Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact members of staff active in their area of research for a preliminary discussion of their intended doctoral project. At this stage, members of staff will discuss their interest in supervising your thesis and make suggestions on how best to proceed to secure a place in the doctoral programme.
The MPhil/PhD programme in the School has the following milestones:
Stage 1: Registration
Stage 2: Progression
Stage 3: Examination
Applicants who satisfy the entry requirements are encouraged to complete the online 'Expression of Interest' form. The 'Expression of Interest' will be assessed by subject experts. If the initial application is satisfactory, a conditional offer will be issued and a potential Director of Studies and supporting supervisors will be allocated who will provide guidance on the research proposal development.
You will have a few weeks to submit the research proposal, following which an interview would normally take place. The granting of the interview does not imply that the applicant will necessarily be admitted to a research degree programme.
Subject to a satisfactory interview and the approval of the research proposal by the Faculty Research Committee (FRC), you will be admitted to the research degree programme.
At this point, you will start developing your project, with the final goal of producing an original doctoral dissertation of around 90,000 words (for an MPhil you will submit a dissertation of around 45,000 words) within 4 years (full-time) or 8 years (part-time), under the supervision of the Director of Studies (principal supervisor) and the other members of the supervision team.
All students who wish to obtain a PhD are required to complete a 'progression' within 18 months (for full-time students) or 36 months (for part-time students).
At the progression you will produce a paper which summarises your achievements on the research programme and outlines future research plans (including research methods), and make an oral presentation of the paper at a workshop set up for the purpose of progression.
An independent assessor, nominated by the FRC, will review the paper produced, together with supervisors’ assessment, the student’s presentation and other evidence. On this basis, the assessor will provide evaluative comments and recommendations to the FRC. Upon considering all aspects, the FRC may recommend that you a) can proceed as proposed; b) can proceed subject to changes or amendments being made, addressing the concerns raised; c) are placed 'at risk'; or d) must change the research degree originally sought.
Towards the end of the research programme, you will be examined on the basis of a thesis and an oral examination (viva voce). Normally two qualified examiners are appointed, at least one of whom is external to the institution. If the student is a member of staff at the University, then a second external examiner will be appointed.
Following the oral examination, the examiners will make recommendations to the University’s Research Award Sub-Committee (RASC) on whether the research degree sought may be awarded.