The PhD in Garden History is an advanced research degree, awarded on the basis of a thesis and an oral viva voce examination. The primary purpose of the PhD is the preparation and presentation of a substantial piece of independent and original academic research, completed in three years if studying full-time and usually six years if studying part-time. There is also the possibility of early submission in cases where the student makes particularly rapid progress.
There is an enormously broad range of possible thesis subjects in Garden History, ranging from the history of garden design and the creation of particular gardens through to evolving attitudes towards nature and its relationship to the built environment, the Sublime and the Picturesque, and the critical assessment of garden-designers and their work, from Charles Bridgeman and William Kent to Geoffrey Jellicoe and Russell Paige. Given sufficient evidence to illuminate it, almost any aspect of the history of gardens and their creators may potentially form an appropriate focus of study.
A large proportion of our PhD students are engaged in full-time study, but there is also an option for part-time study where this fits better with a student’s other commitments. Part-time study can be ideal for those who are looking to gain a postgraduate qualification without leaving employment and wish to develop their careers while they continue earning, or for those who are home-based for whatever reason and wish to develop their skills. All students are expected to engage with the academic life of the University, to attend skills-training meetings where these are relevant, as well as research seminars and workshops.
PhD students are expected to attend the Humanities Research Institute’s graduate Research Days in their area of research. These Research Days provide an opportunity for PhD students to share their work with their peers, and to engage with visiting experts in their field.
The University of Buckingham PhD is intended to impart all the skills necessary for the student to work as an independent researcher and writer – skills that are valued by both academic and non-academic employers. But the PhD can be undertaken just as fulfillingly as an exercise in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and as a means of exploring areas of enquiry that are of particular interest to the student. A number of our most successful student researchers are those who take up doctoral study at the end of a successful career in a different field or profession.
The usual period of doctoral research is three years for the those who engage in full-time study, though the University’s Regulations also permit candidates who make particularly rapid progress to apply to the University Research Committee for permission to submit at the end of their second year of study. Part-time study is also available, with students completing the dissertation in five or six years.
Every PhD student in School of Humanities is supported by two supervisors. Supervisors are experts in their field of study and support students throughout the PhD. Students will also benefit from the advice and support of other academic members of the Faculty who will be involved in progression through the various stages of the PhD, including Annual Review meetings with a senior professor (where progress is monitored and support offered towards the planning of the next period of study).
Each student is allocated two supervisors. There is a First (or Principal) Supervisor, who is the student’s regular guide during his or her research, and with whom the student meets regularly throughout the year. There is also a Second Supervisor, whom the student may consult on a more limited basis where a ‘second opinion’ on a particular draft chapter may be helpful.
Enquiries should be directed in the first instance to our Admissions Officer (London Programmes), Mrs Lin Robinson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone to +44 (0)1280 827514. It is usually also possible to speak with one of the Course Directors, Professor Adrian Tinniswood or Dr David Marsh, in advance of submitting your application: please contact Mrs Lin Robinson to arrange this.