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The Professional Skills Series

The Professional Skills Series


To provide senior graduate members of the Faculty with useful information about career skills and prepare them for future academic work.

Who can attend?

All senior graduate members of the Faculty, e.g. registered PhD students.

Where can I find out dates and times?

This information is in the Graduate Training Booklet, which you can access via The History Faculty's Moodle page, under Graduate Training here. You can also use the Graduate Training calendar to see when sessions are scheduled.


HAP Graduate Training Session

This session is aimed at those doctoral students who would like to run a undergraduate class in 2016-17 as part of the Faculty's HAP programme. HAP stands for Historical Argument and Practice. HAP is the paper taken by all history undergraduates, and is examined in the first and third years. These classes are taken by third-year undergraduates. This session will be given by the Faculty's HAP convenor. It has two objectives: first, to explain what HAP entails; second, to discuss small-group teaching. The session will explain the purpose of HAP, the way it is taught, and how it is assessed; it will also address undergraduate perspectives on HAP. The session will then raise practical issues about teaching classes, which may not be encountered when giving supervisions. It will share suggestions based on experience and also invite graduate contributions. The session will include opportunities for asking questions about HAP and about class-teaching. 


Writing Up Q&A with postdocs

A session run by the Graduate Representative in the History Faculty where you can hear the experience of postgraduates in terms of how they approached the writing up stage of their research. This is an informal session where you will be encouraged to ask questions; it is also an advisory session rather than prescriptive, so even if you already know how you work it will be useful to hear advice from others in case it confirms what you already think or urges you to consider a different technique.

Lunch, tea/coffee and cake will be provided.


Publishing an Article

Publication is of course the essential step towards academic fame and fortune, or at least, employment. A first publication is probably the most difficult, and also may be for you the most urgent. Publication in a respected refereed journal is probably the quickest and most direct way of making your mark as a significant scholar. Yet journals vary greatly in their range, prestige, readership, standards and waiting time. This session aims to give you some basic information about publishing a major article, and also to suggest some ways of choosing the right journal to approach and tailoring your work appropriately. It also points out some other ways of getting academically into print.


As graduate students many of you will be thinking about publications. One aim of this session is to explain the processes of refereeing in scholarly journals, in order to help you think about preparing some of your own work for publication in article form. Many young scholars are also interested in writing reviews. This session will also discuss the importance of reviewing, and what makes a good review article. 


Applying for Fellowships, Grants, and Academic Posts

The section on Fellowships and Academic Posts will consider: applications for Oxbridge junior research fellowships, ESRC, AHRC and the various IHR fellowships; the rather different things that the various bodies are looking for; how to pitch a successful application; how to avoid the common pitfalls and how to avoid squandering your research fellowship if you get one. The seminar will be focused on practical issues concerned with maximising your chances of success.

The section on grants will consider: who is and is not eligible to apply to each body; how to get round not being eligible; how to cost applications; how to pitch applications to maximise your chance of success; how to avoid being crucified if you succeed in getting a grant (by promising too much). The seminar will be focused on practical issues concerned with maximising your chances of success without paying too high a price.


Publishing your First Book (with Cambridge University Press)

Michael Watson will describe the changing global context of academic publication in today's digital environment, and give some specific practical guidelines for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as they contemplate book publication for the first time. Michael has many years of publishing experience at Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press and is responsible for the Press's global History publishing programme.


Giving Undergraduate Supervisions

This session is designed to introduce graduate students to undergraduate supervisions. We will explain what supervisions are, how they function, and how graduate students can gain teaching experience by giving them.