Why doctoral study?


So you want to study for a PhD? Creating new knowledge and scholarly insight can be deeply rewarding. But doctoral research is a long and sometimes tough 3-4 year journey. You need to be clear about your motivations, where you want to go next and how the PhD training will prepare you for that future.

Many PhD programmes courses can now be studied on a part-time basis, and all our partner universities are committed to widening access to postgraduate study. You may find it helpful to read the slides from an information session offered by the DTP Director, providing advice on the process of developing a strong application to do research in the social sciences at one of our partners.

Where can I learn more about doctoral study?

There is lots of advice and guidance online about the rewards (and challenges) of doctoral study. These include blogs like thesiswhisperer.compubs and publicationspatthompson, and various others. 

There are also a fair few books about designing a research question and carrying out research, including Planning your PhD by Kate Williams, How to write a thesis by Rowena Murray, or How to research and write a successful PhD by Kathleen McMillan and Jonathan Weyers. Many universities also have useful guidance pages. But the best advice you can get is from current students and supervisors working in your area. They will be able to point you to resources and give you feedback on your ideas.

Is a PhD for you?

The Grand Union DTP hosted a webinar in December 2021 for anyone interested in pursuing a PhD in the Social Sciences, which included the opportunity for Q&A with the DTP Director. Please see below to watch the webinar recording or to access the presentation for download below, including answers to the most commonly asked questions: 


Webinar Recording



Additional resources, including further advice from students themselves on deciding to pursue a PhD and working through the application process, can be located on The Open University's website at the following: