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PhD 101 What you Need to Know Before You Apply Professor Su Taylor Dean of Research Engineering & Physical Sciences Queen’s University Belfast
What will you achieve with a PhD? The highest level of academic qualification, that proves your abilities as an independent researcher capable of making an original contribution to knowledge in your field. Working closely with your supervisors’ or project leads’ guidance, you will produce scholarship that is worthy of publication in a learned journal. Types of doctoral (PhD) programme: • Standard PhD (3-4 years full time, 6-8 years part time) • PhD with Integrated Study (minimum 4 years full time) • Professional doctorates (e.gs: DClinPsy; EngD; ForenPsyD; EdD; DBA)
Why do a PhD? • Career • Academia • Industry • Subject Passion • You love it • You are good at it Contribution to Knowledge ‘The advanced knowledge and capability of postgraduates are highly prized by businesses and the public sector. The skills of postgraduates, especially researchers, are critical for tackling major business challenges and driving innovation and growth.’ Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Why choose a Russell Group university? All 24 Russell Group institutions are ranked among the top 200 universities worldwide (QS 2019) Graduates from Russell Group universities earn on average around 10% more than graduates of other universities over a lifetime 68% of the total quality-related teaching income from UK Research Councils 70% and 71% of international and EU grants and contacts 60% of all UK doctorates (PhDs) awarded – a strong PhD community You will work alongside academics who are leaders in their field, contributing to research at the forefront of discovery and innovation
Meeting the entry requirements Academic requirements Arts, humanities and social sciences: usually a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) and a Masters in a relevant discipline Sciences (including medical sciences) and technology: usually a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject Find out more online – see your Roadshow guide for web addresses English language requirements If English is not your first language, and you do not have a degree from a UK university, then you will need to take a test (e.g. IELTS).
Routes into a PhD Option 1: Formulate your own project Option 2: Find an advertised project Search online listings Research chosen area Formulate outline proposal Apply (like job application) Identify supervisor, contact Develop, refine proposal Apply for funding Show commitment to your research area!
PhD proposal: What to include Always check first what your academic department requires. In the first instance some departments will ask for a simple expression of interest. However, at some stage you will be required to consider: Research topic and literature review: Situate your proposed research topic within the relevant literature, show awareness of previous research and explain how your research will make an original contribution. Research objectives: Explain what you are intending to achieve. You might use: Hypotheses: an assumed relationship between two or more variables Propositions: statements that explain likely phenomena Research questions or objectives Problems: identify existing unsatisfactory conditions and propose a solution
Research strategy: Explain your research strategy or method, and outline how you plan to collect your data (if any). Anticipated results: Consider what you might expect to find, your modes of analysis, and any potential data-collection problems you will need to address. Schedule and budget: Plan resource requirements; detail stages of the research and timescale. References & bibliography: Detail references to literature used to prepare your proposal.
Funding Doctoral Government Loan • Borrow up to £25,000 for your whole course • The loan will be divided equally across each year of your course • Whether or not you qualify depends on course, age, nationality or residency status • The course must be a full, standalone doctoral course that started on or after August 1st • https://www.gov.uk/doctoral-loan/eligibility
Funding UK Research Councils • Government-funded organisations • Awards cover fees, a maintenance grant and extra research costs (such as bench fees) • Highly competitive and prestigious • www.rcuk.ac.uk University scholarships • Central, departments, schools, faculties (check each page) • From tuition fee awards to full funding • Each scholarship will have its own criteria and duration • Selection is usually based on academic excellence; competition is intense
Other sources of funding • Scholarships from external organisations, e.g. British Academy • Sponsorship from industry (usually linked to an advertised PhD project) • Sponsorship from your current employer • A number of charities, trusts and foundations offer non-repayable financial support to PhD researchers – check the Grants Register • Part-time work, including teaching in the department
Next steps • Talk to the representatives here today and join their mailing lists to gain access to updates on research projects and funding • Think about what you want to research and start to search for an advertised project (e.gs, www.findaphd.com ; www.jobs.ac.uk) or for a potential supervisor whose research interests match your own • Make a note of the deadlines for advertised projects/scholarships and start to get everything together for your application (e.gs, www.postgraduatestudentships.co.uk;www.scholarship-search.org.uk) • Speak to current PhD students to ask their advice