Part three: being ESRC at Durham and the Durham University postgraduate experience
I’ve had an interesting, varied summer, and spent my “+” weeks – after finishing the Masters dissertation and waiting for the PhD to begin – at a conference in Khartoum. More on that in another post though – first I’ll finish my 3-part post on being an ESRC student. This will be a short one, but I just want to sum up some personal points that I didn’t make in the more practical earlier posts.
This last year hasn’t really felt like a Masters course in the way my other friends described theirs. As well as the workload being less intensive and completely interdisciplinary (see my previous posts – one and two), I was also free of the impending job hunt and funding worries of my contemporaries – I knew my PhD was secure.
Part two: the ESRC requirements and being trained in research skills
Teaching ‘research skills’ for the social sciences is an idea that’s worried some historians I’ve spoken to this year, bearing in mind history’s uneasy relationship with the disparate components of social science and the concept of ‘science’ itself. However, the ESRC in its wisdom makes any PhD student it funds take a taught masters’ year first in ‘research methods’, unless they’ve already completed a course that fits the remit. So this post will focus on my experience of actually doing this course.
Part One: Planning and Applying for a historical-political PhD: some general advice
Applying for four years’ PhD funding on a tentative, 500-word proposal is a terrifying and bizarre idea. This is only my experience of planning, applying and working on an ESRC 1+3 masters, but hopefully these series of posts will provide a little window in to the ESRC 1+3 world for those thinking of it, or applying for it, already.