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FASS506 Designing, Undertaking and Surviving Doctoral Research


Module description

Outline syllabus

Introduction to PhD study in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Processes, procedures and practices - an overview of PhD study year-by-year

How to design, conduct, enjoy and survive a study: students who have done it share their experiences

What problems might PhD students come across and how could they be solved?

How to start: new students share their plans, hopes and concerns


Aims and objectives

This module is designed for new research students. It aims to offer students a general introduction to PhD study in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The module provides an opportunity to think through the process of doing a PhD, from start to finish, how best to organise it, what problems may arise and how to deal with these. Specific issues students will learn about include the design, planning and implementation of PhD research. The emphasis of the module is on sharing experiences and expectations: primarily amongst those new to PhD study but also with students who are further advanced or near completion. To achieve this, several PhD students who are in their third or final year or who have already submitted are invited to share their experiences. These students are from different departments and disciplines to allow for a wider insight into the process of studying for a PhD in the Faculty. The module is designed in a way to allow research students to discuss some of the general questions which all research must confront but also to think about their own research ideas and proposals in terms of these questions. The module also offers an opportunity to identify and think through potential problems research students might experience in the course of studying for a PhD and there will be plenty of space to discuss how to overcome such difficulties and how to not only survive but enjoy doctoral study.


Reading list

Dunleavy, P. (2010), Authoring a PhD: how to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation. London: Palgrave. 2nd edition.

Peelo, M. T. (2010), Understanding supervision and the PhD. London: Continuum.

Phillips, E.M. and Pugh, D.S. (2010), How to get a PhD: a handbook for students and their supervisors. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Open University Press. 5th edition.


Timing and Location




13/01/14 - 10/02/14

Number of sessions:

5 x 2 hour sessions. Weeks 11-15

Timing and Location:

Mondays, 2.00-4.00, Bowland North Seminar Room 20


Additional information

Minimum quota: 6

Maximum quota: 25

Charge to non-FASS departments: £217



Coursework and Assessment

Coursework requirements


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Graduate School, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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