It's not's your data!

A collaborative guide to take you through all the steps of university life.

10 things PhD students wish they had known before they started!

We spoke to over 30 current and recently graduated PhD students and asked them what two things they wished they had known before they started their PhD that they know now. Unsurprisingly there was a great deal of overlap, so we anonymised and offer a summary of what they told us.

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Start a PhD without Funding

If you wish to start a PhD without funding you will need to plan in advance. You can use online sources to discover the average living costs of the city you intend to live. Adding to this you would need to consider rent, bills and potential travelling. This can give you a rough guide as to how much financial reserves you would need to save to get you through the 3 or 4 years of PhD. But I would highly recommend researching what grants and scholarships are available from both the University and governing bodies. The sensible option would be to secure a grant or scholarship beforehand. However if you feel ambitious you could take a risk

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MSc Dissertation Structure and Word Counts

The following table offers a suggested structure and approximate word counts for your MSc Dissertations. It is not set in stone and should be changed to suit your project and your institution. Remember a key rule for success – Follow the advice of your supervisor!

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Managing your supervisors

An essential part of the PhD process is the relationship between student and supervisors, and the role supervisors play in the development of a PhD project. As with any working relationships the manner in which this dynamic works is hugely varied, but there are steps that can be taken to maximise the value you as a student get out of your supervisory team. There are a few things you should either when choosing supervisors should you have this luxury, or when working with them should they be assigned to you.

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Conferences – doctoral colloquium or full conference

Once you have made the decision to embark on putting your research ‘out there’ for others to see and hear, you need to decide where to do so. There are a range of forum through which you can choose ranging from large national and international conferences often hosted by disciplinary academies to smaller research workshops, seminars or conferences organised by more niche or specialist research groups. Within these many organisations will host events and colloquia aimed specifically at doctoral researchers, which vary considerably, to the elements of these events generally intended for ‘competitive’ research presentations.

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Our latest posts

How to start a PhD proposal

Whenever I have any kind of essay or assessment that needs doing, I always find that the best place to start is to break down everything that you need to do in easy to manage sections. No doubt that by this stage in your education this will have been very much drilled into your mind by now but always plan! It is so important, planning helps you organise your thoughts and manage what seems like a huge undertaking into no more than a sequence of very different/smaller sections which come together to make up a larger whole.

Top 10 Reasons to Consider Doing a PhD in Higher Education

During my undergraduate degree, in International Business, I was obsessed with airlines and my dream job was to work as an operational manager at British Airways. I did not have even the slightest interest in Higher Education until I became a Class Rep during my final year. At Class Rep training I was elected as Faculty Rep and from there I began to attend committee meetings and university workshops. This was a whole new world for me, and I left the majority of meetings enthused to learn more about the intricacies of universities, as well as work to enhance the experiences of my fellow students. Five years later, I am now at the early stages of my PhD researching the experiences of transnational students and working with Academic Registry to put in place initiatives to help support the sense of community and belonging within this Global University.