What’s it like to study an integrated PhD?
In your first year, you’ll study a series of taught modules, alongside practical research experience. Taught modules will usually focus a combination of foundational research skills and subject-specific content. You may also receive professional or personal development training.
Depending on your area of study, teaching methods could include lectures, seminars, group work and laboratory sessions. If you’re studying at a CDT, you’ll be trained alongside a relatively large cohort of fellow students during your first year, as opposed to individually or in small research group.
You’ll usually be assessed through coursework during your Masters year. This could include written research reports, presentations and literature reviews.
For some programmes (most commonly those in Arts and Humanities subjects) you’ll write up an extended dissertation of around 10,000 to 15,0000 words in your first year. This is an opportunity to start exploring your PhD thesis topic in detail.
You’ll need to complete all the modules in your Masters year to a satisfactory standard to progress to the status of full PhD candidate. You’ll usually be invited to an interview with your prospective supervisor, in which you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re ready to undertake research at the doctoral level.
Years two, three and four
Once you’ve been confirmed as a full PhD candidate, you’ll progress with your research in basically the same way as you would if you were doing a standard PhD. Your day-to-day life will consist largely of independent research, but you may also assist with undergraduate teaching, present at conferences and collaborate with other students.
You may be required to undertake additional training and professional development by your department. If you’re studying at a CDT, you’ll continue to be offered bespoke training opportunities throughout your programme.
By the end of your PhD, you’ll submit a PhD thesis that will make an original contribution to your field. You’ll also defend your work in a viva voce exam.
Read more about what it’s like to do a PhD.