Skills Hub

Academic skills for Masters students

You will probably already have developed many of the skills needed for postgraduate study as an undergraduate. But you may like to browse through Skills Hub to refresh your knowledge.

If you are new to studying in the UK, see Academic skills for international students.

Ask for help

If you are struggling with any aspect of your course, talk to your tutor. Most academic staff have office hours when you can see them or you can arrange a meeting by email.



Student perspectives

Listen to postgraduate taught students talking about their experiences of studying at Sussex:

Postgraduate study

At Masters level, you are expected to work in a similar way to academic staff, researching debates and coming up with your own carefully considered position.

The resources below can help you develop the skills you will need. The university also provides workshops, tutorials and support with academic skills. See Workshops and Tutorials and People to talk to.

Time management skills

As a postgraduate student, you are likely to be juggling a busy life with your university commitments. Even if you have recently studied at undergraduate level, postgraduate study may bring new challenges of self-motivation and self-discipline, as you will be required to work more independently.
  • Time management  provides some advice and strategies for self-organisation, prioritising tasks, planning your time and dealing with distractions.

Research skills

At postgraduate level you will be expected to develop a deeper understanding of your subject by reading beyond the core texts and selecting relevant materials yourself. If you have not used academic journals before, visit the library (online or in person) and become familiar with the journals that are relevant to your discipline.

Evaluation and data-analysis skills

You may be required to conduct your own research and collect and analyse your data. There may be classes providing subject-specific advice on how to do this. If you are new to a particular discipline and are unsure of what is required, ask your tutor for advice.
  • Collect This is an online tutorial introducing basic principles of data collection using a range of methods. 
  • Analyse This is an online tutorial to guide you through the analysis of your data.

Writing skills

You will probably have to produce a long essay or report or deliver a presentation with your findings. Make sure that you allow enough time for all stages of the writing process - see Planning, drafting and editing. Discuss your ideas with your tutor to make sure you are heading in the right direction.

Make sure you understand the referencing requirements, and how to ensure academic integrity and avoid plagiarism.

turnitin logoTry using the Turnitin - Originality Reports tool in Canvas to check your draft assignments for text matches.

Other useful links 

Postgraduate study skills Open University site

Taught postgraduates: the Careers and Employability Centre provides career development support online and face-to-face.


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