A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) trains you as a researcher and allows you to develop advanced techniques and in-depth knowledge in a specialist area. You will develop an all-round knowledge of your discipline, and a broad range of transferable skills.
You will carry out independent research, resulting in an original contribution to knowledge in your chosen area, working under the guidance of your supervisors.
To be awarded a PhD you will submit a thesis and defend this thesis in an oral examination (assessed according to the University's Postgraduate Assessment regulations: https://www.ed.ac.uk/academic-services/policies-regulations/regulations/assessment).
The prescribed period of study is 36 months if studying full-time, or between 48 and 72 months if studying part-time.
The first year of PhD studies is probationary. Your supervisor will identify your training needs, if any, and invite you to attend lectures relevant to your research topic. These lectures may be selected from those offered to MSc students, or may be specialist courses and seminars organised by the School's various research groupings.
Towards the end of the first year you will be expected to submit a thesis proposal which identifies a specific research topic, reviews the relevant literature, outlines a plan of research to address the topic, and describes progress made so far.
Progress during your PhD is assessed by annual reviews, which formally determine whether you can progress with your PhD. Your thesis is expected to be submitted at the end of the third year, followed by an oral examination. You will be awarded a doctorate if your thesis is judged to represent an original contribution to knowledge in your chosen area.
The University's Code of Practice for Postgraduate Research Students and Supervisors gives further information about the requirements of a PhD at the University of Edinburgh: http://edin.ac/2FBPNaw