Students reading for the PhD are seeking to advance the state of knowledge in their particular domain by gathering substantial data, evaluating theory and generating original arguments regarding a significant public management/policy, development or governance issue. A doctoral thesis is a substantial project. The doctorate typically provides training for an academic career. It requires a candidate to develop a sophisticated conceptual framework, undertake independent research at the most advanced academic levels, read and interpret published debates in the field (and other related fields) and produce a thesis that makes a contribution to knowledge in a particular field.
In the preparation stage for the short proposal the school offers assistance in the form of a course (currently called Social Theory) which is presented as part of the PhD first year. The key challenge here is for PhD candidates to demonstrate their potential writing without a supervisor. Once they have successfully defended their short proposal, students formally register as a PhD candidate and begin work with a supervisor on their long proposal. We are currently considering how to best provide ongoing support during the PhD programme building on successful components we have offered before and introducing some new elements – possibly a seminar series and a student conference.