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Course Details

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The full-time PhD course is structured as a three year programme with an expectation that PhD students will submit a full draft of their thesis at the end of the third year or soon after.  Students should submit their thesis for examination by viva during their 4th year if not before.

Most of our PhD students spend their second year away from Cambridge, conducting their fieldwork for which some limited financial assistance is available.

In the first year of the PhD programme there is a focus on training in research methods and transferable skills. Students will take a Research Methods course and it is compulsory for all first year PhD students to attend. Students are also encouraged to attend seminars and other events that are organised by the Centre of Development Studies and departments throughout the University, such as the Social Sciences Research Methods Centre. 

(http://www.ssrmc.group.cam.ac.uk/Modules/Core-modules-list).

PhD students are invited to give a presentation on their own research at seminars run by the Centre. This is a great opportunity to develop presentation skills and receive valuable feedback from both senior academics and peers relating to their thesis. Presentation of a paper at one of these seminars is a requirement of the PhD programme. 

The essence of the Cambridge experience, however, is that the PhD candidate works closely with the PhD supervisor. He or she will help the candidate develop the thesis project through discussion and the review of draft materials presented by the candidate. 

The process of working on the thesis will differ from candidate to candidate, depending on their project, their preferences and the style of supervision adopted. However, in general, it is expected that the first year will be devoted not only to completing the Research Methods modules, but also to the development of a detailed and well thought-through thesis outline and methodology. In particular, at the outset, the student should devote some time to considering how they will be making an original contribution to the field through their work.

By the end of the programme, candidates will have acquired excellent skills, experience and knowledge to undertake postdoctoral work (research, teaching or both) or another profession related to the field of development studies.