Important notice - May 2013
Please see the tabs below for useful information.
Research Students, September 2011
Research students are admitted to the department in order to work under the supervision of a member of staff whose area of expertise is closely related to their intended project. A second supervisor is also appointed to each student in order to provide cover during any absence of the first supervisor. A full-time research student will take two years to complete an MPhil and three years to complete a PhD. The time limit on completion of theses is strictly enforced on instructions from the Higher Education Funding Council. The treatment of the subject and its scope must be worked out on the assumption that the thesis can be submitted within that time limit.
Research students’ focus is primarily on the research and writing of the thesis, but there are other aspects of their work. Research students may, exceptionally, audit taught courses appropriate to their subject. All research students are expected to attend the Graduate Seminar, to which they will all eventually contribute a paper. There are also opportunities for research students to teach undergraduate courses, closely supported by a member of staff; they will be introduced not only to classroom teaching, but to the business of essay marking and examining. Skills development and work toward the upgrade procedure are, however, perhaps the most important requirements beyond work with the supervisor.
Skills Development Training
During the three years of research study, all students pursue an individual programme of skills development. These skills might be specifically related to the research topic (e.g., a foreign language, paleography) or of a more general sort. This training is a UCL requirement, and is meant to help your research at UCL and also to enhance your life skills and employability.
UCL operates a system by which specific courses and activities are given a point value; each student must complete 20 points per year. Students should consult with their principal supervisor to plan their individual programmes, but it is the responsibility of the student to make sure that the requirement is met.
In addition to specific courses and professional activities, various parts of research student life in the Department count towards the skills development requirement. In the autumn and spring terms of the first year of research study, students are required to attend two full-day seminars that bring together students from different London institutions where the history of art is studied. These ReSkIN (Research Skills Intercollegiate Network) seminars together count for 8 of the 20 points first-year research students must accrue. Similarly, regular participation in the Postgraduate Seminar counts for one point per term. For information on training courses and opportunities available, see the Graduate School’s Skills Development Programme website.
The MPhil/PhD Upgrade Procedure
All students working toward a PhD are initially registered for the MPhil degree; this is changed to PhD registration upon satisfactory completion of the upgrade procedure. Upgrades usually take place between 12 and 18 months after registration for full-time students and 18 to 24 months after registration for part-time students. Exceeding this date usually implies that progress has not been satisfactory, which can have implications for certain fellowships and grants.
The aim of the upgrade
is for students to demonstrate that they are producing work of PhD standard.
This does not mean that the work they present is examined using the same
criteria as a PhD viva, but that the student has defined a coherent project,
one that is clearly and productively situated with regard to existing research
in relevant areas, and has presented a paper showing the ability to engage with
the topic at the level expected in scholarly publications and forums.
The upgrade procedure is not a formality: it is, in effect, an examination. But like all examinations, it is meant to be productive; and it serves an important purpose in the Postgraduate Seminar, a highly regarded research forum in which students and invited speakers present their work.
Your attention is drawn to the MPhil/PhD regulations available on the College website.
Current Graduate School advice and documents are available via the Graduate School website.
If you are not satisfied with the supervision you are receiving, or if you are failing to establish an effective working relationship with your supervisor, you should discuss this with the Research Tutor—unless that person is your supervisor, in which case you should raise the matter with the Head of Department. Each appeal will be considered by a committee consisting of the head of department, graduate tutor and, where appropriate, supervisor. Should you be dissatisfied with the appeals procedures within the department, mechanisms exist for you to pursue your appeal at Faculty, Graduate School and College level.
Research Student Logbook
The Graduate School provides an online Logbook in which the student and Principal Supervisor are required to document academic progress and Key Skills training. The logbook reflects a dialogue between you and your Principal Supervisor over academic (subject discipline) and generic and transferable skills, and records a basic framework of meetings including the M.Phil. to Ph.D. upgrade. The Log is intended to be used in a flexible manner, to allow for different research processes between different disciplines. The college demands that the supervisor testify that the logbook is up to date before the final examination.
Page last modified on 29 apr 13 14:29