Doctoral Programme

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Doctoral programme - Further Information - Research Foci - Admissions

Please note that the Co-ordinator of the Doctoral Programme is Profesor John Hiden.

The Objectives of the Doctoral Programme

The award of a PhD in the Department of European Studies is a mark of a student’s competence to conduct research to rigorous intellectual standards. It shows that the student has made an original and independent contribution to our understanding of the making of modern Europe. The research degree is intended to provide you with analytical and problem-solving skills; with communication and dissemination skills; and with skills in the effective management of your time. The student’s work should constitute a critical synthesis of existing work and/or an original contribution to knowledge.

A research degree is useful either as a building block on which the student can base an academic career or employment in some other field or as a means to pursue a specialist intellectual interest to a high standard.

The Research Environment

The Department of European Studies places great emphasis on promoting an active research culture, involving staff and students in the pursuit of scholarship at the highest level. Its standards in this respect have been officially recognised by the research ranking that the Department has been given in the last two Research Assessment Exercises in European Studies conducted in the UK. On both occasions the Department was awarded the highest 5A ranking. This ranking reflects the international standard achieved within the work of the Department.

Comprising 18 social scientists and historians, the Department is the largest of its type in the UK and dates back as an entity to the late 1960s, making it one of the oldest. The staff include historians, political scientists, economists and international relations experts, all specialising in aspects of modern Europe. This interdisciplinarity makes for an exceptionally stimulating and supportive working environment for research students. There is, in addition, a regular flow of visiting academics to the Department from other European countries as part of a wide range of international exchanges. Particular stress is placed on putting European issues and developments in a broader comparative and/or historical framework.

The Department’s Postgraduate Office is staffed by Margaret Haldane who assists in co-ordinating both the Doctoral Programme and the Department’s four M.A. schemes. The Doctoral Programme is co-ordinated by Professor John Hiden.

The Department gives top priority to ensuring that up-to-date resources are made available to support research students, including access to PCs and the Internet, the Library’s excellent European collection and its status as a European Documentation Centre and the Department’s own Teaching and Learning Resources Room. The British Library’s site at nearby Boston Spa provides unrivalled library resources and is less than thirty minutes from Bradford.

Particular importance is attached to the provision of skills training and research seminars. There is an Orientation Seminar for all new research students as well as the Doctoral Workshop in which students discuss the progress of their research work. The Staff-Student Colloquium provides an opportunity for both research students and staff, from inside as well as outside the University, to talk about their research findings and the problems involved in conducting research.

In addition to our policy of allocating two supervisors to each student, we have a personal tutorial system to provide students with an independent and alternative route to discuss any problems in the strictest confidence. This tutorial system is managed by the Senior Tutor outside the framework of the Doctoral Programme. There are of course other forms of student support, including the Adviser to Overseas Students, the Student Union Welfare Officer, the Accommodation Officer, the Student Counselling Service, etc.

Induction Programme

At the beginning of each academic session in September the Department organises a full induction programme for new research students to introduce them to the University and to the Department, to ensure that they meet with other research students and staff, to outline the research skills training programme and the supervision and tutorial arrangements, to introduce them to the IT and library resources, and to give them a full account of registration and enrolment. Student are also encouraged to take part in the University-wide programme.

Supervision

Departmental policy is to ensure that each student is supervised by two members of staff who are experts in different aspects of the proposed research work. The quality of the supervisory relationship and reports on student progress are considered each year by Progress and Monitoring Panels of departmental staff. These panels judge whether progress has been sufficiently satisfactory for a student to continue with her/his studies. They ensure that the student has completed the research skills programme satisfactorily. Where appropriate, the panels make recommendations to the supervisors about their handling of the research project.

Supervisors are looking for the following qualities in their research students:

Key Aspects of Departmental Support for Research Students

Skills Training

Students who have not undertaken a full research methods training course are required to take the double module on Research Methods offered by the Department. This module covers the philosophy of the social sciences and history, quantitative methods and qualitative methods.

All research students are required to attend the Orientation Seminar and the Doctoral Workshop. Along with the Research Methods module, these are held on Friday. They are designed to help foster the sharing of experience across disciplinary boundaries and to help develop a sense of community and mutual support amongst research students. They are also important in developing the communication and presentation skills of students and in developing their ability to defend work and to respond to critical questioning.

Students are also required to attend the Staff-Student Colloquium, which is also held on Friday. From their third year onwards they will be expected to make presentations in this forum as an important part of developing their dissemination skills.

The stress in skills training is placed not just on the needs of the individual research project but on developing skills of wider application in future careers, including communication skills, team-working and time management.

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Copyright 1999 CompanyLongName
Last updated, modified and extended by Tony Hargreaves on 12/7/99
Comments and queries to tonyh98@hotmail.com