22.12.2017

Transferable skills studies

Transferable skills studies are courses, training programmes and support services open to all doctoral students, irrespective of academic discipline, designed to support dissertation work, doctoral studies and postdoctoral employment. The transferable skills studies approved by the faculty as parts of the postgraduate study plan can be included in the postgraduate degree. Transferable skills studies may be included in required studies as compulsory studies or they may be included in postgraduate study plan as optional studies.

It is advisable to choose courses that support student's personal needs for development as optional transferable skills studies. Those needs may be inflected e.g. by previous studies and work experience, career plans and aspirations regarding postdoctoral employment. It is good to remember that transferable skills form a minor part of doctoral training. Discipline specific studies, research and writing a doctoral dissertation will take the majority of student's time. One should consider how much time it is possible and wise to use for transferable skills studies.

Student and supervisor should discuss students' personal needs for development as well as the career and employment plans when preparing the postgraduate study plan. Carefully considered transferable skills studies included in postgraduate study plan ensure that the student will have adequate skills and knowledge for research. These include for example:

  • research ethics, professional responsibility and good practices in student's discipline
  • research methodology relevant for student's research topic
  • principles of scientific writing and conference communications
  • skills of information retrieval and management
  • skills of information and communication technology
  • language skills

When doctoral training proceeds (3. - 4. year) transferable skills such as communicating student's own research results and skills that support student's aspirations regarding postdoctoral employment become important. Doctoral study plan may be updated during the dissertation work to ensure the plan meets student's needs even when the research plan is refined or student's career plan changes. Important skills at the last parts of doctoral studies are for example:

  • adding the visibility of research to the international scientific community
  • communicating research to the public and to the target groups important for future career and employment
  • defending the doctoral dissertation
  • managing the publishing process of doctoral dissertation
  • skills that support students aspirations regarding postdoctoral employment
  • recognizing acquired skills and knowledge and marketing them to employers
  • recognising effective working methods and maintaining well-being at work

The University of Jyväskylä Graduate School for Doctoral Studies is responsible for coordinating the studies promoting transferable skills. In addition to the faculties and the Methodology Centre for Human Sciences (IHME), transferable skills studies (and services promoting these skills) are provided by various divisions of the University Services, as well as by the University Library, the Language Centre and the Open University. Most of the organisers also offer customised training for the faculties, departments or doctoral programmes. The Graduate School communicates the training opportunities in transferable skills to doctoral students in cooperation with the organising units.

Transferable skills studies may be included in the doctoral training offered by the faculties or doctoral programs and many transferable skills may be trained outside the academia for example in leisure activities, social interactions and working life. It is not most important were these skills are trained. More important is that the preconditions for effective working are met in the different phases of doctoral education and that the person has the necessary skills for a successful transition to working life after the doctoral degree is completed.