Frequently asked questions
What arrangements will be put in place for supervising the graduate’s work?
You will have a named supervisor or supervisors, normally as indicated in your offer letter, who will have overall responsibility for the direction of your work on behalf of your department. In your first term you should meet with your supervisor(s) not later than the second week of full term and then typically, you should expect to have individual meetings with your supervisor for one hour at least two to three times each term, but the frequency may vary according to the time of year and according to the stage of your research programme.
What induction arrangements will be made?
You will have departmental induction before the beginning of your first term, when you will receive an induction pack of essential information and guidance. The main induction to the department is provided in the week preceding the start of Michaelmas Term. Your supervisor(s) will arrange more specialised induction subsequently, and you should make a particular effort to meet with your supervisor during induction week to discuss your studies.
In addition, all doctoral students are invited to attend a Divisional induction event through the Doctoral Training Centre, which you are strongly encouraged to attend.
What workspace will be provided?
ODID aims to provide those of its graduate research students working in Oxford who want one, in their first three years of study (excluding fieldwork periods) a workspace in the department. Student representatives are involved in the allocation and management of workspace.
What IT support and library facilities will be available?
ODID has its own IT provision and an IT support officer. You will have access to the Social Sciences Library (in addition to other university libraries, and the centrally provided electronic resources).
Which research seminars will be available?
You will have access to the seminars that ODID organises, and to those which individual research groups or groups with common areas of interest in ODID organise for their own members and others within the department, as well as to seminars organised by other departments in areas relevant to your research. ODID has its own lively and well-attended weekly research student work-in-progress seminar. Doctoral students also have access to the Doctoral Training Centre in the Social Sciences through which they are able to take part in a range of training sessions available across departments. Your problem in Oxford will not be finding enough interesting seminars, but finding the time to attend enough of them!
What access to research funds will be available?
Though other sources of finance are available in Oxford, including from your college, ODID aims to provide one scholarship each year to a doctoral student from a developing country. This covers fees plus an amount towards living expenses for each of the three years during which doctoral students are required to pay full fees.
Students should be prepared to cover costs of fieldwork and other travel, for example conference attendance. They may apply for departmental travel grants of £500 each, and smaller grants for attendance at conferences and for other research purposes, including language training. There is also some hardship funding available for students who find themselves in circumstances unforeseen at the start of their course. For research students who have successfully confirmed status (near the end of their course) and have exhausted other funding, the department provides each year, on the basis of need, a few bursaries of at least £1,000. Further information on funding available in the Department can be found in the Course Handbook.
What formal graduate skills training will be provided?
You will have the opportunity to attend a variety of skills training sessions offered by the Department as appropriate to different stages of your graduate career, as well as training geared to your specific research needs which will be identified through a system of Skills Review and Training Needs Analysis agreed in consultation with your supervisor. ODID research students may attend the MPhil or MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies research methods course and other courses which are part of the Master's degrees in the Department. Additional workshops are organised for research students, the objective of which is to discuss a variety of research methods, especially inter-disciplinary ones, with an emphasis on the practicalities of designing research and of fieldwork, including ethics, politics and safety issues. Both experienced and more junior academics are invited to present their own approaches, their choice of methods and their personal ‘coping strategies’ for fieldwork. The workshops are conceived as flexible, with a strong emphasis on responding to the research methods needs of doctoral students. In order to emphasise such flexibility, the programme of workshops is designed in the light of specific suggestions from students, and the sessions usually take place in Hilary or Trinity terms.
Under the auspices of the Social Sciences Doctoral Training Centre there are also opportunities to access advance and specialist research training provided elsewhere in the Division and University. Further information on these opportunities is available on the Research Methods hub pages of the DTC website and you can enrol via the Student Enrolment System.
Information about training and other courses offered across the University is available through the University's Graduate Training Weblearn site. This site provides information about transferable skills development for research students and research staff at Oxford University
What opportunities will be available for developing and practising teaching skills (for second and third year graduates)?
The University has established a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), which will support the development of research students who wish to follow an academic career, including training in teaching skills. Doctoral students wishing to teach in the University must take an initial course organised by the Department's Graduate Teaching Co-ordinator. This course is held in ODID. Since ODID has no undergraduate students, the opportunities for research students to teach in the Department are as teaching assistants for the various Master's courses. The Graduate Teaching Coordinator, normally a doctoral student, works on a part-time basis to map, collate and publicise teaching opportunities throughout the university, to match these with research students who would like to teach, and to promote the development of teaching skills in a range of ways.
What arrangements for accommodation, meals and social facilities will be made, on a year round basis?
Lunch is available in the department during term. Departmental seminars bring research students together with academic and other research staff in the department to hear about on-going research, and provide an opportunity for networking and socialising. The weekly work-in-progress seminar for research students described above is an especially good opportunity for them to get together – with a free lunch afterwards.
Many colleges will be able to provide you with at least one year’s accommodation. Generally speaking your college will provide meals throughout the year, but provision will vary from college to college, especially during vacations, and you will need to familiarise yourself with your college’s detailed arrangements. In addition there are usually self-catering facilities available in graduate accommodation. You will be a member of the Middle Common Room, or equivalent, of your college, which is the main social centre for graduates. The MCR provides a common room and usually organises a programme of social events throughout the year. The college will also provide a bar, some computing facilities and a library, and may often have dedicated funds for research (conference and field grants). It also represents the interests of its members to the college through an elected Committee or through elected representatives to College Committees. Again, details will vary from college to college. Graduates are also welcome to participate in all other social and sporting activities of the college. Please see individual college websites for further details about all aspects of college provision.
Graduate Research Students may become members of the University Club in Mansfield Road, and participate in the range of sporting and cultural activities provided by the University.
What arrangements are in place for pastoral and welfare support?
Within the department, your supervisor, the Director of Doctoral Research and the Director of Graduate Studies can offer support, or advise you on where to get appropriate support. So can your fellow students, amongst whom there is a strong sense of community in ODID. The Graduate Students Administrator will also provide advice and support to students.
There is an extensive framework of support for graduates within each college. Your college will allocate to you a College Advisor from among its Senior Members, usually in a cognate subject, who will arrange to see you from time to time and whom you may contact for additional advice and support on academic and other matters. In college you may also approach the Tutor for Graduates and/or the Senior Tutor for advice. The Tutor for Graduates is a fellow of the college with particular responsibility for the interests and welfare of graduate students. In some colleges, the Senior Tutor will also have the role of Tutor for Graduates. Each college will also have other named individuals who can offer individual advice. The University also has a professionally staffed confidential Student Counselling Service which offers assistance with personal, emotional, social and academic problems.
The University provides a Student Counselling Service, a Disability Advice Service and Careers Service.
What arrangements are in place for gaining the views of research students?
Individual student feedback is sought regularly through an annual appraisal form, which asks for views on the programme and the department as well as for a self-assessment of your own progress during the year. During induction at the beginning of the academic year, the new students elect one or two representatives who join the representatives for the second and third year students, through whom comments can be channelled at any time.There is a Joint Consultative Committee for research students which meets regularly and is open to all research students to discuss issues raised by them or their representatives.
At Divisional level, there is a PGR Discussion Forum made up of student representatives from each department/faculty of the Division. Issues raised by this body are reported to the Division's Graduate Studies Committee.
The views of research students are also sought by means of a centrally administered questionnaire, the Student Barometer.