Episode 43: Dr Fiona Whelan

In this episode I’m talking with Dr Fiona Whelan, who recently completed her PhD at the University of Oxford. Fiona was kind enough to come on the podcast and share not only her interesting research, but also to talk about her viva – which was quite stressful in places but which had a positive outcome.

Since completing her corrections, Fiona has gone on to create Beyond The Doctorate, a blog looking at what comes after the PhD, particularly for PhD graduates in the humanities. On the podcast I asked Fiona for suggestions of articles to check out, and she recommended pieces on academic affiliation, major corrections and transparency. You can find Fiona on Twitter as @FionaEWhelan.

If you’ve got questions or comments for this or any episode then feel free to comment on the site, or email me. You can also tweet @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I’m always happy to hear from people who would be interested in coming on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences, or to join me for a special about Academic Jobs or being an examiner. And you can support the podcast by checking out my ebooks on viva preparation!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 42: Dr Katy Shaw

Eagle-eyed followers of the podcast will know that this is not the first time that Dr Katy Shaw has come on the podcast – in fact it’s the fourth time that she has joined me on Viva Survivors! You can find her other episodes here. In this episode we had a catch up of what Katy has been up to recently, and she shared some really interesting experiences and advice for people wanting to work in academia.

The book that I asked Katy about was Mining the Meaning, and you can find all of her other books on Amazon too (and probably from other retailers too!). Katy is on Twitter as @DrKatyShaw.

If you’ve got any questions or comments then comment on this post, tweet @VivaSurvivors – or email me! Please get in touch if you’d like to appear on a future episode. I’m always looking for PhD graduates who want to share their research and viva experiences. And if you’d like to support the production of the Viva Survivors Podcast then check out my ebooks on viva preparation.

Thanks for listening! (and reading!)

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 41: Dr Malcolm Craig

In this episode I’m talking with Dr Malcolm Craig, who completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh last year. Malcolm’s research is in Cold War history, and we have an interesting conversation about how he came to research in that area, and also how he did research in that area. Malcolm’s viva was in June 2014, and he shared his preparation and experiences, as well as talking about his blog, The Atomic Age, and the podcast he co-hosts with Mark McClay, American History Too! You can find him on Twitter as @contestedground.

If you’ve got questions or comments for this or any episode then feel free to comment on the site, or email me. You can also tweet @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I’m always happy to hear from people who would be interested in coming on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences, or to join me for a special about Academic Jobs or being an examiner.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

The Podcast is 3! Plus Ebook Offer

On the 6th of June 2012 I started the podcast, which means that this Saturday is the 3rd birthday! I don’t have cake and ice cream unfortunately, but I am still pretty excited that the podcast is something that resonates with a lot of people. I love hearing from people have found it useful – and from people who want to join me on the podcast to share their experiences.

It’s also around this time of year that I have to pay the hosting bill for the podcast *sad face* I’ve resisted putting a donate button, but am now thinking that might be a good way to cover the various expenses of running the site. What do you think? Good idea?

To help with covering the hosting, and as a way of celebrating the third birthday, I’ve set up some special offer codes for my two books on viva preparation. These codes work for buying the ebooks via Payhip, where you can get them in .mobi and .epub formats.

  • If you click here you can see my books, and by using code PODCAST3 you can get 10% off!
  • And as a special bonus, if you want to buy the Viva Books Bundle, use the code VSPEXTRA to get 20% off!

The codes are good until midnight on Sunday 7th June 2015. And on Monday there will be a brand new episode, where I’m talking to Dr Malcolm Craig about his PhD and viva, and what’s he up to now. If you want to join me on a future episode then just get in touch, I’m always looking for more people who want to share their PhD and viva experiences, and help others with their preparation.

Thanks to everyone who has been on the podcast in the last three years, to everyone who has listened and shared them, and to everyone who has helped me get this far. I’ve got ideas and plans for the future, so let’s see what the next year brings. Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Calling all PhD Graduates!

The Viva Survivors Podcast is almost three years old! I can’t believe it personally, it seems like only yesterday that I was sat on my friend Shaine’s couch, hoping that the app I had downloaded was going to work fine and that his daughter would stay asleep while we chatted about his research and viva.

Forty episodes later and here we are. I’ve had to take time off every now and then, but am really feeling back in the flow again now. Part of this is having a loose schedule to work towards, of releasing two episodes a month, give or take. This has been easier in the last six months because at times I’ve recorded several podcasts in a very short space of time and then released them every few weeks.

I’m writing now because I need YOUR help to make the next few episodes happen. Can you come on the podcast and share your experiences? Or do you know a PhD graduate who would be happy to share their PhD and viva stories? I’m looking for three kinds of interviewees at the moment:

  • PhD Graduates: full time, part time, recent or from years ago, I want to hear from you and hear all about your research and experiences. Many more people want to hear what your viva was like too!
  • Academics: I’ve so far made two Academic Job Specials, and these have been really popular in helping people think through different aspects of pursuing and maintaining academic jobs and careers. Academia is in the mind a lot around viva time for many people – your experience and advice could really help.
  • Examiners: Have you examined PhD theses and conducted vivas? You have really valuable ideas about the other side of the viva, and this could be hugely helpful to those who listen to the podcast. Dr Katy Shaw shared her experience of being an examiner in Episode 32. Your advice could also really help.

I’ve got a few weeks coming up where I will be largely working from home; I’ll be using some of this time to play with my daughter, some of it to start writing my next book and I want to use some of it to record the summer slate of podcasts. It may be that if you were interviewed in the last week of May that your Episode would not debut until the end of August – but if you have the time now it will be hugely helpful in maintaining the podcast this year.

If you want to come on the podcast, for any of the three possibilities mentioned above then please get in touch – either email me, tweet @VivaSurvivors or @DrRyder or leave a comment on this post. If you know someone else who would be great to have on the podcast, or have an idea of a viva-related area that you think would be good to explore then let me know too.

I’ve loved doing this podcast for the last three years, and look forward to doing it for a long time to come. Please help me make that happen.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

PS: I have a new book out!

Support the Podcast!

Episode 40: Dr Chloe Sharp

In this episode I’m talking to Dr Chloe Sharp, who had her viva in January 2013. Chloe did her PhD at the University of Bedfordshire and her thesis  was titled “Examining the relationships between deceased organ donation, gift exchange theory and religion: a Polish perspective.” Once again, it was fascinating for me to hear about a research topic very different to my PhD! You can find Chloe on Twitter as @formalcuriosity, and check out her website Formalised Curiosity for articles on research and more information about her work. You can find the article about common viva questions that Chloe wrote here.

If you’ve got any questions or comments about this episode, then comment on this post, tweet @VivaSurvivors – or email me! And please get in touch if you’d like to appear on a future episode. I’m always looking for PhD graduates ready to share their research and viva experiences. I’m also looking for academics happy to talk in future specials on Academic Jobs or being an examiner.

Thanks for listening! (and reading!)

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)