Advice

It will be like this. It will be like that. You need to do it this way. I did it that way.

Check this book. Listen to that podcast. My friend said this.

A friend of a friend had a nightmare experience. A friend of a friend of a friend FAILED.

My sister’s brother’s best friend’s dead dog’s former owner knew someone who had their viva and said it was no big deal, so what are you worried about?

Everyone has an opinion about the viva.

Ask a few questions. Listen to the answers. Decide for yourself. Keep doing good work.

Episode 14: Academic Jobs Special 1

Some time ago I had a request to do something on the academic job market and academic jobs. I had planned to do one long episode on academic jobs, but time and schedules worked against me in January. So I’ve decided to release a podcast now and follow it up with more interviews soon!

In this episode I’m interviewing Dr Katy Shaw – regular listeners will remember that I spoke to Katy in Episode 10, and she very kindly volunteered to share her experience on the podcast again. Katy is the Subject Leader for English Literature and a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Brighton. She is also the Director of C21: Centre for research in twenty-first century writings and can be found on Twitter as @DrKatyShaw.

I’ve had a lot of recent volunteers who should be appearing on the podcast soon sharing their stories. If you have any comments or questions, drop me an email or send me a tweet via @VivaSurvivors – and especially if you would like to share your PhD and viva experiences.

PSI have a book out! Take a look, and if you read it and find it useful, please consider leaving a review. Thanks!

Episode 9: Dr Nadine Muller

In Episode 9 I’m talking with Dr Nadine Muller, a lecturer in English Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Hull earlier this year for her thesis “The Feminist Politics of Neo-Victorian Literature, 2000-2010”. It was really great talking to Nadine about her research and her viva, as her field is something really different to my PhD research, and to the research of other interviewees in other Viva Survivors podcasts so far.

Nadine also has a great interest in supporting postgraduate and early-career researchers, so we had a lot to talk about. She is the creator of the #phdadvice hashtag on Twitter, a community sharing their experience of postgraduate research. Her Twitter handle is @Nadine_Muller.

Any questions or comments? Let me know, either drop me an email or leave them below. Share your postgraduate experience and advice with Nadine’s #phdadvice hashtag. And keep track of the podcast on Twitter by following @VivaSurvivors!

Ask The Audience 1

I’ve been asking a lot of questions recently via the @VivaSurvivors Twitter account. I wanted to know about the experiences of PhD graduates, even if that meant polling people in 140 characters or less. I had an inkling that people would share some really great advice. I was right! I’ll collect answers and share them on the blog over the next few weeks as I ask more questions. To start us off:

“What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about the viva?”

@NextScientist gave an encouraging reply:

I asked this question again yesterday, and thanks to some signal amplification from @Nadine_Muller I got some more great responses:

All of which is great advice! Thanks to everyone for sharing. I particularly like the advice from Selena Daly: the viva really is the longest time you’ll get to talk about your PhD research in that depth. With that in mind you can hopefully approach your viva with the same passion you’ve approached your research for the last three (four, five…) years!

More questions to come soon. If you have any more thoughts, then please continue the conversation in the comments. And if you have more questions about the viva, what are they? Let me know!