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Queen Mary Academy

PhD Skills Points System

Every PhD student is expected to take part in approximately 210 hours of development activities over the course of their studies. This is the quantity of training advised by the UK Research Councils, and is roughly equal to two weeks training and development for each full-time year of study.

To help you keep a record of all the training and development activities you take part in during your PhD, you will be automatically registered on a database called Skills Points System (SPS) soon after you enrol as a PhD student at Queen Mary.

The SPS captures generic and discipline-specific developmental activities that PhD students are involved in, through the allocation of points. Points are given for courses or workshops run by Researcher Development, Schools and Institutes, and external organisations. Points are also awarded for participation in other activities such as conference attendance, teaching and attending seminars. It is your responsibiity to ensure that your training record is kept up to date.

Key facts

  • Points can be accrued at any time during your PhD program.
  • Activities such as attendance at conferences or giving research presentations will be eligible for a set number of points.
  • Some recurring activities (such as attendance at a seminar series) will have a maximum cap of points that can be gained, either per year or over the course of the degree.
  • PhD students who have attended external courses or events which they believe have helped them develop their research or transferable skills will be able to apply to be awarded points, subject to verification by Researcher Development.
  • If students come to Queen Mary with significant prior development training (gained, for example, through previous employment), this training may be accredited, subject to approval by Researcher Development who will also determine the points allocated.

Points gained are mapped against the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) in order to assist students and supervisors in planning individual personal development with the assistance of the Skills Assessment and Personal Development Plan.

Recording your activities

The PhD Skills Points System records training and development activities and keep track of the points accrued. You can log in and use the system using your college ID and password. Detailed instructions on how to use the system can be found at the bottom of this page and under the Help tab on the SPS.


How many points do I need to get?

Students are expected to accrue 210 points across the course of their PhD. These points should be spread across all four domains, but there are a minimum number of points required in each domain.

DomainMinimum number
of points
Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities 60
Domain B: Personal effectiveness 20
Domain C: Research governance and organisation 15
Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact 30



All Queen Mary PhD students who log 210 hours of researcher development activities on the Skills Point System by the time they complete their PhD will be awarded the Queen Mary Diploma of Researcher Development (Q-Dip) by the Doctoral College.

More information

If you are unsure about any aspect of this system or the database, please look at the FAQ page under the Help tab on the Skills Points System and at the guide below. If you still have questions, please contact Dr Fryni Panayidou.

How to use the Skills Points System

A step-by-step guide explaining how to log in, how the system works and how to claim different types of activities.

Click here to download