Department of Greek & Latin


About the PhD

Research Training
Research Log


All students are initially registered for the MPhil and are transferred to the PhD on satisfactory completion of the upgrade exercise, which is explained below.

Defining your topic

The first formal step towards defining your topic is taken on the application form to the Department. This is usually preceded by extensive discussions in person or by mail/phone or email. In normal circumstances research students have taken a relevant MA degree and are already experienced in devising an original and manageable topic, and, with supervisory advice, completing successfully a research dissertation.  They will receive initial informal advice from the Graduate Tutor and the potential supervisor(s) regarding its viability and originality when they first make contact with the department; the discussion of theme, title and focus continues when candidates are interviewed. Side by side with this process we also evaluate the training needs of applicants to ensure that they are aware of the skills they need to acquire and allow us to match training to topic and student. You will subsequently modify, revise and refine the research topic, gradually identifying the contents and direction of each chapter, as well as the overall thrust and argument of the thesis. This refining process begins formally when you join the department. The focus of the thesis (together with quality, method and timescale) is a major item on the agenda at the upgrade interview. Preparation for the upgrade is one of the most important points for students to focus on their direction and scope.

Supervisory Arrangements

In many cases students have a clear idea of the ideal supervisor before they submit their application. The formal process of defining the supervisor process begins with correspondence with the Graduate Tutor and/or a potential supervisor and is usually combined with the process of refining the topic. The Graduate Tutor plays a particularly important role as link person in the process.

Each student is assigned a both First and Second supervisor. The First Supervisor will have specialist knowledge of the general area of research; the Second Supervisor will not necessarily have direct expertise but will be available for consultation, and will read all chapters and give general advice. Some students see their second supervisor regularly, some rarely consult them; but your second supervisor will wish to see you from time to time anyway to ensure that you are progressing well.

Research training

Although almost all students commencing research have appropriate experience in a relevant taught postgraduate programme, there are always additional skills needed to support a major research project, ranging from gaps in knowledge through project management skills through to language skills.

Research student training needs analysis and provision is a continuous and organic process.The first phase is at the point of application. At this point training needs are determined through discussion between the Graduate Tutor, the potential supervisor (and where appropriate the second supervisor) and the applicant. This allows us to identify gaps in the applicant's advance preparation for the specific project and identify the most appropriate way to supplement existing knowledge and skills. One of the most important areas of training is modern language acquisition, which is highly specific to the research project and its related bibliography, as well as to the prior experience of the student.

The second phase is at the commencement of the project. At this point the initial training needs are reviewed and refined if necessary. Collaboration and consultation with the Graduate School allows us to meet both generic and project-specific requirements. Training needs and delivery are kept under review and revised as the research project progresses. This is assisted by the UCL online logbook, which is explained below.

Research Log

All research students entering UCL are required to maintain an online Research Log, a mechanism pioneered by UCL. The Log provides a flexible framework for recording details related to your graduate research programme, scheduled supervisory meetings and activities concerning the development of academic and key skills. Your Log will also help you to assess your progress and to plan and to chart evidence of the development of history-specific and related skills. The logbook is the property of the research student but updating is a collaborative activity involving both student and supervisors. This takes place at regular stipulated intervals. 

Upgrade Procedure

The upgrade to PhD normally occurs in your second year, for full-time students (in the third or fourth year for part-time students). For the upgrade you will be asked to provide written evidence of your research progress consisting of a draft chapter of approximately 10,000 words, a résumé of your proposed dissertation and a bibliography. You will then be invited to discuss your research with a panel of members of staff.