Before starting a PhD

Academic issues

A key consideration is your motivation. A PhD is a research degree. Are you prepared to spend a number of years doing research on a relatively limited topic? Of course we will do a lot to help you make your period as a PhD student productive and enjoyable, but without strong motivation it is very difficult to succeed.

The next point to keep in mind is the qualifications you need. Normally, a good merit in an MA or equivalent degree in the fields of translation or linguistics is necessary. If you have professional experience, we can sometimes waive this requirement.

If you feel motivated and qualified to do a PhD in translation, the next step is to select a topic area and contact the coordinator for this topic area. In one or more discussions, you will delimit the topic of your PhD and determine thesupervisor. The coordinator and the supervisor may be the same person. In discussion with your supervisor, you will specify your research question and set up a detailed workplan.

Practical issues

A PhD can be studied full-time or part-time. A full-time degree takes three years. A further year ('writing up') is also allowed. It is difficult to combine a full-time PhD with a (part-time) job, because doing research requires not just time but also energy. As a full-time research student you will be expected to spend the best of your time on the PhD.

part-time PhD takes six years (with an optional additional year for 'writing up') . It can be combined with a job, but it is not recommended to combine it with a full-time job. A flexible job, e.g. as a free-lance translator, may be optimal, but a part-time job of a different type is equally suitable.

Fees are different for students from the UK or other countries in the EU (Home/EU students) and for students from outside the EU (Overseas/International students).

Swansea University offers a number of scholarships and bursaries for EU students and for international students. The AHRC offers studentships (tuition fees and a generous maintenance grant) to students who have lived in the UK for most of their life or are EU nationals and have been in full-time education in the UK for the three years prior to the start of the PhD. Other students can apply for a fees-only award if they have been resident in the EU for at least three years. When you have been accepted on the PhD programme, academic staff will assist you in filling in the relevant forms.

As far as possible, PhD students will also be given small amounts of paid teaching and demonstrating jobs (max. six hours per week).

Application procedure

The Swansea University postgraduate application page gives detailed information about how to apply online or obtain application forms. You should in general consult with your prospective supervisor before you fill in these forms.

Organization of work, once the PhD has started

When you are admitted to the PhD programme, you will enter the probation period. This covers the first year for full-time students or the first two years for part-time students. During this period your progress will be closely monitored in order to determine whether you are likely to complete the PhD in the required time. This procedure is meant to avoid a situation in which staff and students spend time on a PhD project that is unlikely to succeed.

During the probation period, you have to attend certain courses that enhance your qualifications in various areas (e.g. academic writing, using certain software packages) in addition to the work on your thesis. The selection of these courses depends on your previous skills and in part also on the nature of your research. Another compulsory component of this period is the critical discussion of an article and of a book in your area of research.

As a PhD student you will have a (main) supervisor and a co-supervisor. Depending on available staff expertise and on your preferences, they may have overlapping or complementary expertise. Throughout the work your degree you will have regular meetings with them to report your progress, get detailed feedback on parts of your thesis, and discuss the problems you encounter as well as general planning. At regular intervals, a concise progress report is required by the School of Arts Research Committee. Students are also encouraged to present their work at conferences and in the Research-in-Progress sessions of the TRAM speaker programme. A reasonable travel budget (currently £500 per year per PhD student) is available for attending conferences.