Postgraduate research

Introduction to MPhil/PhD programmePGRS_skyline_image

 The MPhil and PhD programmes offer you the chance to study the built environment at a world-class centre for research. To ensure that research and scholarship continue to stretch the boundaries of knowledge generation and transformation, the relationship between you and your supervisor is crucial. Every care is taken to provide excellent supervision and guidance for each research student. As a research student you will be required to present your work to your advisory committee for direction and assistance at regular intervals.

Final awards are made to a research student who has undertaken a critical investigation in an approved topic and has demonstrated a clear understanding of the research methods appropriate to the study. As part of your PhD you will be required to produce a thesis and to defend it in an oral examination.

PhD programme

The PhD programme is 100% research based. However, students are also encouraged to take part in the University wide Graduate School Skills course and the SCME summer lecture series run through Blackboard. Supervision is provided by a supervisor and co-supervisor, thus ensuring a wealth of experience and avoiding potential challenges during absence.

A typical way of breaking down the PhD process is through seeing the 1st year as reviewing the body of knowledge and developing the specific aims, questions and proposing a method suitable to address those. The 2nd year is seen as actually 'doing' the research, the field work and some analysis. The final year is part analysis and part writing the 70,000-90,000 word thesis up for submission.

Once the candidate has been active on the programme for 12 months they should be close to submitting a transfer report. These reports are usually 12-25 pages. The report is reviewed by a selected panel from the SCME and a transfer meeting held. The transfer meeting could be viewed as a 'mini' viva, whereby the candidate is asked to defend their work to date. However, the transfer meeting is more than that and offers a chance for the candidate to describe their ideas, questions and the proposed method. Whilst the candidate is tested, advice is also offered about how the research may develop. This advice can help in further developing a robust argument essential for PhD research. Upon successful completion the candidate moves from being registered on a higher degree to a PhD degree. When ready for submission, usually in agreement with the supervisors, the thesis is submitted and a date for a Viva set. The Viva is an oral defence of the work. The examiners, who consist of 1 from the SCME and 1 from an external university with an international standing read the thesis. The Viva then takes place, offering the candidate the opportunity to defend their work and be examined by international experts in their field.

MPhil programme

This programme typically takes two years of full-time work. For more details please contact us.

Things to do now

Discuss your research degree:

Katie Saxelby-Smith

PhD Administrator

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