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SKIP (Skills for International Postgraduates) Program
What is the SKIP Program?
SKIP is compulsory for all international research students in their first year of research higher degree candidature.
SKIP is designed to help International HDR candidates finish their thesis on time by equipping them with experience in professional academic writing, including training in critical thinking, research presentation and writing for journals. SKIP is also the only postgraduate support program to provide individual editing assistance. SKIP participants are entitled to up to 3 hours of one-on-one thesis editing from the SKIP Convenor each year, free of charge. If additional editing assistance is required, arrangements can be made with an external editor at an hourly rate, to be paid for by the research student.
SKIP is not an English language program. English language support is provided separately for those who need it, primarily through the PELA program.
The SKIP program is offered twice a year in both Townsville and Cairns, and as required in Singapore. As part of SKIP, participants will have the opportunity to prepare for the Confirmation of Candidature seminar, including taking part in a student conference involving fellow SKIP students. At this event, participants will be able to practise their seminar presentation with an audience who will then provide detailed feedback.
Registering for SKIP
Please note that we do not use CareerHub to register candidates for SKIP. This is because we need to check that all registrants are International research candidates, not domestic candidates or candidates undertaking a coursework degree. Please contact the Convenor, Dr Liz Tynan (Elizabeth.Tynan@jcu.edu.au), who maintains registrations lists and stays in regular contact with participants. Please note: SKIP participants do not need to enrol in the Academic and Thesis Writing Workshops as well, as there is some overlap in the curriculum. SKIP participants may wish to attend the Academic and Thesis Writing Workshops later in their enrolment, as a refresher course.
SKIP Townsville: Each week for six weeks, all SKIP participants will attend a three-hour workshop on Friday mornings. In addition, at the end of the six weeks an extended SKIP Consolidation Workshop will be held. This workshop will be compulsory for candidates who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) and optional for native English speakers. All SKIP participants will also have a minimum of one hour of one-on-one editorial consultation with the SKIP Convenor, during which writing issues particular to the candidate will be discussed. A roster will be provided so that you can nominate a suitable time.
SKIP Cairns: Candidates attend two dedicated six-hour SKIP workshops held in consecutive months. They also participate in the three-hour Critical Thinking and Writing for Journals workshops. At the end of the year, the SKIP Consolidation Workshop will be held. This workshop is compulsory for candidates who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) and optional for native English speakers. All SKIP participants will also have a minimum of one hour of one-on-one editorial consultation with the SKIP Convenor, during which writing issues particular to the candidate will be discussed. A roster will be provided so that you can nominate a suitable time.
To successfully complete the SKIP program, students are expected to:
- Attend all compulsory sessions, including the one-hour editorial consultation with the Convenor.
- Provide a sample of their work (such as a research proposal or literature review) for editorial appraisal; and
- Present their research project to the class, usually in the form of an abbreviated Confirmation of Candidature seminar rehearsal during the SKIP Student Conference.
Once all requirements of the SKIP program have been fulfilled, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion that may be submitted as part of the requirements of the doctoral subject RD7003 Professional Development.
Counting SKIP towards RD7003 Professional Development
PhD candidates may count 19 hours of SKIP participation towards the Conditional Component of RD7003 Professional Development, made up of 18 hours of class time plus one hour of editorial consultation. If you participate in the Consolidation workshop at the end of SKIP, you may add another five hours to your SKIP total, bringing it to 24 hours.
Topics Covered by the SKIP Program
- An introduction to great academic writing: outlining and drafting, introductions and conclusions.
- Literature reviews
- Confirmation of candidature: proposal and seminar
- Critical thinking
- Technical and stylistic correctness: grammar, punctuation, concision and concreteness
- Strategies for writing journal papers
- SKIP Student Conference
- SKIP Consolidation Workshop, covering revision, refinement, redrafting, style and self-editing.
If you have prior experience in academic writing and wish to be exempted from SKIP, please ask your Primary Advisor to outline your reasons in a letter addressed to the Dean, Graduate Research, Professor Helene Marsh (contact GRS@jcu.edu.au). Note that candidates who opt out of SKIP are no longer entitled to individual editing assistance.
Further Information and Registration
International HDR candidates are encouraged to read the HDR Skills for International Postgraduates (SKIP) Program Procedure prior to registration.
For further information or to discuss your registration, please contact the SKIP Program Convenor directly:
Dr Liz Tynan
Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator, Research Student Academic Support
Graduate Research School