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Objectives for PhD research

General objectives

In undertaking doctoral research in History students will:

  • Demonstrate their competence to carry out independent and original academic research in history.
  • Complete within a three-year fixed period of time a body of research that contributes significantly to historical knowledge (or within 6 years if part-time).
  • Present the results of their research to a standard equivalent to that of a peer-reviewed academic publication.
  • Demonstrate that they have acquired skills in oral presentation and sufficient confidence in their knowledge, ideas and abilities to be able to present and defend their academic work in front of their peers.
  • Achieve the DDP objectives of:
    a) generic skills to become a high-level professional
    b) subject-specific advanced training;
    c) subject-specific craft skills
    d) broad scholarship and wider engagement within the full community of scholars (e.g. networking, dissemination of knowledge, conferences, demonstrating impact and public value of research).

The Department also has the following year-specific objectives. These are designed to help research students to plan their time most effectively and so improve completion rates for the submission of PhD theses. All research students should work to these objectives.

Year specific objectives

Note: part-time students will achieve each year's objectives over two calendar years.

By the end of the first year of research a student will have:

  • Established a regular routine of meetings with their supervisor and clear arrangements for contacting other members of their supervisory team.
  • Completed a comprehensive bibliographical survey of literature relevant to their research topic, including a survey of doctoral theses currently in progress.
  • Formulated a research project and a fully-timetabled strategy for its implementation.
  • Written up a Doctoral Development Plan, identifying training needs as appropriate, and completed some initial training. Partial completion of DDP is necessary before a student can go through confirmation of PhD status.
  • Completed in first draft at least one chapter intended for the final thesis.
  • Undertaken the departmental and university requirements for confirmation review.

By the end of the second year of research a student will have:

  • Completed sufficient archival research (or research in printed primary sources) to provide an adequate body of material for discussion and analysis in the final thesis.
  • Continued research training associated with the University‚Äôs DDP.
  • Completed in first draft some further text intended for the final thesis, ideally a further two chapters.
  • Unless working away from Sheffield, had the opportunity to acquire experience in tutoring small groups of undergraduates in order to enhance their prospects of pursuing an academic career.
  • Had the opportunity to speak at a research seminar, conference or other postgraduate seminar within or outside Sheffield.

By the end of the third year of research a student will have:

  • Completed the writing of their thesis having had intensive supervisions to discuss each chapter.
  • Completed the training identified for the DDP.
  • Completed, or be very close to completing, the final draft of their PhD thesis for submission.
  • Had the opportunity to discuss publication of the thesis or papers arising from it with their supervisors.
  • Discussed their next career move (e.g. application for post-doctoral fellowships or temporary lectureships or employment outside the field of History) with their supervisor.