Signup date: 22 Jun 2006 at 5:48pm
Last login: 13 Jun 2008 at 2:13pm
Post count: 120
I did a part-time arts PhD which took 7 years. It cost £900 a year. I don't live in the city where the university is based and so had to commute for four hours (there and back) for supervision a few times a year. Because of this I wasn't able to use the university's library, computer suite or anything else available. So I'm wondering what the £900 fee was for. Surely not just for the services of my supervisor, which were minimal. Even if I had used the library and computers would this really justify the £900 fee?
Can anyone tell me how one goes about getting an article included in a book of articles? Do you have to be invited by the book's editor to write one? And if so how do you get to be invited? Also how do you get to write entries for encyclopaedias? Do you have to be invited for this as well? I often see these sorts of writing credits listed in examples of academic CVs.
404, I think that it is always safer to err on the side of caution at a viva and being fawning can do no harm whereas being too defensive can. Once the issue of pride is out of the way I see no reason why a candidate should not be as accommodating as possible. Having said that though, Ann is right by saying that you have to get the balance right.
Flatter your examiners by complimenting them on any criticisms they find with your thesis. For example if they say something such as, “Don’t you think you could have mentioned such and such a thing more?” Reply with, “That’s a good point I wish I had been as observant as that” (or something like that).
It is important that you leave your ego outside the exam room. The examiners must always be made to feel that any suggestions they make are the result of their being extremely perceptive and intelligent. Never show the examiners that you think you are more intelligent than they are.
There is nothing to worry about at all. I was terrified when I did mine as I could see all sorts of things that the examiners could pick up on about my thesis to grill me on. They did nothing of the sort and it was more of a chat really. I know this is no help to you, though.
My advice is to go through your thesis critically and make a list of all the faults and weaknesses that someone hostile to your argument may pick up on. Then think of ways to defend each weakness. It is unlikely the examiners will pick up on more than one or two (if even that) of these weaknesses.
One thing I did do at my viva, that I think you should do also, is to concede to any reasonable criticisms the examiners may find with your thesis. Don't argue over these points. Try not to be too defensive in your attitude, also. It may be seen as arrogance.
Given that it is publications that get you a job what is the purpose of a PhD vocationally? And why do institutions require you to have one if publications are what really matter? Yes, a PhD is good for one's intellectual self-development but, in light of this discussion, not for getting a foothold in academia it seems.
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