Above and beyond our research, there are many official milestones we need to make sure we are able to reach during our doctorate. But, sometimes what and when these milestones are is not that clear.
But the Doctoral College are here to help! You can find a plethora of information on the Doctoral College Website and Doctoral College Handbook including all contact details doctoral student support, guidance and forms and academic milestones. All of this is still a lot of information though! In an attempt to summarise the important bits I’ve put together a potential timeline for a doctoral student here at Bath, let’s call them Jo….
Jo is a full time doctoral student based on campus at the University (professional and part time doctorates vary slightly, check the information in the links provided above if you are unsure!)
Jo arrives at the University registers with the University using the online tool SAMIS. They attend their department induction events (including any mandatory safety training) and catch up with their supervisor using the checklist for first meetings between supervisor and student to help them figure out what to discuss.
Within a month of arriving Jo and their supervisor complete the PGR1 candidature form. Candidature is essentially about defining the research and making sure Jo understands any issues that may arise from their research, such as any ethical concerns. To complete candidature Jo must also pass an academic integrity test, complete a research integrity training module (both found on SAMIS) and complete a data management plan with help from their supervisor.
One year after starting Jo goes through confirmation which literally means ‘confirming’ your place as a doctoral student, as technically Jo held ‘probationer’ status during their first year. The confirmation is designed to help the University see if Jo is progressing well in their doctorate and requires Jo to submit a confirmation report before undertaking an oral exam based around the report a few weeks later. Jo discusses with their supervisor whether they should aim to write a traditional or alternative thesis format.
Lucky Jo has managed to finish the work they need to write their thesis and has decided to start ‘writing up’. Jo discusses their thesis plan with their supervisor sets a deadline in September, two months before this deadline they complete the declaration to their director of studies and lead supervisor of their notice of intension to submit. Jo’s supervisor and director of studies then work on nominating an internal and external examiner.
Jo successfully submits their thesis, providing the Doctoral College with both printed and electronic versions, before their thesis is forwarded to their examiners and a Viva date is set within 3 months.
Jo goes into their viva with a copy of their thesis and spends about two hours with their external and internal examiners being asked questions about their work. Jo talks about the basic principles of their work, discusses the relevance of their research and defends any problem areas. At the end of the Viva the examiners tell Jo they have passed but need to complete a couple of corrections in their work.
Within two weeks Jo receives their examiners report detailing exactly what corrections they must complete and by what deadline.
Dr Jo finishes their corrections and submits an electronic and final hardbound version of their thesis to the doctoral college.
Jo submitted their corrections in time for the winter graduation ceremony and graduates in early December.
By no means are these ‘hard and fast’ deadlines, the above is only meant as a guide and in reality much depends on your own situation but I hope it helps to give you an overview in one place. Your Programme Administrator is there to hold your hand through the administrative aspects of each milestone.
I am now in Germany for a few months - that's another thing, hunt out all the opportunities for conferences, internships, placements and add to your own CV and life experiences.
See you in the new year but rest assured the rest of the team are there for any questions -firstname.lastname@example.org