Our graduate students are the lifeblood of our research groups, providing ideas, manpower and enthusiasm. Graduate projects frequently result in publications, often first-author papers in prestigious journals. Graduates are encouraged to expand their academic networks by attending departmental seminars, group talks and brown bag lunches, by collaborating with other departments in the University, and by attending international meetings and conferences.
Graduates share offices in the department, usually with students from different research groups, at different stages of their DPhil, allowing for cross-pollination of ideas and ensuring that the whole graduate community is cohesive and close-knit. Our first year graduates run the weekly Happy Hour bar, and are responsible for departmental events such as the Graduate Mini-Conference in January, and the Christmas Party which all staff and students attend. Staff and students are also brought together at 11am every morning for coffee in the common room.
Graduates benefit from close contact with their project supervisor(s). They also choose a mentor who can provide additional support. The Academic Administration office provides support for the key milestones during the DPhil, and some research groups also have access to an administrator to assist with things like travel arrangements for fieldwork and conferences.
Graduate students can find employment within the department by tutoring undergraduates or working in practicals as demonstrators. Demonstrators are also required for the undergraduate field teaching programme, which offers trips to Scotland, Wales, Spain, Greece and Bermuda. There are also plenty of volunteering opportunities within the department’s outreach programme, either by going out to local schools, providing demonstrations for groups visiting the department or helping out at the Museum of Natural History.
Like our undergraduates, graduate students are members of colleges and enjoy the benefits they offer, in particular a community of students that ranges widely over nationalities and subjects. Graduates can choose to join a college which caters solely for graduate needs, or join one with undergraduate students as well. Different colleges are able to offer different levels of support, through bursaries and travel grants. Within the department, graduate students are eligible to apply to the Burdett-Coutts Fund, which supports fieldwork and conference travel.