I have recently been offered good funding for a PhD in Victorian social history. I am really very excited, but also very apprehensive! I really don't know what to expect from the first year, as I feel that my proposal still needs a lot of refining. I am aware I won't be-able to tutor undergrads until my second year, so I don't know what the normal activities are for the first year, aside from reading and researching.
Are there normally seminars on carrying out a PhD? Or are you pretty much on your own?
ady [Registered User] 01 May 2012 15:21
Hi Dr Victoriana
Congrats on being offered a place.
It very much depends on what uni you'll be studying at, your individual department and your funding organisation if you are a funded student. In the U.S. structured PhDs are common, in the UK less so. I'm in neither but was part of a structured programme whereby I had to complete a certain amount of credits in my three years. Some of those credits were 'skills' classes. That said nobody really tells you how to do it. It's a mix of you and your supervisor, the department and the wider university all working it out between you. During a person's first year it's normal to do a lot of reading, particularly so in history I woud have thought. Talk to other PhDs in your department and you probably will find that they worked it out as they went along!
First year is all about finding your feet, refining your proposal as you say (and that is totally normal), reading, reading and then a bit more reading!