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Careers and Employability Modules for PhD Students

Trinity Careers Service offers two accredited modules as part of the Trinity Structured PhD. These modules will support PhD students with career planning, critical reflection and decision-making and offer them unique opportunities to prepare for careers in academia and/or industry.

We offer a 5 ECTS module on Careers and Employability, and a 10 ECTS module on Careers, Employability and Work-based Learning, developed in collaboration with industry partners. The modules are offered in a blended learning format, which includes an online Skills Audit tool and a range of assessments. In 2024 students also have the option of auditing the 5 ECTS module, where they can register to attend the in-person workshops and access the online sessions, without submitting any assessments. The modules are open to students in all years of a full-time or part time PhD across all disciplines.

These modules are open for registration from the 14th of November 2023 until the 4th of December 2023 and will start in January 2024.

What are the Learning Outcomes of the Modules?

By the end of these modules, students will be able to:

  • Critically reflect on and articulate their skills in relation to their PhD and the workplace
  • Create a career path that reflects their beliefs, values, interests and potential
  • Apply tools to proactively manage their own career
  • Create meaningful connections with PhD students from other disciplines and employers/ alumni
  • Critically evaluate a work-based learning experience in terms of their future career direction (applicable to the 10 ECTS module only)

What is the Module Structure and Content?


Students will be required to complete an online Skills Audit Tool and Reflective PDF, listen to an introductory podcast and review the Student Handbook, prior to attending the first session.

Students will undertake alternating face-to-face and recorded online sessions on the following topics:

Careers Stream (5 ECTS and 10 ECTS modules):

  1. Designing your Career (face-to-face)
  2. Navigating the Emotions of Planning and Managing your Career (online)

Skills Stream (5 ECTS and 10 ECTS modules):

  1. Mapping Skills onto Career Options (face-to-face)
  2. The Art and Craft of a great CV and Writing an Effective Cover Letter (online)
  3. Networking with Confidence (face-to-face)
  4. Presenting your Best Self at Interview (online)
  5. Intercultural Competence and the Global Workplace (online)

Work-based Learning Stream (10 ECTS module only):

  1. Preparing for your Work-based Learning Experience (online)
  2. Reflecting on your Work-based Learning Experience (face-to-face)
  3. Complete 100 hours WBL in the form of a mini-internship, a consulting project or another suitable experience

What are the types of Work Based Learning Experience? (10 ECTS module only)

Three different types of WBL experience are suitable as options in the 10 ECTS module:

  1. A mini internship, which for the purpose of this module, is defined as an approved and supervised immersive work experience with a host organisation of 100 hours in duration, that meets specific learning goals consistent with module learning outcomes above, is appropriate for a student at PhD level, and is within the scope of the College Internships and Placements policy.
  2. A consulting project, which for the purpose of this module, is defined as an independent project which is undertaken in collaboration with a host organisation over an agreed time period totalling 100 hours, that meets specific learning goals consistent with module learning outcomes above and is appropriate for a student at PhD level.
  3. Another suitable experience which meets specific learning goals consistent with module learning outcomes above and is appropriate for a student at PhD level, to be agreed with TCS, e.g. development of a new business idea or entrepreneurial venture, community learning.

What is the role of the PhD Academic Supervisor in supporting students through these modules?

In order for your students to get the most from these modules, PhD Supervisors are asked to:

  • Fully support your student to undertake one of these modules if they express an interest.
  • Factor in the time required to undertake the various module sessions and supporting activities and resources, including the WBL experience for the 10 ECTS module (100 hours) and associated assessments, when planning research work. A clear timeline of module commitments will be provided to the student in advance of undertaking the module.
  • Help your student to critically reflect on their skills development through participation in the module. For example, by meeting to discuss the results of their Skills Audit or by assisting with preparation for the WBL experience through provision of advice, contacts for internships etc.

What is the benefit to your students participating in the WBL experience?

Students will:

  • Bring knowledge and skills from their WBL experience back into their day-to-day PhD work.
  • Gain insight into a research or professional organisation and develop their awareness of that sector to help with future career decision-making.
  • Develop professional and employability skills such as communication, team-working, commercial awareness, problem-solving, applied research and self-management.
  • Make new professional contacts and build networks.
  • Boost their CV or LinkedIn profile by including their WBL experience.
  • Gather examples and evidence from the workplace to use in interview situations.
  • Have an opportunity to reflect on their enhanced skillset, their research and what they are looking for in a career.

How will students participating in WBL experiences benefit you, as an Academic Supervisor, and your Dept/School?

Potential benefits include

  • Expanding your networks to new organisations may lead to links and opportunities for guest lecturing, research collaborations, work placements, etc.
  • Knowledge of policymaking and business practices gained can be shared with staff and students.
  • Create opportunities to access new funding streams, e.g. through knowledge exchange.
  • Develop impact case studies to showcase learning and impact.

What module guidance is available for Academic Supervisors?

For more details on these experiences, please read the Academic Supervisor Handbook.

Academic Supervisor Handbook


Contact Trinity Careers Service

If you have any questions or comments please contact Marielle Kelly, Module Co-ordinator & Careers Consultant at