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Videos to support doctoral students

The following videos are available to support and develop the skills of doctoral students.

Scene from the Good Doctorate Video The Good Doctorate Video

The Good Doctorate Video addresses one of the most intractable issues for institutions: improving the qualification rate of their doctoral programmes. The video will help doctoral students manage their time and complete their thesis on schedule (and will help their supervisors to support them in this).

The Good Doctorate Video includes:

  • Planning towards a distant deadline
  • How ‘life’ can get in the way
  • Being realistic about the time and cost
  • Setting intermediate stages
  • Working with your supervisor

Scene from the Good Presentation Video The Good Presentation Video

The Good Presentation Video helps doctoral students (and others) improve their presentation skills. Good presentation skills are essential for students while undertaking a PhD, and in their future careers, whether in academia or elsewhere.

The Good Presentation Video includes:

  • Choosing appropriate content
  • How to practice
  • Using your voice, body, technology
  • Expecting the unexpected

Scene from the Good Viva Video The Good Viva Video

For doctoral and masters students everywhere, the viva is a daunting challenge, often approached with anxiety and confusion rather than careful preparation. Should candidates relax and hope for the best, panic, or prepare systematically for the big day? This video will help students in all institutions to understand the viva and handle it well.

The Good Viva Video will help you understand:

  • What is a viva?
  • How important is it to your degree?
  • How do vivas differ between disciplines?
  • How can you prepare?
  • Should you relax or panic?
  • What are the roles of the internal and external examiners and your supervisor?
  • How are examiners chosen?
  • What questions should you expect?
  • How to use a practice viva.
  • Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your thesis.
  • What are the examiners looking for?
  • Coping with examiners’ mistakes or aggressive questions.
  • Understanding the outcome.

Scene from the Good Supervision Video The Good Supervision Video

The quality of your relationship with your supervisor or supervisors can be crucial to the progress of your PhD. Should you think of your supervisor as your teacher, your friend, an authority figure or a resource for your use? And what should you do if you are not getting the support you need? This video will help students in all disciplines to get the best from their supervisors, and can also help supervisors to develop their skills.

The Good Supervision Video will help doctoral students:

  • Understand the supervisor’s role
  • Plan and make good use of supervision meetings
  • Take the lead in supervision meetings
  • Understand differences between disciplines
  • Plan the wider work of PhD research
  • Establish a realistic timetable for completion on time
  • Deal with a ‘busy’ supervisor
  • Understand the UK system if you are from overseas
  • Know what supervisors should and should not expect of you
  • Keep records of supervision meetings
  • Understand the limits of the supervisor’s role
  • Ask for the feedback you need
  • Understand upgrading, transfer and monitoring procedures
  • Deal with setbacks and disappointments

It can also help preparing staff to take on the role of supervisor for the first time and raise issues for discussion with experienced supervisors.

Scene from the Good Upgrade Video The Good Upgrade Video

The upgrade is a wake-up call: while students might not welcome it at the time, in retrospect they value it as an essential stage in moving on to their PhD. The Good Upgrade Video will help students and academics understand a crucial stage in the research student’s career. Before being registered for a PhD, most have to go through an upgrade process (sometimes called ‘transfer’, ‘confirmation’ or ‘probationary review’) to check that their work is of a suitable standard. This video shows students how they can benefit from a rigorous upgrade process and why it should not be written off as a mere formality or a bureaucratic hurdle. The video shows how a thorough review of progress and feedback can contribute to a successful outcome. It will help students and their supervisors to understand:

  • What the upgrade process is for
  • What is typically required of students
  • How students can benefit from it
  • What outcomes to expect.

Scene from the UK Doctorate Video The UK Doctorate Video

Britain is among the world’s leading destinations for those who leave home to gain a doctorate. International students make up 4 in 10 PhD students in the UK. But when they arrive, students often find it challenging to adapt to the UK’s distinctive academic culture and struggle to understand how PhDs are structured here. The UK Doctorate Video will help international students to understand the distinctive features of the UK system and to succeed within it. It will improve their supervisors’ insights into the special challenges international students face and help them to give suitable support.

Based on interviews with arts, humanities and social science students from around the globe, The UK Doctorate Video discusses

  • critical thinking
  • independent working
  • working with supervisors
  • the PhD upgrade process

and many other aspects of doctoral study in the UK.

Scene from the Professional Doctorate Video The Professional Doctorate Video

Through the stories of several doctoral researchers, ‘The Professional Doctorate Video’ shows the diversity of this growing field. The featured examples include a teacher researching how to make school more inclusive for disadvantaged pupils, a water engineer trying to make ‘power from poo’ and a management consultant studying the training needs of the new police and crime commissioners – all as part of a doctorate. They each have different challenges in balancing the needs of an employer, a university, a research project and a professional career.

The video will help anyone supervising, starting or considering a professional doctorate to understand what they are taking on.


  • What are professional doctorates?
  • How are they different from PhDs?
  • Why do students choose this kind of study?
  • Researcher/employer/university: the 3-way relationship
  • Where does the employer fit in?
  • Research/work/life balance
  • What are the benefits?
  • What do students wish they’d known before starting?

Other Resources