Postgraduate Skills Development and Support

Postgraduate Skills Development Support

The Postgraduate Skills Development Support section of the PGO runs a programme that provides information about and access to opportunities and resources at SU that can assist postgraduate students in their efforts to develop and enhance the skills they will require to complete their postgraduate studies and research.

For this reason the Postgraduate Skills Development Development Programme has established a service to:

  • Assist postgraduate students in:
    - Understanding the research process
    - Establishing which skills they need to develop
    - Finding the correct service provider on campus to address these needs
  • Offer courses and events specifically for postgraduate skills development, for example the research orientation day, dissertation writing workshops, grant writing workshops, postgraduate support groups etc.


A range of workshops are offered that help postgraduate students at SU hone their research and thesis writing skills – mostly free of charge. The aim of the programme is to help students take responsibility for finishing their degrees on time by equipping them with some tools, skills and strategies to assist them in this endeavour. This is an established offering, which is offered in partnership with other support environments at the University:

Article Writing

Publishing work in accredited journals is a daunting task for many academics. The aim of this workshop is twofold: to introduce postgraduate students to this genre of writing and to help postgraduate students prepare for writing for publication.

Avoiding Plagiarism

This workshop illustrates the principles of sound academic writing, which makes plagiarism less likely. This half day workshop shows students how to avoid plagiarism through practical exercises and examples that illustrate how to explain your work in relation to that of other scholars - taking ethical principles and practices into consideration, as well as using correct referencing and paraphrasing techniques.

Creating your thesis or dissertation - Part 1, 2 & 3

This is a generic 3 day workshop aimed at postgraduate students from different SU departments and faculties. It covers the full research process and each day builds on what was covered the previous day (Part 1: The research proposal; Part 2: Research design and methodology; and Part 3: Thesis writing). This format allows for a considerable amount of content to be covered and gives sufficient time for group work, feedback and individual interactions.

Grant writing for postgraduates

Researchers are increasingly being expected to generate research funds. The Division for Research Development offers researchers interactive grant writing workshops. This offering has been extended to postgraduate students who would like to learn about grant proposals, why they fail, how to structure them and other important considerations when applying for funding for their research.

MS Word for large documents

This workshop is suitable for postgraduate students wishing to learn how to format a large document such as a thesis or dissertation in Microsoft Word according to Stellenbosch University requirements.

PowerPoint for conference presentations

This offering provides postgraduate students with guidance on making a good, professional presentation without falling into the usual presentation traps.

Online platforms

The Postgraduate Skills Development programme’s website provides information about their full range of workshops, essential resources, opportunities, as well as a central calendar. There are also a number of resources on the Postgraduate Skills Development SUNLearn platform. The Postgraduate Research Degree Toolkit, for example,  (available on SUNLearn and our website) is an interactive resource that includes guides and tips on the beginning stages of considering a research degree, all the way through to writing up your research.

A postgraduate community

 The Postgraduate Skills Development programme team hosts informal Pop Up cafés for postgraduate students to get together and socialise in the Wilcocks building quad. They also host weekly Shut Up & Write lunch hour sessions for students and staff who are looking for a quiet communal space to spend time writing.

Postgraduate Times Newsletter

The Postgraduate Skills Development programme monthly newsletter informs postgraduate students and their supervisors about skills development events and opportunities. This newsletter is sent to subscribers only so please sign up via the website or send an email to



Tygerberg offering

The Research Capacity Development and Funding Office (RCFO), Tygerberg Campus, provides research capacity development workshops, short courses and short information sessions to Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences staff, clinicians, postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students. The annual programme is focussed on health research. The offering can be found here.

Enquiries: RCFO