Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : DPTs :  School of Social and Political Science DPTs
Jump to: Year 1

Year 1 Academic year: 2023/24, Starting in: September

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. You will work 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 regulations).

The prescribed period of study for a full-time PhD is 36 months, and your thesis is expected to be submitted towards the end of the third year. The University regulations do allow a further 12 months study time for completion of the thesis but students are recommended to aim to complete within 3 years. Progress during your PhD is assessed by annual reviews, which formally determine whether you can progress with your PhD.

Year 1

Students are required to:
-Attend the Subject Area's annual PGR Conference every year, and present their work in the 1st year.
- Complete a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) by the end of month 2.

- Submit for approval a report in preparation for the Progression Review at the end of First Year. This will usually take the form of a research proposal.
- Successfully complete the First Year review panel.
- Complete a risk assessment and seek ethics approval in relation to the proposed research and any proposed fieldwork.

In Year 1 students are encouraged to:

- Attend the induction for PhD students and any other inductions or training required.
- Attend the Social Anthropology Research Development seminar.
- Work with supervisors to establish the research project which will be the basis for the dissertation.
- Take training courses from the Research Training Centre in SPS, the Institute of Academic Development (IAD), the Student Development Office (SDO) and the national graduate schools (Scottish Graduate School of Arts & Humanities or Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences).
- Participate in relevant School or University research groups.

Year 2
In Year 2 students will normally be conducting ethnographic fieldwork, though the nature, location, and medium of that fieldwork may vary.
Students are required to:
- Update their Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and discuss this with their supervisors at the beginning of the year.
- Successfully complete the 2nd Year review.
- Attend the annual subject area PGR conference.
Students are encouraged to:
- Continue to discuss training and personal development with their supervisors.
- Update supervisors on fieldwork progress.

Year 3
In Year 3 students are encouraged to:
- Continue to discuss training and personal development with their supervisors.
- Update the Training Needs Analysis.
- Participate and present in relevant School or University research groups.
- Publish research work in appropriate journals and conferences, as agreed with the supervisors.
- Present your work (oral or poster) at conferences or workshops, as appropriate to your research field.
- Participate in tutoring or demonstrating (after attending mandatory tutor and demonstrator training).
- Participate in committees relating to postgraduate research.
- Participate and present in relevant School or University research groups.
- Attend research seminars across the University.
- Contribute to the academic life of the School, such as through our graduate society, open days, and outreach activities.
- Write up final dissertation and submit.

Year 4
After three years of full-time enrolment, students are entitled to an additional period of 12 months for writing-up their thesis. The thesis must be submitted by the end of this additional period of registration.

- Completing the thesis
It is very important to complete your PhD thesis within the allotted time. Extensions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances (illness, etc.).
About three months before completion of the thesis, students should submit the "Notice of Intention to Submit form". This requires discussion with the student's supervisor(s).

- The PhD Exam
The PhD dissertation is examined in a viva voce examination with two Examiners. At least one examiner must be external to the University of Edinburgh.
The Examiners can recommend one of the following options:
a) that the dissertation is passed and the candidate is awarded the degree of PhD
b) that the dissertation is passed subject to minor corrections
c) that an additional oral examination is needed
d) That additional work is needed on the thesis up to 12 months but no further examination is required
e) that the dissertation requires substantial work, and is resubmitted up to 24 months: a second viva voce exam will be required by the Examiners
f) that the dissertation is awarded the degree of MPhil;
g) that the dissertation is awarded an MPhil following minor corrections
h) that the dissertation requires substantial work before being submitted for an MPhil
i) that the dissertation is awarded an MSc by Research
j) no award is given

PhD students in Social and Political Sciences must also follow the additional information given in the School's Postgraduate Research Student Handbook:

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:

There are no compulsory courses in this year of this programme.

General Disclaimer