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Topic: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)  (Read 1425 times)

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UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« on: July 25, 2003, 05:24:31 PM »
Has anyone had any experience doing a PhD in the UK?  I am seriously thinking about doing a PhD and figured I might as well as get it over with before I get any older. That and I abhor cubicle land...never ever want to be stuck in a cubicle.

I have spent quite a bit of time looking into the world of academe in the US but do not have a clue as to how it all works in the UK.  Are there good funding opporutinites?  Is there a lot of class time? How does the dissertation differ?

Has anyone had good or bad experiences with their supervisors in the UK? Would you even recommend getting a PhD in the UK versus the US?  

I noticed that in many of the UK university sites that they almost expect you to have an area of specific research they want you to write about...any idea how specific?  Does it need to basically be your dissertation topic?  

How hard is it to transfer a US Masters degree to a UK PhD program?

My areas of interest or organizational change/behavior and EU politics specifically regional versus national relations.
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day


Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2003, 09:34:42 PM »
Hiya Vnicepeeps!

My husband is in the correction stage of his Phd which he started in the fall of 1999.  He submitted his final paper in Feb of this year and had his VIVA exam in June-which he passed with corrections. A typical outcome, I'm told. He was lucky enough to get a partial sponsorship from sort of a Phd fielding house (no other way to describe it hehe I'm sure he'd do a better job!)and that is where he did most of his labwork. He also had an additional funding the company sponsoring his work. SO- he was actually able to live and save some money because he knew the sponsorship would run out before he was finished- as most Phd's run over the original submission target date.

I think from observing his experience that I'd be very leery of relying on your supervisors for a whole lot- because his seemed to be very overworked.  Maybe his experience wasn't the norm, but his best input came from his sponsor's lab people!

Ultimately, his frustration echoes exactly what your concern is...his examiners both had differing opinions on the style of his final paper & now he's having to re-write some chapters due to style and not content! Very aggravating  ;) I really wanted to do some eye-poking, but they don't let wives into the exam room  >:( hehe

Anyhoo- I'm not sure if any of this is helpful at all. I think it really is going to depend on the type of Phd you want to do and the University that sponsors you. There are so many options out there, aren't there? It's probably a great idea to get in touch with many different programs and weigh the options. If it's not as crucial that you have additional funding, you might have more to choose from, but it shouldn't keep you from asking about grants and stipends that are available!

If you have any questions about what I've written (I'm tired and probably not as coherent as I should be)- please ask and I'll ask my husband- he's the one who did it first hand!
Good luck!

Jen :)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2003, 12:12:18 AM by jennydee »


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2003, 01:08:19 AM »
Oh goody!  <----PhD word there fer sure!  ;D

Jen you and your husband are a Godsend!  

Now that you have so kindly opened your husband up for questions I shall take advantage.  First what is a VIVA exam?  I assume it is the equivalent of the oral or written dissertation defense?  I know all about how harrowing and insane sponsers are.

We used to have people in near or complete hysterics because Prof so and so did not have the same style as prof someone else.  In the US you have one Chair and two other profs sitting on you...  :P

I guess the good news is that the Head of our PhD department whereI got my Masters will be writing my recommendation and hopefully that will hold some weight since he would work with me...

Some very specific questions I have are these:  

How long do you have before you pick or are picked by a sponser?
How many of them are there, do you spend the majority of the time attached to them working as their research slave to get to be a third and fourth author?
How detailed should my essay be as to what I want to research? Is a general idea okay?
Will I start right in on the research given a fairly strong background or will I go to classes?
How long before you must narrow a dissertation topic?
Will I still have a some what flexible schedule?
What does a typical day look like for a PhD candidate in the UK?
and...(sorry I know there are a lot)
How hard is it realistically to get in?

I  am a member of an honors group, have a good masters GPA, high GRE scores (neither of the last two are off the record but strong).

By the way my degrees are in Political Science and Public Administration.

Thank you soooooo much!


The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2003, 06:16:24 AM »
Hi there, i am also applying for two PhD programs (in computer science, more specifically, in Human Computer Interaction and E-learning). There seems to be a number of studentships out there for my field, but i also have similar questions. Based on the info off the college website, i think there are no classes offered for PhD students. So I am guessing all we do are research??


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2003, 04:52:47 PM »
Hey!  Whoo hoo another PhD peep!  

Not that I have answers to your questions, but we can come up with lots of questions.  From what I can figure out there are some taught programmes that do have classes and some that are pure research and seminars.  Still rifling through the information though.  

I did just buy a book on Amazon UK though that is called How to get a PhD by Phillips and Pugh.  Seems to be good so far -I admit I have not had time to read it as work is crazy.

Best of luck!

« Last Edit: August 13, 2003, 04:53:27 PM by vnicepeeps »
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2003, 05:15:14 PM »
Thanks vnicepeeps.
When are you going to do your PhD? Are you applying to any programs? Which uni are you going to apply?
I am going to talk to one of the faculty this week/next week so i may be able to get a better idea of what the programs are like. I just don't want to sound like an idoit when i talk to them. I will keep you posted on my progress.
:)


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2003, 05:21:11 PM »
I am actually working on my research statement.  Something which is driving me up the wall as I am not sure what to write.  I have several ideas for proposed areas, but need to be a bit more specifi I guess.  I keep saying that I will go in October of next year, and hopefully that will be right.

I am looking into The Univeristy of Exeter simply because they seem to mirror my interests in Public Administration.

What other places are you looking into?  Have you checked out some of the ranking sites?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2003, 05:21:28 PM by vnicepeeps »
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2003, 06:54:09 PM »
I am applying to the University of Brighton and Middlesex U. I am also working on my research proposal. Where are the ranking sites? I wonder where i can get hold of a sample of what a research proposal suppose to look like in the UK???


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2003, 09:03:41 PM »
thanks vnicepeeps for your recommendation of the book "How to get a PhD". I just ordered it from Amazon today, will share more insight with you once i read the book. I have also been researching a lot on the web about a Brit PhD. In gerenal, they are kinda like independent studies, you have to have a pretty clear idea of what research you want to do (with the help of your supervisor to fine tune it as you go along). The research proposal is the main thing you have to submit in order to apply for admission (by the way, did you notice that there are no application fee??!!) The proposal is about 2-5 pages long, more or less an outline of what you are going to research. I hope this info helps. It looks like there are a lot of studentship opportunities so funding doesn't seem to be a problem.
I will see if i can dig out more info soon...just learning about the Brit PhD process is a research project on its own!!!
;) ;) ;)


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2003, 11:33:45 PM »
Three ranking lists are these...the last is UKEAS which is probably the best for PhD's as it ranks the level of research in each university.  A 5 is the best.  You want to of course look for a 5 in your subject area.  The Times and Guardian are good, but the Times book on Amazon is geared towrds undergrad work.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/section/0,,716,00.html

http://education.guardian.co.uk/universityguide/0,10085,488282,00.html

http://www.ukeas.com/postgrad/gradschools/rankings.htm

The British Council's Eduation site is also useful.

http://www.educationuk.org/

Hope any of this helps!

I am going a bit nutty over the research proposal as I really have only a vague idea of what to study and searching my mind for things I studied almost three years ago is tough.  So I am busy rereading some methodolgy books and downloading articles from the various University website that I want to go to.  I plan on heading down to a University library to help too.  Should be fun.  I wonder how specific they need it.  Do we include a lit. review?   ;D Too specific and we might write our way out of any sponsership.  I wonder how formal they are compared to a US admissions essay.  Do we include personal data or just a pure research piece? Hmmmmmm...

basically I agree a
Quote
....sample of what a research proposal suppose to look like in the UK
would be most useful....anyone?  anyone?

The more answers the more questions.  

« Last Edit: August 14, 2003, 11:34:44 PM by vnicepeeps »
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day


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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2003, 06:35:18 PM »
vnicepeeps, what is your research area/academic background? I think if you know which uni you are going, it will help to start talking to the people there. Maybe the faculty/students over there can help you with the proposal. I have been talking to this faculty at Open U and he has been very helpful in connecting me with the right people. Hey, thanks for the sites! I think I also need to consider if the program is a good fit for me...the rating helps, but it really is the program I am looking at.




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Re: UK PhD anyone?  HELP!  Please? :-)
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2004, 01:39:06 PM »
Quote

I am going a bit nutty over the research proposal as I really have only a vague idea of what to study and searching my mind for things I studied almost three years ago is tough.  So I am busy rereading some methodolgy books and downloading articles from the various University website that I want to go to.  I plan on heading down to a University library to help too.  Should be fun.  I wonder how specific they need it.  Do we include a lit. review?   ;D Too specific and we might write our way out of any sponsership.  I wonder how formal they are compared to a US admissions essay.  Do we include personal data or just a pure research piece? Hmmmmmm...

basically I agree a
would be most useful....anyone?  anyone?

The more answers the more questions.  



Hey... just reading through all your concerns and trying to remember what I wrote.  Which, unfortunately, I can't!   :'(

But I can tell you these things:

Don't go personal - the proposal is merely a statement of what you intend to study.  

Be specific - this demonstrates your knowledge of the subject, and also illustrates that you can see where there is a lack in the scholarship already done.  You are here to fill in that gap.

But you are right - don't be so specific that you've written yourself into a corner.  Demonstrate, somehow, that your topic is flexible and can be widened or narrowed as new scholarship comes to light.

And finally....

Your proposal is just that.  A proposal.  What your thesis ends up looking like after three years could be something diametrically opposed to what you originally started with.  Universities fully expect that your topic with evolve and mutate over time!  So relax!  Breathe!  And write what you know....  ;)

Vnice - take everything you've researched thus far, gather it all up.... and make a bonfire out of it.  Then go back to your computer, and write out what you want to study.  Then go to your books, and find those that support your theories, and those theories you intend to trash and thrash.  Stick those in.  Polish for one day.  Leave for three.  Come back and read it again, polish for another day.  Then submit it and forget about it, until the acceptance letters pour in!  

Hope that helped!

Morgana

ps - I'm here if you want to discuss your ideas.  Send me what you've written to lynn@wayf.co.uk  You too, Stellar1!
"Ha HA!" cried she, as she waved her wooden leg.


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