Thinking of doing a PhD?

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1 Thinking of doing a PhD? Dr Jana Dankovičová SOAS Careers Service What we will cover The nature of a research degree & potential benefits Types of research degree Who funds research degrees? Overseas opportunities How do I find a PhD? General issues to consider 2 1

2 Research degrees Most well known research qualification is PhD (or DPhil) PhD - either after first degree or masters Often require 2:1 or equivalent In UK traditionally lasts 3 years Some PhDs taught element Many institutions, first year as MPhil then transfer to PhD Doctorates with substantial taught core available in some vocations Professional Doctorates, e.g. Engineering (EngD) and Business (DBA) Part-time PhDs possible 5 or 6 years 3 Possible benefits Allows entry to some professions, e.g. academic career Other research careers - can be an advantage and / or allows entry to senior research positions, e.g. Commercial R&D Other benefits - greater credibility, deeper knowledge, developed skills, more experience, wider contacts, international flexibility 4 2

3 Salaries AGR Survey 2013 ( A proportion of employers are prepared to pay a premium for postgraduate qualification PhD most likely to attract a premium 13.5% of employers (increase of 3% since ) PhDs tend to attract the highest premium In 2008 this was 6,500 (compared to around 3,000 for masters); in 2011 it was 2, Note: Average graduate starting salary in was 25,000 and rose to 26,000 in Proportion of UKdomiciled doctoral graduate respondents employed in the UK in research occupations by subject Source What do Doctoral Graduates Do? 6 3

4 Proportion of UKdomiciled doctoral graduate respondents employed as research staff in HE by subject Source What do Doctoral Graduates Do? 7 PhDs, what and where? A novel, in-depth study of specific field Results in written report as Thesis or Dissertation Oral examination, with 2+ experts ( Viva ) follows submission Work closely with one, or more, experienced researchers (PhD supervisors) Most in Universities and other HE institutions Other places: government labs, hospital labs, research institutions Industry some collaborations with academia, e.g. CASE Awards, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) 8 4

5 New Route PhD Integrates in-depth research with research training and high level professional skills (e.g. management) 4 years duration (some variation) For both academic & non-academic careers Open to UK and non-uk students Apply via each university (individual criteria) Research areas covered include: Social Sciences, Maths, Physical Sciences, Business, Computer Science, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Humanities, Linguistics etc Offered in 31 UK universities, e.g. Birkbeck, Brunel, Herriot Watt, Hull, Kent, Newcastle, Portsmouth etc. 9 Professional Doctorates Main areas: engineering, education, clinical psychology, nursing, business admin, medicine Completion of original piece of research (professional context) - thesis Confers title Dr More appropriate for those pursuing professional rather than academic careers Include a large taught or directed study element formally assessed Taught element relates to professional practice Entry criteria depend on subject: EngD graduate level + 2:1 Others: masters level + substantial professional experience 10 5

6 Collaborative Doctoral Studentships (from PhD studentship projects based in UK universities Carried out in collaboration with non-academic organisations Contribute resource and/or intellectual support and mentoring for the project and/or student 11 The full range of Collaborative Doctoral Studentships in the UK Doctoral Training Grants (DTGs) CASE Industrial CASE Awards Centres for Doctoral Training Targeted Priority Studentships BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC EPSRC, ESCR BBSRC 12 6

7 Who funds PhDs in the UK? UK Funding Councils (umbrella org. = UK-based Research Charities Universities scholarships and awards Trans-national agencies and charities, e.g. EU, WHO, Gates Foundation Overseas Funding Bodies Self funders (e.g. part time work / PhD, e.g. some Research Assistant roles) 13 FUNDING UK Research Councils Who are they: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Medical Research Council (MRC) Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 14 7

8 UK Research Councils key issues Don t apply to councils enquiries direct to department, institute or company Fees and stipend for UK citizens or resident 3 years EU qualify for fees only Student eligibility conditions to be found on each website also check conditions of individual departments Key portal Research Councils UK website 15 Research charities - examples Leverhulme Trust All subject provider of research funding in the UK Research funding for academics, so apply via your potential supervisor British Academy of Arts and Social Science Research funding for academics, so apply via your potential supervisor Royal Geography Society RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Awards British Federation of Women Graduates Academic Award for Postdoctoral Study To Find More: The Grants Register Guide to worldwide postgraduate funding Reference copy in Careers Library 16 8

9 Universities individual institutions often advertise their research council funded studentships in the educational press and on specific websites They may also have a selection of other PhD studentships e.g. SOAS Part of Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre (DTC), accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) SOAS will lead or contribute to pathways in social anthropology, international development and politics and international studies. Each of the faculties advertise a number of PhDs Scholarships (4-5) SOAS Research Scholarships (4) Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities (3) Etc., 17 Where to find opportunities Formally Advertised PhDs & Scholarships (includes professional doctorates) - international - includes funders (Postgrad. Section - type PhD into keyword search) Individual University Websites (for full list try UCAS website)

10 International students looking for UK research opportunities / funding First check grant-awarding bodies in own country British Council: University Awards and Scholarship programmes Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan: DFID Shared Scholarship scheme development related projects Chevening Scholarships (for future leaders) Marshall Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships (US Citizens) Funding info for EU students: Great Britain-China Educational Trust The Charles Wallace India Trust: Overseas Research Scholarships For further details go to: 19 Research studentships overseas Content, duration can vary E.g. 5 years + Teaching or research studentships quite common in US Accreditation course & institution. Recognised in UK & internationally? Credit transfer? Language Non-Anglophone countries: research environments often in English Research area check facilities, support / supervision, viability of research, research reputation Entry requirements. 1 st, 2:1 or masters usually suitable NB. British UG degrees shorter than many Entry tests, e.g. ETS, GMAT? 20 10

11 Some non-uk resources Fulbright Commission - courses, funding, tests, deadlines, applications, rankings etc. global general info on study and life in USA postgraduate study study abroad includes database of courses and research - Association of Commonwealth Universities 21 Proactive applications for research studentships, e.g. UCL 1. Check entry requirements 2. Do your homework Subject index, research groups, departments 3. Enquire before you apply Specific academic or graduate tutor Self funded or need funding Download guidance document how to write proposal & contact academics 4. Submit formal Application 22 11

12 How to identify relevant institutions / research groups Research Councils databases of current and past funded research (portal = Published papers in research journals names of group leaders and contact details RAE Quality Profiles (by subject & by institution) Finding the right PhD questions to ask How good are the facilities? What is the research reputation of the group / department (REF)? Is my prospective supervisor suitable, approachable, available? Will I get formal training? techniques, seminars What topic would I like to research? What useful research skills will I develop? Are departmental systems in place if I need help? 24 12

13 What happens after? The academic career path (UK) PhD (DPhil) Thesis & viva Research methods Research Associate (Post Doc., Research Fellow) conferences Publications Funding Probationary lecturer Lecturer management administration Senior Lecturer / Reader Professor Europe: 25 SOAS Careers G12, SOAS Main Building (tel: ) Open for information: Mon - Thurs 10:00-17:00 Open for appointments: Times vary depending on time of year. Please check website for current times Wide range of resources on SOAS Careers Moodle

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