Successful PhD students are expected to demonstrate both mastery of the theoretical and conceptual framework(s) relevant to their chosen field and the methodological expertise that is required to carry out research at doctoral level. They must be able to think in a critical, rigorous, and innovative way and to communicate the results of their research through their dissertation effectively and in compliance with appropriate academic norms and standards, including around the presentation of data and the use of references and sources.
The minimum period of registration for a doctoral programme is two years. In practice most students expect to take three to four years to complete their thesis, due to time needed for fieldwork and also where they are combining their studies with other responsibilities.
The supervisory relationship
Supervisors are appointed by the Department in consultation with the student; a cosupervisor, including from outside the Department, may also be appointed, depending on the nature of the study.
At the doctoral level the supervisory relationship is of critical importance. The Department encourages individual students and supervisors to negotiate a supervisory contract at the start of their research relationship that addresses mutual expectations around communications, time frames, the submission of draft materials by the student, and feedback from supervisors. Feedback from supervisors on progress can be oral or in written form.
Participation in the intellectual life of the Department
Doctoral students are encouraged to participate actively in the intellectual life of the Department, as far as possible. This includes participation in the Department‟s Postgraduate Research Forum (an opportunity for informal discussion among postgraduate students on research issues that meets on a quarterly basis through the year) and the Department‟s general weekly seminar programme.
Students may be asked to present their work to the Department in the form of seminars from time to time.
The Department reviews individual student progress on an annual basis by means of a Progress Report that is completed by both the student and his/her supervisor. This Report affords both students and supervisors an opportunity to reflect on the academic progress of the individual student and to identify any issues or problems requiring attention, including from the side of the Department. Failure to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress may result in the Department not recommending that a student be allowed to re-register for the programme the following year.
Format of the dissertation
The recommended length of the doctoral dissertation is approximately 80,000 – 85,000 words (200 – 250 typed pages). University requirements in terms of formatting and general layout as well as submission are set out in the Higher Degrees section of Part 1 (General) of the University Calendar. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that his/her dissertation meets University requirements.
Examination of the dissertation
Once completed, the dissertation is examined internally and externally, according to the policies and requirements of the University. Examination usually involves a panel of three suitably qualified experts in the field (one internal to the University and two from outside the University).
An oral examination of the thesis is included as part of the final evaluation, under the auspices of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University.
Conferences and publications
Students are encouraged to participate actively in academic workshops and seminars and to present their work at national and international conferences. Financial support towards such activities may be available from the Department and/or Faculty, funds permitting and upon motivation by the student, generally with the support of his/her supervisor.
Students are also encouraged to explore opportunities to publish aspects of their research as articles in academic journals during the course of the study. Once the doctorate has been awarded its publication as a monograph is also strongly recommended