The number of PhDs has surged in recent years, but there is no set set formula for how to choose the best academic courses to prepare for the jobs market, according to a new report.
The report, titled ‘Academic Course Design for PhDs’, is being released today by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Learning.
The aim is to encourage people to take up a PhD after the initial phase of study, which usually takes six years.
The Royal Society said it aims to improve the education of the next generation of academics by helping people choose their own course of study.
This new report focuses on how to ensure the best PhD course is tailored to the individual.
‘Students should consider how their own interests and interests of the academic disciplines align with the courses and research priorities of their universities,’ said Dr Robert Dolan, director of the Society’s Department of Advanced Education and Research.
‘A good PhD course should also be tailored to suit the individual and allow them to pursue their interests and passions in the course without any prior training.’
The report also looks at the role of social connections, advising and advising on the course, and whether the course should be designed for students with no prior academic training.
Students with a Bachelor’s degree or higher may choose to take a PhD course if they wish to continue to study, while those with a Master’s degree can choose a PhD program if they have no prior background in academia.
The new report, which is a joint project between the Society and University of Sussex, said students should consider the following: ‘What kind of academic career is most suitable for you?’
Students should also consider: ‘Are you a well-rounded individual?
Do you enjoy learning and working on new ideas and problems?’
The report recommends that students should have a ‘well-rounded education’, which includes reading, writing and maths skills, and a strong sense of social skills, as well as an interest in ‘creative problems’.
‘What are the major challenges and opportunities for the academic career?’
Students also should consider: ‘(the) impact of change on the academic life of students and the wider society; the benefits and challenges that are arising from the new academic era; and the prospects for the future of academics.’
In the past, the Society has advised students to ‘take up a degree after the first six years’ of study and have the course ‘designed to suit your interests and your skills’, but this is not a set formula.
The recommendations will help to ensure that students are able to take courses that are suitable for them.
The Society has also issued guidance on the best courses for students to study in, and has put together a list of ‘best PhDs’ for students.
The next stage of study for a PhD student is usually the two-year thesis phase, and the University of Cambridge has published its research in the journal Advances in Education.
The University of Essex, meanwhile, is working on a set of best-in-class PhD courses.
The research, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, suggests that the best degree programmes for academics are those that offer the best opportunities for them to make the most impact in the workforce.
The National College of Education and Training has also published a report on the topic, ‘The future of education: What should be the most effective ways to prepare students for a job in 2020?’
The NCEET is working to support the development of the report.
For more information on the report, visit: www.rsl.ac.uk/Academic-Course-Design-for-Degrees