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bewildered 4 star member
Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 6:52pm
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 at 7:01pm
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page 1 of 54 recent posts

Thread: Considering/have always wanted to complete an MA/PhD in History - advice?

posted
18-Apr-17, 19:28
edited about 3 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
Kerry - the general advice for arts and social sciences students is, unless you really are rolling in it, then you should apply for PhD funding (especially as with a 1st you might well be a good candidate). There are so few academic jobs available that going down that route is likely to mean years of piecing together part-time / temporary work, so it's good to leave your savings for then. There may even be partial scholarships for the MA - definitely worth looking around a bit.
Things you might want to consider with a future funding application in mind:
- consider where possible PhD supervisors might be based when making your MA applications. It is so much easier to put together a competitive PhD funding application to the AHRC (the funder for history) if you are already at an institution with a viable supervisory team. (A percentage of the score is for supervisory 'fit').
- Specialised research training availability might also matter - e.g. will you need particular language skills to make the archival work viable - if so can the institutions you're looking at provide that perhaps during the MA?
- And do check that the institution can sponsor an AHRC history bid - there are some surprising omissions in the South East.
- When you start the MA make an appointment to see the person running the PhD programme - the more information you can get early about applications and funding the better.

Thread: Library membership-journal access for members not working in academia post PhD?

posted
18-Apr-17, 19:13
edited about 20 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
Is there any way you could request an honorary visiting research fellow position at your doctoral institution? Here at least that gets you the computer access codes for our e-journals. It might be worth asking your former supervisor if there's any chance of something like that - especially if there's any way your current job could be 'useful' for any of the department's staff / students.
Otherwise join Researchgate / academia.edu / SSRN or whatever depository is most used in your field. Often even if a paper is behind a paywall, the researcher will be willing to share with independent scholars so cheeky emails are always worth a shot. Searching via google scholar and checking all the versions available sometimes also leads you to a free pdf version perhaps through an institutional depository. My other suggestion is to sign up for new content alerts for the most important journals to you - the emails are a nuisance but if you set them to go to a secondary email address manageable. The reason I suggest that is that for some publishers eg Taylor and Francis, the first 50 downloads are free, so if you get in quick download and save, you just have a storage / filing issue. I think as more countries start encouraging at least green open access, the situation is getting easier.
For books, alongside checking any nearby HE institutions for their associate membership fees, it might be worth checking whether your local public library participates in inter-library loans at a reasonable fee. Some do.

Thread: STEM teaching positions without research

posted
16-Apr-17, 16:17
edited about 28 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
Wow that's really surprising to hear! My RG employer is going in the opposite direction and panicking about anyone teaching without both a PhD and a HE teaching qualification / HEA fellowship. Even our hourly paid staff (i.e. basically our PhD students) have to have completed the first module of the teaching qualification in order to run stage 1 seminars. We've been told this is because the TEF is likely to penalise institutions with noticeable numbers of 'unqualified' staff (apparently something the students and their parents have been complaining about to the government), so they are upping the incentives for older staff to get HEA fellowships (for anyone appointed in the last 15 years passing a teaching qualification was essential to get through probation). The PhD expectation has been around ever since they started badging our 'undergraduate offer' as featuring research-led teaching.
I had assumed the TEF effect was universal, and this is why I questioned your claim about lower ranked universities, because the lower ranked ones in this region are properly advertising jobs these days (they never used to do that - recruitment was very much 'who you knew') and saying PhD plus preferably HE teaching qualification as essential qualities. I've also heard that existing staff are being put under pressure to register for a PhD or lose their jobs.

Thread: STEM teaching positions without research

posted
13-Apr-17, 21:31
edited about 10 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
Quite surprised by Treeoflife's posts - is it really the norm for STEM depts. to employ unqualified people like the OP on a FT basis as lecturer equivs? It would be v v unlikely in my area. What about eg TEF?

Thread: PhD at 38

posted
12-Apr-17, 18:17
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posted about 2 weeks ago
I think there are two things that can be issues for mature students, one of which is easier to fix than the other.

The easier one is understanding that the odds are against any PhD student regardless of age getting a permanent academic job, and that anyone wanting this has to use the time to get their academic cv into the best shape possible. This applies to mature students as well as younger ones. I have seen a number of mature students fall into the trap of believing their greater life / work experience overrides the need for this kind of continual career development, whereas the reality is you need to have the publications (in good outlets), conference presentations, teaching experience, evidence of getting funding available etc regardless of age.

The harder one is that for most fledgling academics, the first few years of an academic career feature financial uncertainty and frequent moves to different cities / countries. Naturally more mature students tend to be more likely to have family responsibilities / mortgages etc that make this more difficult. So I think early on you need to think this one through and accept that if you can only apply for jobs in a small geographical radius that your chances are lower. In that case, a non-academic plan B (which frankly everyone should have anyway) becomes more important to develop.

Thread: Crushed

posted
12-Apr-17, 18:03
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posted about 2 weeks ago
You won't be able to go to another university and get them to award you a PhD for work done at another institution I'm afraid. It is a big no in quality assurance agency terms. So I think you need to burn some bridges and kick your complaint up a level at the university you are registered at.
You have a significant cause for a extension to be granted -poor supervision, which helpfully the head of the doctoral college has agreed is the case. Therefore, I would suggest looking up the formal complaint procedure for your institution and complain now about both your supervision and the head of the doctoral college's refusal to give you an extension. Follow the procedures meticulously. There is nothing high ranking administrators are more scared of than a student with a case, who is following procedures. Use evidence from whatever annual progress reviews you have had / upgrade reports etc to show how you were not discouraged from following this line on enquiry. If this is an RCUK-funded DTC, then threaten to complain to the research council too. Be unemotional and legalistic in the way you complain and evidence your claims. I suspect that pretty quickly they will find a mechanism to grant you that extension after all.
I know this means burning bridges with your supervisory team but you have probably done that already by complaining to the head of the doctoral college. And given the remedy you seek is fairly easy to supply, then I think the university would rather give you an extension now, than deal with you renewing the formal complaint after a failed viva.

Thread: How to work out marking for masters degree

posted
04-Apr-17, 17:06
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posted about 3 weeks ago
PS Sorry i forgot to add the rules vary quite a bit from place to place so no-one other than your uni documents can say for sure.

Thread: How to work out marking for masters degree

posted
04-Apr-17, 17:05
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posted about 3 weeks ago
Check your programme handbook, but if not there: on your uni website search for university regulations. The one you want will be called exam conventions or similar.

Thread: Conflicted: MA International Relations at Durham University, Essex, or QMUL (Paris)?

posted
27-Mar-17, 13:59
edited about 18 seconds later
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posted about 1 month ago
Essex has the strongest Politics department in terms of the research rankings, and of all the UK's Politics departments, it's probably the closest to US style political science with a lot of expertise in quantitative research. If you are even considering a US PhD programme afterwards, that's the choice that will have name recognition in US academia. Aberystwyth is the other well-known name in US academia for IR (historically one of the first places to teach IR) but generally for the opposite reason - it is known for post-positivist work and as you'll know that's less popular in the US, but makes Aber attractive for those students looking for something different.
As you've got Exeter and Durham on your list, I'm guessing you are interested in Middle East politics. If that is the case, I think employers in the US are going to be interested in language abilities and experience in those countries ahead of university name, as I've seen enough articles bemoaning the lack of people with those skill-sets. Outside academia, I don't think any of your choices are going to be well-known in the US. Durham is the most prestigious university in the UK on your list but that doesn't necessarily translate to US name recognition. Out of your choices, I think I'd go for Essex if a PhD is a possibility and probably Durham if it's Middle East politics driving your interest. QMUL offers internship possibilities but Paris is very expensive for housing, and the module options are limited (although perfectly fine - the only one of your 6 I'd avoid is Kent).

Thread: Going forward???

posted
08-Mar-17, 16:24
edited about 28 seconds later
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posted about 1 month ago
Tricky. Given that we look to be headed into extremely uncertain economic conditions for the next decade or so, which do you think is most likely to keep you in adequately paying employment? Brexit is looking like very bad news for research careers in the UK, so maybe the quality career, while not exciting, might be the better bet for paying the bills.
Something else to consider: could you earn enough on the quality side with the professional qualifications while working standard hours to fund a lifestyle / hobbies that you'd want to pursue? Work to live rather than live to work attitude?
I don't know - I'd love to say follow your heart but if you've got dependants or have financial responsibilities then in your 40s it's a massive risk to take.

Thread: Starting PhD when I might be going to prison during?

posted
28-Feb-17, 18:41
edited about 10 seconds later
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posted about 2 months ago
if the research involves vulnerable human subjects you will need a CRB check to be allowed access - will that be an issue?

Thread: Post-Phd... No post! Advice appreciated

posted
31-Jan-17, 12:02
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posted about 3 months ago
Maybe it's my field, but it's become very unusual to go straight from PhD to a secure academic post - most now do a postdoc / teaching fellowship as they are not immediately competitive for lectureships. So I suppose question 1 is are you applying to that sort of job as well?
Second thought - can you do some detective work and see who was hired for some of the jobs you applied for - how does your cv stack up? If you only have one publication, my guess would be that's your weakness but it's hard to tell. I'd also get an academic who has been on the job market in the last few years to take a look at your application materials and see if you're making any easy to fix errors.
Third thought - yes I did set a deadline as I didn't want to waste my life on an industry (HE) that didn't want me. I got lucky, but I found looking through all the alt-ac resources on the internet really helped me to think through plans B, C and D. It's rather US-centric but I found the resources on Versatile PhD useful.

Thread: Need general advice on returning to studies

posted
17-Jan-17, 17:00
edited about 9 seconds later
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posted about 3 months ago
Hi, I think there's massive differences between the arts/social sciences and sciences in how funding is applied for and awarded. There is a lot less funding around for a start. In Politics the main funder is the ESRC, which funds you either as 1+3 or +3 (so MA + PhD or just PhD). You apply to a university in one of their doctoral training centres (a consortia of universities but only some institutions are in DTCs so check the ESRC list) with a fairly advanced research proposal usually separately to your application to do a PhD there (adverts tend to go out before Christmas). To be competitive you need to have worked on this with your proposed supervisors for quite a while, so it's not very feasible for the OP at this stage. To have a good chance of funding generally you need evidence of a u/g 1st or an MA / MSc distinction and a very strong proposal, so for the OP, the best strategy would be to begin the MA and try to impress so that people are willing to work with him/her on a PhD funding application. You might though get a partial scholarship to go towards funding the MA - there are pockets of money around eg fee reductions for graduates of that university etc. A 2:1 is all they need for a place on the Masters though so that wouldn't be an issue.

Thread: Need general advice on returning to studies

posted
17-Jan-17, 16:47
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posted about 3 months ago
Honestly yes particularly for funding in Politics where a 1st is usually required in practice. You'd be better applying after completing the Masters if you got a distinction.

Thread: Supervisors who are being unfair

posted
16-Jan-17, 15:42
edited about 8 seconds later
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posted about 3 months ago
I think it's very easy for part-time students to underestimate how much time needs to be dedicated to the PhD to have a chance of completing in time, and I wonder if this is what is happening here. The supervisors know that you need to reach milestones by certain points and you're off target. I know you think they are unfair to complain about your progress but if they know you are heading towards failing an annual review / upgrade process, then they do have to warn you.
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