A new academic certificate course has emerged to help people prepare for their PhDs.
The course, iitM academics, offers courses for academics, researchers, and others interested in the subject matter of their degree.
The curriculum covers a wide range of topics from the history of scientific research to modern theories of learning.
The programme was designed by Prof Peter Aberg, professor of linguistics at Edinburgh University and a leading authority on the field of knowledge.
Aberg said that the aim of the iitem course was to help the general public understand the academic profession.
He told Al Jazeera that the courses are intended to teach people “what a PhD degree is, why it’s important and what to expect”.
“The purpose of the programme is to provide a foundation for those who are considering a PhD,” he said.
“The course does not aim to replace the traditional university curriculum, but rather as a complement.”
The aim of Aberg’s iitam course is to help those considering a doctoral degree.
“What you will learn in the course is what a PhD is about, how it can be useful, and how to prepare yourself for the rigours of it,” he explained.
“I think the way that this course has been developed has been very effective, and I think it has got people interested.”
Prof Aberg was speaking at the IITs new science and technology programme, which has been launched since November to bring together the research, teaching, and research-related work of the UK’s leading universities.
He said that he was keen to ensure that “people have a chance to get on with their degree, and to be able to take it in a way that will allow them to do that”.
This was especially important for academics who might have been able to attend their first postgraduate course but were now unsure of where they stood in their career path.
“We have a shortage of academics who are thinking about the future,” said Aberg.
“So what we are doing is we are putting together a PhD course which is intended to help get you into that future, to get you back on your feet and to prepare you for the challenges of that future.”
For Aberg the iotm programme is an opportunity to make sure that those who were thinking about entering academia would have a “complete, balanced and balanced picture of the world”.
“This is a very important area for science, and so it is important that we do a PhD program that gives people the right sort of picture, so that they have the chance to consider what they want to do, how they want it to happen,” he told Al Jazeera.
The IIT’s new science, technology, engineering and mathematics programme, called iitCIS, has already brought together some of the country’s top academics, with a focus on computer science and maths.
It has also been a boon for universities and students alike.
A recent study from the US National Science Foundation showed that iit students were more likely to earn a PhD than those in other academic disciplines.
“This programme has been a great opportunity for me to work with people who are passionate about science, who are very interested in how it relates to the world, and who are interested in getting to know their PhD subjects,” said Professor Aberg of Edinburgh University.
“And of course, it is an important part of my PhD. So I think we have a really good balance of what’s needed in terms of the research being done and the curriculum.”
However, the programme does not appear to be universally accepted.
A study by the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching (IAT) has found that the curriculum in iitMs academic certificate courses has been “critically challenged”.
The report found that, of the more than 2,000 academics who took the courses, less than 10% were able to find an acceptable academic qualification within the programme.
Professor Aang agreed that there were “issues with the curriculum”.
“In some cases, we have been told that there are no good options available,” he stressed.
“It’s a good thing to have this sort of balance of academic knowledge that we can use for our PhDs, but the problem with the iatM programme is that the academic qualification in the programme seems to be so high that it is difficult for people to find.”
Aberg hopes that the iimm programme will provide “an opportunity to create a more balanced and better picture of what a doctoral programme looks like, so we can all look at what we would like to do as an academic”.
“I really hope that it will lead to more opportunities for people,” he added.
“As academics, we all want to be successful and so we want to know what’s going to be important for us as academics, and what is really important for the world as a whole.”
And that is a good balance between the research we do and what we might like to achieve as a PhD.
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