Doctoral College

More than a floppy hat…

During University Graduation ceremonies it’s easy to make a visual distinction between a graduating Postgraduate Researcher (PGR), a Postgraduate Taught student (aka Masters Student) and an Undergraduate just by looking at their attire…but floppy hat aside, there are a LOT of differences between PGRs and taught students than many don’t know about (unless you’re a PGR yourself or know someone very well who is). So in order to cast a little light on who these mysterious PGRs are and what they do i’ve created a list of a few key facts:

  1. PGRs are inducted at 4 starting points each academic year (October, January, April and July)
  2. The vast majority of PGRs do not live in University accommodation
  3. Many PGRs are based in offices (on their own or with other researchers)
  4. Some PGRs are based off campus
  5. PGRs do not have semesters nor term-times
  6. PGRs do not have modules, lectures and exams
  7. PGRs are responsible for their own pattern of work
  8. PGRs spend 3–4 years (full-time) or approx. 5-years (part-time) researching their chosen research question
  9. Some PGRs study part-time and have employment external to the university
  10. Some PGRs have returned to academia from a professional career
  11. PGRs tend to be in an older age bracket than undergraduates and postgraduate taught students and therefore have varying familial and financial circumstances
  12. Some PGRs are self-funded and others are funded (or part-funded) by the University/funding body/government of country
  13. PGRs have supervisory teams
  14. PGRs must write a thesis that is no longer than 80,000 words in length, makes an original contribution to knowledge, demonstrates appropriate research methods and training and be worthy of publication in whole or in part
  15. PGRs must defend their research in a viva voce
  16. A doctorate (which is what a PGR is awarded once they have completed and successfully defended their PhD/EngD) is the highest obtainable qualification in higher education
  17. Those who receive a doctorate can call themselves Doctor!

NB: Although it may look it, this isn’t an exhaustive list!

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