Postgraduate advice and forms

More information is also available on the College of Science Postgraduate advice and forms webpage, and on UC's Postgraduate website.

Research is central to the postgraduate experience. It can be very rewarding, but also requires good time management and a high level of engagement. If you plan to enrol in BA (Hons), BSc (Hons), Professional Masters, MA, MSc, MWaterRM or PhD, your degree will involve a significant research component. The following tips are designed to help you choose a research topic and supervisor.

Tip #1 - Start looking early

Choosing a topic requires careful thought, so start as soon as you can. Supervisors can only take on a finite number of students so if you want to work with a particular person, approach them early.

  • BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) students

Think about your research project in the July or August of the year before your course starts. Your enrolment into BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) will not be approved until you have advised the 4th year Course Advisor of your research project and supervisor. Most students doing field work need to have finalised plans before the start of the field season in November and may need to start their field work over the summer before 4th year officially starts.

  • MA / MSc students

Research is a major part of your degree so you should spend as much time thinking about your research interests as about which 400-level courses to take. A research statement is due early in May during your MA/MSc part I and gives us an indication of your research interests so that we can better ensure you have a project and supervisor lined up. Most students begin preliminary research in October/November. There are a variety of scholarships available for MA/MSc Part II, so ensure that you browse the University Scholarships page throughout the year.

  • PhD candidates

Find a research topic that is of interest to you and a supervisor well in advance of scholarship application due dates. Scholarships are highly competitive so make sure you begin the application process several months in advance of the due dates.

  • MWaterRM/PhD candidates

Ideas for Masters and PhD research topics can be discussed with Waterways staff at any time. You may have a research topic in mind, or you may consult the lists of suggested research topics on the Waterways website. These are updated every year.

Tip #2 - Pick an area of genuine interest to you

Research comes with highs and lows and requires high motivation to get through the tough times. The secret to success is to work in an area where you really want to know the answer to the research questions you pose. If you are only mildly curious about the topic, it will be tough to get through the more challenging parts and complete the thesis. We don’t recommend taking on a project that doesn’t sound interesting to you just because an academic is offering you a spot in their research programme.

Tip #3 - Look for a good match between supervisor and topic

Approaching staff who have interests that overlap your own is vital. All staff welcome queries in person or by email. They often have research ideas that can be developed into proposals, so ask them what they are working on. Research projects also develop from discussions with staff around a topic of mutual interest: don’t be afraid to take your ideas to them. Staff lecture topics may not reflect their core research interests – look at their recent publications and their current research. Research projects are not guaranteed and you may be competing with other students for topics and your choice of supervisor. Some academics have limited space in their programme so give yourself the best chance by reading up on the research area. It is “Publish or Perish” if you want a career in research, so choose an area that is actively publishing in good journals.

Talk to postgraduate students from the research programme you wish to join. They can give you a sense of what the research is like, and what the academic is like to work with.

Tip #4 – Relationships matter

Once you have teamed up with a supervisor you will have regular meetings and will work together to evolve your project and develop approaches to tackle your research. Your supervisors are there to help, don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek advice from them.

Typically these are the dates for the following events (unless otherwise noted)

1 Feb - 1 March Typical start date for MSc thesis but the start date can individually be chosen by every student to suit his/her project. MSc theses are due 12 months after the official start date. Typically the start date for PMEG students is the first Monday in February. Check course outlines for course meeting and due dates.
February   Earth & Environment graduate student orientation 
End of February  Deadline for Applications to Mason Trust Fund (Round 1) (Form on web)  
End of June  Deadline for Applications to Mason Trust Fund (Round 2) (Form on web) 
August  Introduction to Postgraduate programmes for 300 level student
End of October  Deadline for application for new thesis students for Mason Trust Fund (Round 3) (Form on web) 

                                                                        

Key Dates – University

The University key dates webpage lists important dates for the university academic year such as semester dates and public and university holidays.

School of Earth and Environment key dates

These dates are for 2019 (unless otherwise noted).

1 Feb - 1 March Typical start date for MSc thesis but the start date can individually be chosen by every student to suit his/her project. MSc theses are due 12 months after the official start date. Typically the start date for PMEG students is the first Monday in February. Check course outlines for course meeting and due dates.
19 February   Earth & Environment graduate student orientation 
28 February  Deadline for Applications to Mason Trust Fund (Round 1) (Form on web)  
30 June  Deadline for Applications to Mason Trust Fund (Round 2) (Form on web) 
12 August  Introduction to Postgraduate programmes for 300 level student
31 October  Deadline for application for new thesis students for Mason Trust Fund (Round 3) (Form on web) 

UC key dates

The University key dates webpage lists important dates for the university academic year such as semester dates and public and university holidays.

Postgraduate forms

Standardised postgraduate forms are held on the College of Science webpages.

Geology BSc Honours proposal

All Geology BSc(Hons) candidates must complete and submit a project proposal to the Course Coordinator before starting their research project. Consult your supervisor before you submit this proposal. It will be reviewed by the Course Coordinator and may be returned to the candidate if revisions are required. Note: This form is to be completed using the space provided in a type font not smaller than 10 point. Please talk to your supervisor and the Course Coordinator to find out when the proposal needs to be submitted.

IP agreement form

All Geology BSc(Hons) candidates must submit an IP agreement form together with their project proposal to the Postgraduate Studies Coordinator (PGC) before starting their research project. This form needs to be discussed with (and countersigned by) your supervisors. It addresses the issues of how any scientific outcome of your research will be dealt with if it comes to subsequent publishing and data storage.

Standard Masters forms

Standardised postgraduate forms are held on the College of Science webpages (for MSc theses) and the College of Arts webpages (for MA theses).

MSc/MWaterRM forms

Standardised PhD forms

Standardised postgraduate forms are held on the Postgraduate Research Office website.

PhD forms 

SEE Research Grant for PhD students

Research Grant Application Form - PhD 22-07-09 (MS Word format)

SEE Research Grant Guidelines PhD (PDF format)

SEE Research Grant for Masters students

Research Grant Application Form - Masters 22-07-09 (MS Word format)

SEE Research Grant Guidelines Masters (PDF format)

Mason Trust

Brian Mason kindly donated funds to encourage and promote geological sciences activities at UC and the School is able to financially support postgraduate students undertaking geological sciences research projects. 

Other awards are also available to provide partial assistance to students and staff members within the School of Earth & Environment with conference and research expenses.

 

Need more information?

Get in touch with one of our Study Coordinators!