MPhil/PhD in Regional and Urban Planning Studies

In addition to progressing with their research, students are expected to take the listed training and transferable skills courses.  Students may take courses in addition to those listed, and should discuss this with their supervisor.

Year One
Training courses
Compulsory (not examined)

GY450 Planning Practice and Research or GY502 Staff/Research Students Seminar

Compulsory (examined)
1. Courses to the value of one unit from the list of options on the relevant MSc degrees
2. Relevant advanced research method courses to the value of one unit from the following:
MY500 Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design (H)
MY521 Qualitative Research Methods (H)
MY526 Doing Ethnography (H)
MY527 Non-Traditional Data: New Dimensions in Qualitative Research (H)
MY529 Special Topics in Qualitative Research: Introspection-based Methods in Social Research (H)
(n/a 14/15)

Transferable skills courses
Compulsory (not examined)

GY500 Geographical Project Seminar
MY593A Authoring a PhD and Developing as a Researcher: Getting Started

Year Two
Training courses
Compulsory (not examined)

GY502 Staff / Research Students Seminars

Transferable skills courses
Compulsory (not examined)
GY500 Geographical Project Seminar
MY593B Authoring a PhD and Developing as a Researcher: The Middle Years

Year Three
Training courses
Compulsory (not examined)
GY502 Staff / Research Students Seminars

Transferable skills courses
Compulsory (not examined)
GY500 Geographical Project Seminar
MY593C Authoring a PhD and Developing as a Researcher: The Endgame

Progression and upgrade requirements

Students on the MPhil/PhD programme will go through a First Year Progress Review taking place in the Summer Term of their first research year. For the First Year Progress Review, the student submits a written progress report containing an extensive and updated research proposal (typically including an introduction to the topic and motivation for the research; aims and objectives/research questions; contribution to knowledge; summary of methods to be used; and outline of the work to be done) and either a comprehensive literature review or a substantive draft of a chapter/paper as evidence of progress made during the year. Normally, there will be a progress review meeting between the student and the supervisors (main supervisor and review supervisor) to discuss the written material presented. The work has to reach an acceptable standard to enable the student to progress to the second year. There is provision for a second Supplementary Review, in cases where there are doubts as to whether progress has been sufficient to allow the student to enter the second year. Progression to the second year is also dependent on students having passed all required examinations and obtained at least one merit, and having presented their work satisfactorily in the doctoral presentation workshops.

Research students are initially registered for an MPhil and have to be upgraded to PhD status. The upgrade from MPhil to PhD usually occurs during the second year of full-time registration. The exact timing depends on the student's progress. Students are required to submit a formal written upgrade report consisting of an extensive revised research proposal, two substantive draft papers/chapters, of which one can be a literature review, and a detailed plan for completion. The material is evaluated by an upgrading committee that will recommend transferral to PhD registration if the work is judged to be of sufficient quality and quantity. The upgrading committee is normally formed by the student's main supervisor, review supervisor and a third member of staff with relevant expertise. The upgrade is also dependent on students having completed all required training courses and having made a satisfactory research presentation in their doctoral presentation workshop.

In addition to these formal arrangements, each year during the Summer Term and throughout the course of their studies, all PhD students and their supervisors have to complete a yearly Progress Report Form, detailing progress made, problems arising and plan/timeline for completion. The forms are sent to the relevant Doctoral Programme Director for approval before students are able to re-register for the following session. If perceived lack of progress is identified, it can trigger a more formal annual review of progress in which the student is asked to produce specific written documents to be evaluated by a review panel.