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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental SciencePostgraduate study

Supervision, support & progress

Geography and Environmental Science offers the support students need in order to achieve research work of the highest calibre.

Helping you to settle in

Whatever your motivation for undertaking a PhD, it’ll be a journey which will stimulate your passion for your subject and push the boundaries of your own and current knowledge. The work will be challenging, but we’re on hand from the outset to support you in succeeding. From Day One, you’ll benefit from a strong support network to guide you through your research degree.

At the start of your PhD, you will be welcomed and guided through the first year as part of your induction. Our post-graduates also host an annual Bake a Cake competition which you can take part in if you wish.

Supervisors

As a postgraduate we will expect you to take a high level of responsibility for your own progress. However, you will be working within a well-considered, accountable supervisory structure. This should help you to identify and manage any issues - academic or otherwise - that may arise during your research work.

You will almost certainly have already met your supervisor as part of the recruitment process. As an expert in your chosen area of research, he or she will provide the primary source of guidance on academic content and methods.

Within one month of starting your degree, you’ll be required to complete a training plan to help identify your training and development needs with your supervisor. This is a great opportunity to create a personalised plan, aligned to your research.

Supervisors are required to maintain regular contact with the research student in accordance with arrangements established at the outset and in-line with Faculty policy. The frequency of meetings will depend upon the stage and nature of the research and the particular needs of the research student, but it is expected good practice that, for full-time research students, these meetings should take place at least once a month, and more frequently at the start of the candidature (for part-time research student, these timings should be adjusted accordingly)

A supervisory panel typically includes at least two members of academic staff, who is likely to be an expert in a related area. This provides you with an opportunity for you to discuss your work with experts, and for them to give feedback on and assess your work, and play a role in monitoring your progress, most notably the confirmation report (confirming your candidature for a PhD). Supervisors will also guide you in publishing your research. You should plan to meet your advisor regularly and develop a comfortable working relationship with them.

Your postgraduate community

When you join the School of Geography, you’ll join a friendly, supportive and diverse community of postgraduate researchers who come from all around the world. You’ll be directly associated with one of our world-leading research groups, working alongside like-minded researchers and academics. This fairly small-scale community with whom you’ll interact on a day-to-day basis will quickly become your ‘home base’.

Help and advice for international postgraduate researchers

Our International Office offers specialist international advice and assistance. You can get help with preparing for university life, immigration and other UK regulations, opening a bank account and any further support to help you adapt to life in Leeds. You can ask questions or discuss any worries you may have, or find out about the opportunities on campus.

Your wellbeing: On-campus support

We recognise that there may be times during your PhD when you might need some additional support. You can benefit from a network of specialist services centred on you and your wellbeing including:

Key reporting stages

Through your postgraduate study, there are a number of formal stages of reporting. You will be enrolled onto a PhD programme when you start.

Three months after registration, you will be required to submit an academic needs analysis. This is an opportunity to discuss your skills with your supervisor and identify where you may require additional training to undertake your PhD project. The academic needs analysis should be reviewed continually and formally considered at each progression review. 

Between seven and nine months after registration, you will be required to submit your first progression review report. You will also have a face-to-face examination with your supervisor and another member of academic staff (to be completed by month 10). This is designed to demonstrate that you have established a strong base for your postgraduate research.

Between 17 and 20 months, you should produce a second progress (confirmation) report. This makes the case to the examiners that you have made sufficient progress with the project and you are likely to produce a thesis to PhD standard in the remaining period. Once you pass this milestone your PhD registration will be ‘confirmed’ and you will be permitted to continue your registration and submit your final PhD thesis. If you do not achieve confirmation status, you may be eligible to re-enrol for an MPhil award.

More information on key reporting stages can be found on the Faculty Graduate School Website.

Final assessment for PhD award

Your final assessment is through a combination of your thesis and a viva voce.

Photo of Stephen Evans
The University has an excellent reputation amongst fellow graduates and employers and my university qualifications, and in particular my MA qualification, were absolutely essential to me securing a full-time job once I finished my studies.
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