Part-Time PhDs in the Faculty of English
The majority of the requirements and regulations governing the part-time PhD course are the same as for the full-time PhD . As a part-time student you can expect the same standard of research facilities as full-time students, and that you will be integrated into the academic and social life of the Faculty and the College you join. Specific features of the part-time PhD are as follows:
The academic criteria for admission and ongoing assessment is the same as for the full-time PhD . The application procedure is also largely the same as for full-time students: use the application form for full-time students, specify which doctoral path you are applying for (e.g. ‘Criticism and Culture’ or ‘post-1830s’), and tick the box indicating ‘Part-Time’. Further into the form you are asked to state why you want to study part-time. Please note that difficulty in getting funding for a full-time course may not be regarded as the sole reason for applying to take the part-time route. If you are in employment, you must provide the Graduate Admissions office with a letter from your employer confirming that you may have time off, if necessary, for you to attend the University as required for the whole duration of your course.
As a general rule, overseas students who require a visa to study in the UK will not be able to obtain a visa for a part-time Degree.
As part of the admissions process, applicants to the part-time route will be interviewed in the Faculty. The purpose of the interview is to ascertain if the part-time route is viable for the applicant and proposed topic, rather than to judge the applicant’s academic ability.
Length of course
The normal period of study for the part-time PhD is fifteen terms (i.e. five years). This is the total number of terms required to complete the PhD. Formal induction usually takes place in the first week of the Michaelmas term in October.
There are no residence requirements for part-time degrees at Cambridge but there are minimum attendance requirements: you are expected to have at least two formal supervisions with your supervisor per term.
Every part-time graduate student must join a College. As a member of a College, you will have access to its library, computing and other facilities. You will also be assigned to a Graduate Tutor who will be available to advise on welfare or pastoral matters in the same way as for full-time students. Short periods of residential accommodation may be offered by the College, particularly in vacations. Please note, though, that Colleges are not expected to offer accommodation during term time to part-time students. See the individual College listings for further information.
The total University Composition Fee for the part-time PhD is the same as the full-time route. This normally means that 60% of the full-time fee is charged for each term of registration as a part-time student. College fees are charged on the same basis. Unlike applicants for full-time courses, part-time applicants are not expected to show the availability of funding for maintenance.
As with full-time students, before your admission can be confirmed you will need to demonstrate that you can pay the fees. Neither the Board of Graduate Studies nor individual Colleges can normally entertain requests for assistance with maintenance in case of hardship.
The AHRC currently funds part-time PhDs. The ORS Awards, Dorothy Hodgkin Award Scheme, and Cambridge Trusts awards do not apply to part-time students; neither does the DfES Fee Waiver scheme.
The PhD course in Cambridge is taught principally by one-to-one supervision. Supervisors of part-time students are appointed in the same way as for full-time students. You will have formal meetings with your supervisor at least twice a term. The Faculty will give you a progress log in which you can record details of these meetings and other information.
Registration and Progression
Both full-time and part-time students must be formally Registered for the PhD. The Registration process involves a viva examination in which you will discuss a sample of written work and a detailed chapter outline of the dissertation as a whole. For part-time students registration takes place around the end of the fifth term of study and certainly by the end of the seventh term.
Progress is monitored annually both before and after Registration: at the end of each calendar year, you will be asked to submit a brief progress paper and make a joint report in your progress log with your supervisor. If your attendance and progress have been satisfactory there will be a recommendation that you proceed to the next year.
Transfers between part-time status and full-time status
It is possible, using the equivalence of 5 terms part-time = 3 terms full-time, to convert from part-time to full-time, or from full-time to part-time, but only once in either direction, and only at the end of a completed year. You must also still be within the minimum requirement of research period – i.e. the first 9 (full-time) or 15 (part-time) terms.