal for university research staff, academics or any member of staff looking to enhance their understanding and skills relating to academic, and related, careers.

The course looks at factors influencing academic careers in higher education (HE) and offers a range of intellectual and practical methods to inform, explore, and develop research activities and career development. Students are encouraged to draw from their own area or discipline, and to explore the development of their careers and research in these areas throughout the course.

The course is aimed at two principal audiences:

  • university academic professional staff interested in exploring options and opportunities that research roles can provide them to develop their careers, succeed in their current positions to benefit themselves and the university
  • any member of staff interested in investigating how research and related skills could further develop their understanding of the HE sector and their role within it

What you'll study

To obtain a PGCert, you'll complete one core class, one recommended class plus one recommended or optional class (three in total).

Completion of the PGCert requires completion of the core class, Building a Successful Research Career plus students have access to a range of recommended Researcher Development classes, namely:

  • Supervising Postgraduate Research
  • Research Bidding and Design – Getting Started
  • Management & Leadership in Higher Education
  • Academic Writing

As optional classes, students can additionally take any module delivered through the Strathclyde Programme in Academic practice Researcher development and Knowledge exchange (SPARK) programme, including those from either the Teaching & Learning or Knowledge Exchange pathways.


All Organisational and Staff Development Unit courses are delivered in our in-house teaching facilities and use a diverse number of technologies to enhance learning.

Guest lectures

Individual classes make use of a selection of guest lecturers who can provide the best training on specialist topics.

Course content

Core class: Building a Successful Research Career

Recommended classes: Supervising Postgraduate Research; Research Bidding & Design – Getting Started; Management & Leadership in Higher Education; Academic Writing

Optional classes: To provide maximum flexibility in the SPARK programme, all classes may be taken as options regardless of programme registration, including the core classes from other pathways.

Learning & teaching

All classes are taught using experiential and reflective techniques to ensure learning outcomes are applicable, useful, and based in authentic activity. Classes are highly flexible, allowing you to make choices based on your own personal interests.

All classes involve a face-to-face element comprising roughly 16 hours in addition to blended learning elements and individual study. Online elements are conducted through MyPlace, Strathclyde's virtual learning environment. A fully online version of the course is in development.


Assessment types differ from class to class, and seek to provide students with variation in assessment approaches that align constructively with teaching and learning aims. Essays, presentations, individual projects, and other methods are commonly used.

Entry requirements

You’ll need an Honours degree qualification or another equivalent qualification.

Fees & funding

Internal applicants

  • staff with contracts totalling 12 months or longer - free of charge
  • staff employed for less than 12 months at Strathclyde - £600 per module

External applicants

  • bespoke training can be designed for external clients upon request for an additional fee. Please contact SPARK@strath.ac.uk.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


All SPARK programme classes are designed and delivered to help students enhance their current and future practice, providing opportunities for both career and personal development.

Contact us


Researcher Development

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Researcher Development

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Sep 2020, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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