Congratulations! You have been succssful in your application to the ISDP. You have received and accepted an offer and are now preparing your PhD. There are numerous practical, procedural, theoretical and other questions and issues you now have to think about. This page will give you some advice on some of the things you should be doing when you start your PhD.
The ISDP is part of the DMU research degree system and all DMU regulations and procedures apply to the ISDP. One of the first things you should do, if you have not yet done so, is to read the DMU research degree code of practice. As most other relevant documents, this is available from the DMU Graduate School Office website.
You should always consult this page when you submit any paperwork, such as your registration, transfer, extension requests etc. These forms tend to change and the GSO has the latest version available.
Settling in the ISDP
The first thing you should do when coming to the ISDP is find your supervisors and arrange an initial meeting with them. They can explain
The ISDP runs a 2 hour seminar for all research students, at least every other week in termtime. The seminar is conducted by the ISDP coordinator the director of the CCSR, Prof. B. Stahl and other staff. Attendance is mandatory for all full time UK research students. Students are asked to send apologies if they cannot attend.
The purpose of the seminar is to help students develop links, understand the work of others, overcome feelings of isolation and allow the development of a shared research culture. The seminar allows all students to present their work at appropriate stages of the research. It also covers other issues of shared interest, such as relevant theories, questions of methodology and similar issues.
It is important that you are subscribed to the ISDP mailing list. This list is used to communicate with students about all matters relevant to the ISDP. You can sign up to the list here.
Locker for the hot desking suite
All ISDP students have access to work spaces in the hot desking suite. Every student can request a key to one of the lockers in the suite from the CCSR director
Out of hours access
Research students can access the University building, including their office space in the Gateway House 24/7. In order to be allowed out of hours access, students have to fill in a form and get it signed by their first supervisor. The supervisor can also provide the form itself.
When starting, each student should contact the ISDP webmaster (GH 5.80) to ensure that a personal profile page for them is created on the ISDP site and to provide ensure that it contains the proper information.
Records of discussion
An online system is provided on MyDMU for you to record the meetings you have with your supervisor. You should fill in a record after each meeting. If you are a student from outside the European Union, filling in those records is also the vital part of proving that you are actually here and studying: if you don’t fill them in, they might throw you out of the country! Even if you aren’t in danger of being thrown out of the country (perhaps because you are a home student), you are required to fill them in, though.
The role of your supervisors
You will need to negotiate your relationship with your supervisor. It is also more than likely to change over time. Here are some general observations with regards to this important issue.
All DMU students have at least two supervisors, sometimes three. The first supervisor should be your first port of call for any queries. We typically meet with all supervisors about once a month for full time students. As a general rule, you should prepare a text and send this to your supervisors no less than three working days prior to the meeting. The idea is that the supervisors will give you feedback to allow you to develop your ideas.
It is important to realise that ownership of the research project lies with the research student. Your supervisors do not tell you what to do or how to do it. They provide guidance and give input to shape your thinking. Responsibility for accepting or rejecting this guidance lies with the student.
Your first supervisor is also your personal tutor: the member of staff in the University who you should go first to if you have personal, emotional, family, health, money or other welfare issues. Do not worry about going to the same person who comments on your academic work: indeed if they know the personal issues going on, they might be more sympathetic about you not having done as much work as they were hoping.