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7:12pm on Wednesday, 17th December, 2014:

Nineteen out of Twenty


I spent today on a university training course about supervising PhD students to completion. I figured that as I now have a PhD student (hi, Joseph!) I ought to find out what I'm supposed to be doing.

Interesting fact: in the UK, 95% of PhD candidates who get to the stage where they give their viva voce thesis defence will actually go on to complete. In other words, only 1 student in 20 who has a viva will not get a PhD as a result.

Of course, we lose anything between a third and three quarters of our students before they get to the viva stage (depending on the subject), so it's not exactly a shoo-in. Still, if you do get a viva then the PhD is yours to lose.

My own PhD was accepted with "major revisions". The major revisions took me a mere 30 minutes to implement, because they consisted of deleting an entire chapter then running the remainder through the word-processing software again to get the contents page and the page numbers. Today, it would have taken me 30 seconds. This is rather less than the 4 months I'd have to do them in under current regulations...

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).