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UCL links Australian alumni – Alma mater matters

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UCL Australia
Torrens Building
220 Victoria Square
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000

Tel: +61 8 8110 9960
Fax: +61 8 8212 3039

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Research at UCL Australia

UCL School of Energy and Resources

Research in the School of Energy and Resources focuses on both the upstream and downstream development of energy and resources, covering a wide range of disciplines - from engineering and economics to environmental science and law. 

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Mullard Space Science Laboratory

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.

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International Energy Policy Institute

The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.

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Research at the IEPI

Professor Stefaan Simons

Professor Stefaan Simons

PhD Candidates enrolled at UCL Australia


The normal duration of PhD candidature is three years of full-time/five years part-time study.

Within the first year of their enrolment, PhD candidates will undertake a structured programme of studies, details of which are provided below.

In general, the regulations regarding study for PhD are contained in the UCL Academic Regulations and Guidelines for Research Degree Students http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/acd_regs/2012_13/RD_Section_1_2012_2013.pdf. However the references to the MPhil degree included in the UCL Academic Regulations for Research Degree Students do not apply to students enrolled at UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia (UCL Australia).  However, in line with UCL policy the first year of the PhD degree for UCL Australia students remains a probationary period of study. 

At the end of their first year of study, candidates will complete a review process with their supervisor(s).  It is therefore important that a log of activities is kept by both candidate and supervisor(s) as an agreed list of completed activities. This log should be maintained using the Research log at https://researchlog.grad.ucl.ac.uk/.  Subject to satisfactory progress in this review, candidates will be permitted to continue their PhD studies.  

Structured Programme of Studies

UCL requires that all PhD students at UCL Australia complete a Structured Programme of Studies within the first 12 months of their candidature.

At the end of the Structured Programme, evidence of successful completion of this programme together with the agreed Research Proposal must be submitted to the UCL Australia Student Services Officer.  This will form the basis of the student’s case for progression in their PhD. 

A review panel will then be formed to assess the student’s achievement of key milestones. The panel will consist of a second supervisor(s) as well as at least one independent member of academic staff, such as the Departmental Graduate Tutor and/or the Academic Director.

Key milestones over the course of PhD Candidature

After 10 months: Detailed work on the thesis project to have been completed, culminating in the presentation of a seminar.

After 12 months: Completion of Structured Programme of Studies (see above).

15 months: Formal transfer viva.  A clear workplan must be provided with evidence of serious engagement in major body of research. The outcome of the viva will determine whether the student is allowed to progress in their PhD. A failure to transfer will result in the student exiting from the programme.18 - 21 months: A substantial project report will be required, demonstrating the ability to conduct research (with initial research results), and a plan for completion of work and writing up of thesis.

24 months: Formal presentation at PhD seminar on progress to date.

32 - 36months

  • Thesis project being refined into a unified piece of work.  Seminars to be given to staff/students. Planning thesis writing and drafting of chapters.
  • Formal mock viva.  Attended by supervisor, second supervisor/co-supervisor; assessor and other relevant staff.  Thesis submission form completed and submitted. (presentations done over video conference if required).
  • Submit thesis.  In the case where there are major revisions that need to be done, there will be an opportunity for the candidate to resubmit their thesis within an agreed period of time (no more than 12 months fee free).

** Examination of the thesis may go beyond the 36 month mark.  Normally examiners are expected to read the thesis within 1-3 months and for the viva examination being held soon after that.

Part-time PhD enrolment times will vary depending on their circumstances, however the basic norms of regular meetings with the supervisor and also meetings with the second supervisor should be established early on in the course of their studies.

Responsibility for ensuring completion of the Structured Programme rests with the candidate and their supervisor(s). Both the candidate and supervisor(s) must complete the Confirmation of Completion of Structured Programme of Studies Form as evidence that the agreed Structured Programme has been undertaken at a satisfactory level. A student must present this form when requesting certification of the Completion of Structured Programme and Research Proposal form by the Department.

Structured Programme Format

The Structured Programme will consist of two components:

  1. The Core Component which is compulsory for all first-year students.
  2. The Directed Studies Component will be undertaken by students as advised by their supervisor(s).

Core Component

This part of the Structured Programme comprises the following components:

  1. Introduction to Postgraduate Research at UCL Australia.
  2. Meeting with the UCL Australia Academic Director.
  3. Introduction to UCL and local procedures for the administration of postgraduate students, including discussion of requirements and expectations of research that is to be undertaken by the student.
  4. Safety induction with the UCL Australia Safety Officer.
  5. Introduction to:
    • General School procedures for borrowing of equipment, access to resources;
    • Local computing facilities;
    • Library Orientation and Literature Research Tutorial(s) with staff from UCL Australia and/or local library services.

  1. Preparation of Research Proposal.
  2. Formal presentation of Research Proposal as part of a UCL Seminar.
  3. Attendance at UCL research seminars and public lectures.

International students are additionally required to undertake the UCL Australia International Student Orientation Programme.

Directed Studies Component

The Directed Studies Component is to be developed by the supervisor(s) of a candidate to address any specific needs identified in the candidate's academic background. It may include the following components.

  1. Language and Learning Service courses.
  2. Completion of courses (modules) from the MSc in Energy and Resources (at a minimum grade of 60% or better).
  3. Instruction in mathematical and computational techniques, statistics, statistical analysis and/or experimental design.
  4. Industry work experience/sabbatical relevant to the research topic.
  5. Short courses on computing and common software packages (eg Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc) relevant to studies.

Approval from the Academic Director is required for the Directed Studies Component of a Structured Programme for the student before it is implemented.

All students should be encouraged to access the UCL Graduate School Skills Development Programme as an online resource tool (http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/)  The student should also aim to undertake the equivalent of 20 points* of skills development and activities each year as part of their continuing skills development throughout their entire PhD candidature.

* 1 point = ½ day of training/activities. (see http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/requirements.pht) These activities could include the development of research and professional skills, through workshops in Thesis Writing and Presentation and Communication Skills.