Who are you, what are you planning to study? The reason for this comic is that chances are you will change your thesis topic 20 times before you finish. That’s okay. Changes in topic are an indication that you are learning something– like your original hypothesis was kind of crap.
Career progression? Strong interest in subject? Desire to discover? Personal development? Opportunity to leave a dead-end job? Funding available? Next step after Masters Degree?
A large number of graduate students in a study conducted at UC Berkley admitted to believing that they got their place on their programme due to some sort of clerical error. Imposter syndrome.
Qualified: It doesn’t need to cover everything It doesn’t have to be perfect It is not your life’s work. Karen’s brick in the wall story
10 minutes with flipchart paper + feedback Skills: Knowledge of the field Analytical ability Subject specific skills (Mass spectrometry or whatever) Data Analysis Attention to detail Networking Writing/ Communication Project management Qualities: Intelligence Dedication Patience Determination Good Communication Self-Motivation Organisation Ingenuity Fabulous sense of style
Read through the Joint Skills Statement in the handout. Which of these things can you confidently say you can already do? Which would you like to work on? Chat in pairs and feed back if you are comfortable. Draw attention to the GTU Handbook and Skillsforge.
Create a lists on flipcharts (2 teams)
Pro forma in Handout. Also available on skills forge www.skillsforge.york.ac.uk
Talk about what to do if things break down with your supervisor Head of Department TAP Members Graduate Students’ Association
Information Capture technology. What are the consequences of each of these choices? Odds of losing stuff? Chronology? Ease of access? What kind of learner are you?
NB. Both of these guys took almost exactly 3.5 years.
To paraphrase “the unwritten rules of the phd”: If you are spending a lot of time and not getting anywhere, one of three things is probably happening: You have the wrong research question Your supervisor has you working on a lot of things that aren’t related to your PhD You are in your second year.
The advantages of getting to know other phd students. “ when is your essay due?” “ can’t you just look it up in a book?”
Starting Your PhD Graduate Training Unit Dr. Jen Winter
“ In the first few months, you may feel like a fraud. This is normal.” PhD in Maths, completed summer 2008
What is a PhD? Scholarship Apprenticeship Training
Scholarship 3-4 years Original Piece of Research Meaningful addition to knowledge Publishable Quality
“ Remember that a science thesis is just a collection of figures showing data. The text merely describes the data (results), why it’s important (discussion), and what you need to know to understand it (introduction).” PhD in Biology, completed Winter 2007
“ It’s only a PhD. ” PhD in Comp.sci., completed Spring 2007
Apprenticeship Responsibility/ Integrity Independence The PhD is the process of producing a researcher as well as a piece of research
What are the Skills and Qualities of a good researcher?
Training Competent in research skills Employability skills Challenging your personal and interpersonal management skills as well as your intellect
A: research skills and techniques B: research environment C: research management D: personal effectiveness E: communication skills F: team-working and networking skills G: career management Joint Statement of Skills
“ Getting on with your supervisor is infinitely important. (My dad told me this, but I didn’t listen. I wish I had...)” MPhil in Maths, completed summer 2007
What do you want from your Supervisor? What do you think they want from you?
“ Formal supervisory meetings, at which substantial discussion of research progress and plans takes place, should be held at least twice a term […] A meeting with the supervisor, if requested by the student, will take place within one week, as far as practicable.” University Policy on Research Degree Programmes
How do you prepare for a meeting with your supervisor? <ul><li>Submit drafts in lots of time for your supervisor to read them </li></ul><ul><li>Summarise your progress since your last meeting so that you have it clear in your mind </li></ul><ul><li>Make a list of any questions that have been hounding you </li></ul><ul><li>Make a list of anything you need from your supervisor before you can continue </li></ul><ul><li>Send this agenda to your supervisor in advance if at all possible </li></ul>
In the Meeting <ul><li>Review you progress and update your supervisor on new developments </li></ul><ul><li>Explore any problems, interpretations, issues and results </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify your next steps and identify tasks to be completed either by you or your supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>Set Goals to be completed by the next meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Set a date for the next meeting </li></ul>
It is considered good practice for the student to draw up a record of formal supervisory meetings for approval by the supervisor. This should include the date of the meeting and a summary of the content of the meeting and of future actions to be performed. University Policy on Research Degree Programmes
“ Don’t rely on your supervisor to push you. Learn to push yourself.” PhD in Philosophy, completed 2002
“ Plan to finish in 4 years, and if you finish early treat it as a bonus.” PhD in Comp.sci. Completed Winter 2008. “ Start the ground running with the intention to finish in three years.” PhD in Biology. Completed Winter 2007.
What are you going to do with your time as a PhD student?
0-6 months : survey literature and learn to use relevant tools 6-12 months : deepen understanding of the 'problem' and devise solutions 12-18 months (halfway!): engrossed in research 18-24 months : begin to wind up data collection 24-30 months : complete solution and review recent literature 30-36 months : written thesis, ready for viva One Way to Get it Done Recommended by Vitae
“ There will be times when it will be considered ‘normal’ not having any progress for a month, but not having any progress for six months may be a worry.” PhD in Comp.Sci. 4 th year
“ The PhD is a very lonely process. There will be no one but you who knows a lot about this subject and sometimes even your supervisor will look at you with ‘blank’ eyes when you are explaining what you did last week. Make sure you love tackling problems alone.” PhD in Comp.sci. 4 th year
“ Post-It of the Week” on a blog by a current PhD student. www.zoeadokierski.blogspot.com
“ Socialise with people from your department and college. Join societies and practice some sport. Focusing only on your PhD burns you down. If you do it, by the end of your first year you will be sick of your PhD, depressed and tired.” PhD in Comp.sci. Completed Summer 2008
So, who have you got on your side? <ul><li>Friends </li></ul><ul><li>Family </li></ul><ul><li>Partners </li></ul><ul><li>Supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>Thesis Advisory Panel </li></ul><ul><li>Chair of Graduate Schools Board </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate Schools Office </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate Students’ Association </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate Administrator </li></ul><ul><li>Counselling Service </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate Training Unit </li></ul><ul><li>Each Other!! </li></ul>