A research degree from James Cook University is designed to prepare graduates for a wide variety of careers by building professional development activities into the degree program. Most Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates will go on to have careers outside academia, and career opportunities expand if they use their candidature for skills development. The first professional appointment after graduation will be determined not only by the research-specific technical skills gained during candidature but also the transferable generic skills and personal attributes. The JCU Graduate Research School (GRS) therefore makes available an extensive skills development program and requires all HDR candidates to develop a program of Professional Development as part of their degree candidature.
JCU HDR candidates are encouraged to make the most of the professional development and skills-building activities outlined on our website. Seminars and workshops on topics of interest to HDR candidates will be held throughout the year, and the website will be updated regularly as new sessions are added and new information becomes available. Candidates undertaking a PhD under the rules current from January 2014 onwards may count most of the available workshops outlined on the website towards the subject RD7003 Professional Development.
You must undertake a Professional Development Audit and Plan to develop the skills you need for your degree and beyond. The Professional Development Audit and Plan occurs between commencement and the Confirmation of Candidature Milestone, ideally in association with your Advisory Panel. Progress towards achieving your Professional Development Plan will be formally reviewed as part of your degree Milestones.
Professional Development Program workshops are available in priority order to HDR candidates, postgraduate coursework students, Honours students, JCU staff (especially Early Career Researchers) and members of the wider community, including members of AIMS@JCU and the CSIRO. We extend a warm invitation to staff at both Townsville and Cairns hospitals to take part in this program. Community members are also welcome if spaces are available.
The Graduate Research School now offers a Career Resources Guide for HDR candidates, prepared by Dr Ian McLeod. This curated, hyperlinked guide provides a useful overview of the many websites and other resources that are available to help you plan for your post-degree career.
Before you start to plan your skills development and training program as part of your research degree, please visit the GRS Policies & Procedures webpage and read the guidelines, policies and handbooks relevant to you as a JCU HDR candidate. It is expected that you will be familiar with those documents throughout your enrolment at JCU.
All research degree candidates must attend the specified Compulsory Components (or undertake their online equivalents where available) and, in some cases, Conditional Components. However, only candidates undertaking a PhD (not a Masters by Research) officially count these seminars towards successful completion of the subject RD7003 Professional Development. Doctoral candidates may select elective components from this program as well, to fulfill the requirements of the subject. All candidates are encouraged to continue building their professional skills until completion of their degree, even after the requirements of RD7003 Professional Development have been met at the time of Pre-Completion Evaluation (or Mid-Candidature Review if you started your degree prior to 1 January 2018.)
Download the RD7003 subject outline