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Studying at PhD level – University of Reading

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  • Everything you need to know about PhDs at Reading

Studying at PhD level

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs.

Modes of study

Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, as well as PhD by Distance.

PhD by Distance students spend the majority of their time at another location and normally have a supervisor/mentor at that location. There must be an academic or financial rationale for this status to be granted and the University assesses each application on an individual basis.

Additionally, some of our PhD students are involved in interdisciplinary projects or projects with an external partner. In these cases they may be supported by a supervisor from outside the University, and interact with a wider range of staff.

FACILITIES

Friendly and experienced staff advise and assist our students throughout their time at Reading. Students are provided with dedicated offices and have access to both a cafeteria and senior common room space within the School.

As a postgraduate research student at Reading you will have access to the Graduate School. At the heart of this is Old Whiteknights House, a dedicated facility that provides space for doctoral researchers to work and network with others. Old Whiteknights House is a beautiful Victorian building that has been carefully modernised to provide a range of excellent resources and amenities. It also houses a number of support staff who deal exclusively with doctoral research matters and administration at Reading.

TRAINING

In the first year of your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate training agreed between you and your supervisors. You will also undertake courses on the Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP). Depending on the respective funder for your PhD, further training via attendance at advanced courses, meetings and workshops may also form part of your PhD programme.

The Graduate School's Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP) offers a rich array of training sessions and workshops that have been especially designed to help you gain the additional skills that will enable you to carry out your research professionally and effectively. The RRDP is delivered primarily using the expertise of academic and specialist staff within the University and complements any subject-specific training that we provide. The RRDP includes training sessions on research methods, writing academic papers, getting published, public engagement and career planning.

In addition to the RRDP, doctoral researchers will also have the chance to access the following development opportunities:

  • Preparing to teach – A programme focused on the skills needed for teaching and learning activities.
  • Developing your potential as a leader – This leadership programme is jointly run with the triple accredited Henley Business School.
  • Academic English Programme – Supporting international students to develop their academic English skills with a range of classes and services.
  • PhD Plus – A scheme specifically for international doctoral researchers who are lecturers in their home country.

PRESENTING

Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere.

The School encourages you to attend conferences and other events to widen your network of contacts.

The School holds PhD seminar series, which give you the opportunity to practise speaking about your work at a friendly, informal event. There may also be opportunities to teach on undergraduate courses.

DEDICATED SUPPORT SERVICE

You will be assigned a supervisor within the School who will meet with you on a regular basis to provide support. You will have also have access to the Doctoral Research Office.

You will have also have access to the Doctoral Research Office. Located in the Graduate School, the Doctoral Research Office provides advice and support for current and prospective students. It is a key point of contact for any doctoral researchers who have questions relating to registration, student status, immigration, studentships, University policy and procedures.

DOCTORAL RESEARCH COMMUNITY

You will join a vibrant doctoral community within the school, working alongside postdoctoral researchers and academic staff.

In addition to offering training and support to doctoral researchers, the Graduate School co-ordinates a range of activities that bring students together from across the University. These include the annual Doctoral Research Conference, an event that showcases the variety and excellence of postgraduate research taking place at Reading. The conference features a number of competitions and presentations including the PhD researcher of the year award.

Another event that celebrates academic excellence is the Graduate School's annual public lecture – the Fairbrother Lecture – delivered by a current or recent postgraduate research student. This is a fantastic opportunity for a wider audience to hear about high quality doctoral research taking place at Reading.

Graduate School homepage regularly promotes the achievements and success of doctoral researchers through the Graduate School Bulletin.

FEES AND FUNDING

You can find out more about fees for University of Reading PhD programmes by visiting the Graduate School website.

Sources of funding

A range of financial support options for doctoral research students is available at the University with around 150 entry awards across all subjects open to outstanding PhD candidates over the year, some of which are particularly relevant to our school.

Agriculture, Policy and Development Travel Awards

These provide part-funding for students to undertake extra-curricular study travel, in the UK or overseas, which will advance their education generally.

Further information about the award and application process are available to download at Travel Award Guidance Notes and Travel Award Application Form.

International (non-EU) students

The University offers a number of Studentships for international applicants each year in addition to providing information about other potential funding opportunities available for international students.

International students are strongly encouraged to explore the funding opportunities offered from within their home country in order to maximise their chances of securing funding.

Alumni fee discounts

If you've previously completed a degree with us, you’ll automatically receive our alumni discount (£1,500 off the cost of your tuition fees).

English language support

The University's International Study and Language Institute can help you develop your academic English skills and offers a range of courses and programmes to suit your specific needs, if English is not your first language.

English Writing and Language Practice programme

This six-week programme has been specifically designed for postgraduate researchers. It is supplemented by one-to-one advisory sessions, helping you to apply what you have learned to your thesis writing.

Academic English Programme

The Academic English Programme (AEP) features courses aimed at building your confidence in spoken language situations, developing your accuracy in the English language and improving your writing skills.

Life at Reading

The University of Reading offers the peace and tranquillity of an award-winning parkland campus, just a short bus ride from a vibrant town centre. Our thriving community is made up of students from around the world, and our range of clubs and societies offer many opportunities to meet like-minded people.

HOW TO APPLY AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

1. Check our entry requirements

Applicants should normally possess at least a first degree (normally of an upper second-class honours standard or above), or equivalent. Many applicants also have a master’s degree (normally of a good merit standard or above).

The Dean of PGR Studies can approve the admission of students with lower or non- standard qualifications.

If you are from outside of the UK, you will also need to demonstrate you have a certain level of proficiency with written and spoken English.

For more information on entry requirements, visit our Graduate School website.

2. Select a topic

There are different routes for selecting a PhD research topic:

If you are interested in a broad area of research, advertised projects covering specific research topics can be found on our PhD opportunities page

If you have a clear idea about a research project of your choice, you should first determine whether the project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you; it should also address a perceived 'gap' in the literature and, most importantly, be of interest to you. You can receive feedback by contacting the School.

3. Identify a Supervisor

Please visit our Detailed offer information and PhD supervisors pages to view potential PhD options and read about our PhD supervisors' interests, which can be useful when you are looking for a potential supervisor. You can also view our Our staff to see our academics' interests more broadly.

4. Make an application

Please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application form. This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees. Although you will be working with a specific area of the School or supervisor, all PhD applications have to be made centrally.

We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the appropriate area of the School.

Although most new students join the PhD programme in October, it is possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.

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