What is AA?
- AA is an interactive, practical, flexible online short course that supports you to decide on, and plan for whatever you want your professional future to be.
- You’ll have a chance to develop key skills that will help with your master's study and that you’ll be able to use whether you choose to move to a PhD or to a job in industry.
- AA doesn’t have any assessments or deadlines for you to meet as the course holds no formal credit. However, you will receive a certificate for each module you complete.
- Overall, AA was created for you to supplement what you’re learning on your master's course - to help you go on to achieve your future goals.
Why should I study AA?
- Career planning and developing transferable skills such as team working, decision making, problem solving, and communication are processes and skills you’ll need to develop anyway - AA is designed to guide you through these.
- AA is completely flexible. It’s fully online and you can choose which topics to cover when it makes sense for you to cover them. You may be asked to critically analyse a research paper in your course - AA has a unit to help you develop your critical analysis skills. You may have to write a CV for a job or PhD application - AA has a unit on CVs. You choose what you want to do, and when.
- Do you know what you want to do once you’ve finished your master’s degree? It doesn’t matter if your answer is “Yes, I’ve got a job or PhD title” or no, “I’m still exploring” - AA will help you achieve your next steps.
When does AA start?
You can start AA as soon as you are fully enrolled on your master’s degree, which is usually the first week of term. As AA is very flexible you don’t have to start it then. However, it’s worth starting with the Introduction Module as soon as you can so that you know what else is in the course and what might help you with your study.
When does AA finish?
As AA doesn’t have any assessments or deadlines, the only official finishing date is one year after graduation because you will continue to have access to AA (through Blackboard) up until one year after your graduation.
How does AA work?
- AA is an online course which means you can participate at times that suit you and you can work at your own pace. It’s been developed using a framework called Plan: Me which is a decision-making tool. Skills development and reflection have been incorporated to help you track your progress as you move through the course.
- This online delivery is supported by a small number of virtual face-to-face sessions. These will introduce you to the course, other students and the AA Team, and there will be virtual face-to-face check-in sessions throughout the year.
The introductory face-to-face virtual sessions will be held on:
- Thursday 8 October 2020 at 10:00 (UK time)
- Thursday 15 October 2020 at 16:00 (UK time)
- Thursday 22 October 2020 at 18:00 (UK time)
These are the same sessions, but repeated at different times to accommodate students’ availability. Dates for the periodic check-in virtual sessions and the final “Next Steps” virtual session at the end of the year, will be announced soon.
AA consists of a set of modules. Examples include:
- Career Planning
- Critical Thinking and Decision Making
- Problem Solving
- CVs and Applications
- Communication and Teamwork
- Within each module is a series of units. It’s best to complete the Introduction and Career Planning Modules first - these are the foundations of AA. After these, you’re free to select whichever modules you like, whenever you like and whenever makes sense for you. We recommend that within each module, you study the units in the order they're presented, but if you'd rather just dip into certain units, you can do this too.
- Many large UK organisations and PhD programmes will recruit between October and December so you may want to do some of the very practical modules on how to do your CV and interviews to line up with this timeline.
- AA introduces you to processes and tools that you’ll use throughout your study and your career such as LinkedIn, how to solve problems and make decisions, creating the perfect CV, how to influence people and how to ace an interview. AA is a very practical online course and offers you numerous opportunities to engage with activities to develop skills and plan for your career. Suggested additional resources are also offered so if you’d like to know more, you can easily do so.
What if I want to study some modules, but not all?
That’s absolutely fine. AA has been specifically designed to give you as much flexibility as possible. It’s recommended that you complete the Introduction and Career Planning Modules first - these are the foundations of AA. After these, you’re free to select whichever modules you like, whenever you like and whenever makes sense for you. We recommend that within each module, you study the units in the order they're presented, but if you'd rather just dip into certain units, you can do this too.
What if I struggle to understand some of the content?
The AA team is always here to help you. You can simply contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and all of our details will be in the Introduction Module.
How does LinkedIn fit in with AA?
LinkedIn a great tool to help you understand different careers, network with people and find jobs and as such, we include it in many elements of AA. There is a private LinkedIn group that you can join while you’re doing AA and we’ll guide you through using LinkedIn effectively so that you can continue to use it throughout your career.
How will AA help me get a job or PhD?
- AA takes you through a career decision making and action planning process which helps you decide what sort of job/PhD you want, then helps you develop the practical tools to getting them and succeed in them.
- AA also helps you identify your skills, develop new ones and then shows you how to sell these skills to potential employers/PhD supervisors. AA will also let you know where else you can get support from and how to make the most of that support, such as attending a careers fair to meet a future employer or approaching a potential PhD supervisor.
- We can’t guarantee that by doing AA you’ll get a job/PhD but by completing the course, you’ll better understand what employers/PhD supervisors are looking for, what skills you’ve got that employers/PhD supervisors will need to see and how you can demonstrate these, and you’ll be more confident in how to move forward into your professional life.
If I am doing AA, can I still use the Careers Service?
Absolutely! AA is designed to link you into other Imperial services such as the Careers Service, the Graduate School and other student support services. Doing AA will enable you to make the best use of these other services and we encourage you to do so.
Will I get to meet other students who are doing AA?
As AA is online and our introduction and check-in sessions are virtual, there are no gatherings of all AA students. However, you can connect with and discuss issues through our private LinkedIn group, and we encourage you to chat with fellow students as you study – whether online or when possible, face-to-face, to check-in and see how they are finding AA.