FASS506M Designing, Undertaking and Surviving Doctoral Research - Cohort 1

This short module is offered in two cohorts, one in Michaelmas Term and the other in Lent Term - you should register for either Cohort 1 or Cohort 2, not both.

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
  • What problems might PhD students come across and how could they be solved? 'Oldies' share their experiences
  • Making the most of your supervision

Aims and objectives

This short module is intended for all new research students in FASS, irrespective of the department to which you belong. It offers a general introduction to PhD study in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and will provide an overview of the main stages of doing a PhD in the Faculty.

As part of the module, you will have the opportunity to share and discuss with other PhD students your expectations for the PhD, your concerns and hopes. Together, we will think through the process of doing a PhD, how best to organise your work and how to deal with difficulties that may arise. The emphasis of the module is on sharing experiences and expectations. To achieve this, two PhD students who are about to finish or have just passed their viva will share their experiences with students during the afternoon session.

Introductory readings

Dunleavy, P. (2010), Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation. 2nd edition. London: Palgrave.

Matthiesen, J. and Binder, M. 2009. How to Survive Your Doctorate. What Others Don’t Tell You. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

MARP. 2018. Manual of Academic Regulations and Procedures.

Murray, R. 2002. How To Write A Thesis. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Murray, R. 2009. How to Survive Your Viva. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Neuman, W. L. 2012. Basics of Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Peelo, M. T. 2010. Understanding Supervision and the PhD. London: Continuum.

Petre, M. and Rugg, G. 2010. The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Phillips, E. M. and Pugh, D. S. 2010. How to Get a PhD: A Handbook for Students and Their Supervisors. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Potter, S. ed. 2006. Doing Postgraduate Research. London: Sage Publications.

QAA. 2015. Characteristics Statement: Doctoral Degree: QAA.

Rugg, G. and Petre, M. 2004. The Unwritten Rules of PhD. Research. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Thomson, P. and Walker, M. 2010. The Routledge Doctoral Student’s Companion: Getting to Grips with Research in Education and the Social Sciences. Abingdon: Routledge.

Trafford, V. and Leshem, S. 2008. Stepping Stones to Achieving your Doctorate by Focusing on your Viva from the Start. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Vitae RDF Framework.

Williams, K., Bethell, E., Lawton, J., Parfitt, C., Richardson, M., Rowe, V. 2010. Planning your PhD. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Timing and Location





Number of sessions:

2 x 2 hour sessions

Timing and Location:

Tuesday, Week 2

10.00-12.00: Charles Carter A18

1.00-3.00: Bowland North Seminar Room 23


Additional information

Minimum quota: 6