Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland



Below are some commonly asked questions about the PG Cert. If these do not answer your queries, please get in touch, contact details are below.
What is the MASTS PG Cert?

The MASTS Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development for Marine Science and Technology (MASTS PG Cert) is designed to enhance the professional and personal skills of the MASTS Graduate School members, through a bespoke programme of activities chosen by the student and contextualised to marine science and technology. The programme is validated by the University of Strathclyde which will award the certificate.

All new MASTS funded PhD students can take part, and programme fees will be covered by MASTS. Current members of the MASTS Graduate School, including Associate Members of the MASTS Graduate School and those in receipt of a bursary will also be eligible to enroll free of charge, providing they have been registered for a PhD for 12 months or less. Other postgraduate students or Early Career Researchers in marine or related disciplines can apply to MASTS to become Associate Members of the Graduate School and take part in the PG Cert on payment of the current Graduate School and PG Cert programme fees.

Please also see the terms & Conditions applicable to the award available here and information on current fees visit here. Contact Emma Defew for more details.

Once enrolled you will have access to ‘PEGASUS’, which is your student record and will show your contact details, and also to ‘MyPlace’, Strathclyde’s Virtual Learning Environment. This contains programme information, assessment details, progress monitoring and other helpful documents to guide you. You will also receive a Strathclyde email address. This will be the default email used to contact you regarding the MASTS PG Cert unless you provide an alternative e-mail address during the on-line application process.

In order to receive an award, PhD students are required to undertake 60 credits worth of appropriate development activities over the duration of their research degree studentship. Each credit is notionally equivalent to 10 hours of study. Credits can be accumulated across five classes, each with a distinct focus, recognised as important to your research and career:

  • • Knowledge and intellectual abilities;
  • • Personal effectiveness
  • • Research governance and organization
  • • Engagement, influence and impact
  • • Elective encompassing one or more of the above classes

Four of the classes are aligned to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework’s domains, whilst the fifth class is an elective to allow you to explore any of these areas in more detail.

In addition, MASTS is a community of researchers who possess highly developed intellectual abilities, knowledge, skills, behaviours and competencies relevant to marine research, as well as a breadth of transferrable skills and we encourage professional development of our postgraduate researchers contextualised to marine science and technology. MASTS has therefore defined a number of core activities that support development of skills and attributes specifically for the marine sciences and these can contribute to credit accumulation in different classes

The MASTS PG Cert is not designed as an additional workload for students, but is a formalisation of the existing research and researcher development training that eligible PhD students will undertake as part of their doctoral programme.

How each student accumulates the credits for each class is unique, and therefore there is no formal curriculum and no timetable. With consideration to your own research, the Vitae RDF, the skills and attributes of a marine science professional and your aspirations for the future, you select the activities that meet your needs, at a time that suits you. You decide on the programme of activities to undertake, relevant to your research, marine science and technology more broadly and your own personal and professional development. One credit is equivalent to a nominal 10 hours of active learning.

You can take part in MASTS core activities and also undertake training in your department or faculty at your registering university or in other institutions and organisations. The real innovation behind the MASTS PG Cert is the ability for you to include experiential learning opportunities in the programme, offering great flexibility in how you evidence your continuing personal and professional development. Almost anything can contribute to the MASTS PG Cert, providing you can demonstrate learning that benefits your research or career. Each activity is mapped to one of the five PG Cert classes and assigned a notional number of credits. One credit is equivalent to a nominal 10 hours of active learning, regardless of the type of activity. You can discuss the credit allocation of any activity with the Course Coordinator prior to undertaking an activity and when you submit a reflective assessment, you should indicate how many credits you believe you have achieved. The final allocation will be made by the Course Coordinator when you submit a successful reflective assessment together with associated evidence

Students enrolled on the MASTS PG Cert will have a personal record in Strathclyde’s Pegasus system, and will see classes RD901 to RD905 (see Figure) on their PEGASUS record. These classes will remain on your record throughout the duration of your enrollment on the PG Cert, and a mark will be returned within 12 weeks once you have completed the assessment for each class. You can go to ‘MyPlace’ to record activities you have completed, upload supporting evidence and access the assessment exercise and review your progress. Once you have submitted your reflective review of an activity, and this has been assessed as successfully demonstrating that you meet criteria for development, credits accumulation is recorded in your personal record. The credits awarded to each activity will be dependent on the reflective analysis provided and evidence of achievement of learning objectives

Students are expected to achieve at least 20 credits in each year and this can be split over any of the five classes. You must successfully accrue 60 credits over approximately three years. You should undertake training most appropriate to your development needs, making use of the wide range of opportunities available to you. You should discuss your training plan with your supervisor, and present your progress during any review meetings you have with your supervisory team. You must complete all five classes successfully in order to achieve the PG Cert award.

Details of the workshops, training and activities offered by MASTS, together with other activities arising through the year and how to book, are included in the listing of the activity on the MASTS website here. MASTS will e-mail information about events to the MASTS community and all students enrolled on the MASTS PG Cert. Some activities may only be offered once or have limited places so please book well in advance to avoid disappointment. If you need to cancel, please give the activity organiser as much notice as possible. MASTS activities run throughout the year and range from half day sessions through to more intensive one or two-day residential workshops. There are intensive events which occur annually, such as the PGR Retreat and the MASTS Annual Science Meeting, which you are strongly encouraged to attend. Event dates and descriptions are listed in each activity descriptor. For some activities however, dates are confirmed during the year and information for all relevant activities will be provided on the MASTS website here, so please check this regularly. Activity information will be e-mailed directly to you, but you can also source other courses, training and activities which are not listed but which have relevance to you. Details of any such activity should be discussed with the Course Coordinator and/or the Dean/Deputy Dean of the MASTS Graduate School before assuming they can be included in the PG Cert. Your university graduate school or postgraduate skills development programme will also offer training, events and professional development activities, including on-line courses which you can work through at your own pace. You can access information and book these through the normal processes defined by your university. MASTS students wishing to attend a workshop at a university, other than their registering university, can request a place by contacting that university directly and attendance will be confirmed by the hosting organization (course fees may apply). All courses listed in the handbook are free to attend for MASTS PG Cert enrolled students, unless otherwise stated. Please do pass on details of opportunities for training or other relevant activities that you come across to Dr Emma Defew who will share these with the MASTS PGR community
The Vitae RDF describes the main behaviours, skills and attributes of a broad researcher. However, there are additional skills and knowledge that will be specific to your PhD topic and to the general field of marine science which will make you different to researchers in other disciplines. As your studentship progresses, you will acquire specific skills and knowledge, for example, in experimental design, analytical techniques, data analysis or lab and field work, potentially including sea-going sampling. You will also have a breadth of understanding of the current major challenges in marine science and technology. However, there is no single list of skills, knowledge, behaviours and attributes applicable to all marine researchers and on completion, you will have a unique and advanced skill set, commensurate with the award of a doctoral degree. You will be highly qualified to undertake many different roles in research, academia and other sectors. However, MASTS expects that you will:
  • Be capable of working in multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinarily teams, to create collaborations and synergies between marine sciences and other academic areas and sectors.
  • Be able to work at sector interfaces, including your specific field of marine science research, and others such as environment, policy, businesses, industry, economic, social, legal and political systems, and be capable of co-developing research with stakeholders.
  • Possess effective communication skills that promote convergence of understanding to drive innovation and deliver progress to address marine related societal challenges.
  • Understand research translation, knowledge transfer and application of marine research, including links to end users and creation of economic and social benefit.
  • Be aware of specific social and ethical issues surrounding your discipline and marine science and technology more generally.
If you are unsure if an activity can be included, please discuss with one of the course team. More info.
The Vitae Researcher Development Statement (RDS) and Framework (RDF) were introduced in 2010 to articulate the skills required by researchers. In line with the other UK Higher Education Institutions, MASTS endorses the RDF/S to support researchers in identifying the skills, knowledge and behaviours expected throughout their career. The RDF/S also informs the development of new training initiatives to meet the needs of the research community. Find out more.
For details of current fees for both membership of the MASTS Graduate School and enrolment on the MASTS PG Cert, please visit here.
The following links may be useful: ‘MyPlace’ also contains guidance documents and additional resources, together with answers to frequently asked questions. The documentation provides details of the programme structure and content, and a step-by-step guide to completion of the award.

The following people will be pleased to assist with any questions you have:

o    Course Coordinator, Dr Campbell Reid or T: 0141 548 4323

o    Dean of the MASTS Graduate School, Dr Lois Calder

o    Deputy Dean of the MASTS Graduate School, Dr Emma Defew

o     SUPER DTP Co-Ordinator,Yvonne McKie

Find out more

MASTS Resources

We’re working behind the scenes to bring you a suite of useful, and updateable, resources including: 

  • Find an expert
  • Find facilities & equipment
  • MASTS Publications


If you would like to be updated when the resources section is live please let us know.