School of Social and Political Science

Step 2: Building Your Skills


The Student Development Office offers skills workshops and seminars throughout the academic year. Sessions are delivered by professional trainers and sector-specific practitioners, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience. All SDO training sessions are delivered online unless otherwise specified. Places should be booked in advance.

Your Skills

Before the Workshop

Think about what you want from the session

Take some time to think about your previous experience using this skill. What are your strengths? How can you develop this skill further? Do you have any good examples of using this skill in a real-life situation?

Think of questions in advance

Is there anything you would like to ask the trainer? Having questions prepared ahead of the session means you won't forget to ask them.

During the Workshop

Come to the session prepared to participate

Our workshops are designed to be interactive and work best when people share ideas and engage with each other. If you aren't comfortable speaking to the entire group, could you engage in other ways? (eg: use the text box, 'like' questions asked by other participants).

There are no silly questions

Everyone has different strengths and experiences. What might be obvious to you, could be a challenge to someone else. All questions are valid (and it's likely other people want to ask that question too!).

After the Workshop

Take 15 minutes to reflect on your learning

Try and write down the main points from the workshop. Think about what you have learned today and how you can apply this learning in future.

Build your networks

If a speaker is working in a sector you are interested in, follow up with an email and use this as an opportunity to build your professional networks.


In PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Scheme), trained Student Leaders in 2nd year and above plan and run academic study sessions on topics such as course content, assessment, essays, exams, study skills, autonomous learning and any further skills students need to excel in their degrees. Our PALS Student Leaders facilitate discussions and run structured activities which are designed to help students discover their own tools and techniques, rather than teach content.

All of our sessions are run by a minimum of two Student Leaders and tend to last an hour. The average number of people per sessions is 12. Sessions are very participative and look like relaxed discussions between peers (where there are no ‘silly’ questions)! There is no need to book, and you can attend as many (or as few) sessions as you like.

PALS is open to everyone – whether you are struggling with a course or getting top grades, it is a great place to meet new people and discuss course content.

You can attend a PALS Scheme for outside courses and joint honours courses too – you don’t need to be on that Programme.


  • Politics and IR (PIRPALS)
  • Social Anthropology (SocAnth PALS)
  • Sociology (SocPALS)
  • Sustainable Development (SDPALS)
  • Social Policy (PPALS)
  • Quantitative Methods (QMPALS)

Reasons to Attend PALS

  • deepen your understanding of course content and advance your study skills
  • improve your critical thinking skills in interactive student-led discussions
  • increase your confidence to ask questions and engage in academic debates
  • connect with other students in your subject area in your year and above
  • make learning more collaborative and fun!

More information on Peer Learning and Support 

Workshops and Events

2022-23 Workshops

Workshops are open to all staff and students in the School of Social and Political Science only. Please note that all workshops will be delivered online, unless otherwise specified.

All our sessions are mapped onto the Graduates Attributes (UG, PGT) and Researcher Development (PGR, PhD) Frameworks.

Student category
Development Hub