• id
  • username
  • 2009-06-15
  • UK
  • Imperial College London
  • Jorge Díaz-Cintas & Mark Shuttleworth
  • Senior Lecturers in Translation
  • Ubaldo Stecconi
  • Although they apply mainly to our institution, Imperial College London, most of the criteria can be said to be common to the UK’s higher education system.
  • PhD in Translation Studies. Yes, they are officially devoted to Translation Studies:
  • MPhil:
    Full-time: 2 years (24 months)
    Part-time: 3 years (36 months)

    Full-time: 3 years (36 months)
    Part-time: 4 years (48 months)

    Extensions are possible.
  • No.
  • To be admitted to do research, a student must be fitted by previous training to take advantage of the instruction and facilities provided. This normally means that students should hold or expect to hold, and produce official evidence of, a minimum 2.2 UK degree with Honours or equivalent qualification (usually no less than a 3-year degree).

    Imperial will need to establish students’ competence in use of English at postgraduate level and, if their first degree was taken overseas in a non-English speaking country, Imperial will ask them to provide an acceptable result in one of the recognised English language tests. Students will need to provide two references, at least one of which should be academic, forms for which are part of the online application process.
  • Yes.
  • Proposals are accepted in the first instance by the prospective supervisor.

    Yes, students are free to choose their research topic. In fact, they are the main instigators of the whole process.
  • Process: Students thinking of applying for a research programme should establish a dialogue with a potential supervisor before making a formal application. They should supply their CV, and indicate what their proposed topic of study is, as well as their ideal timing and how they propose to fund themselves.

    Criteria: Students should normally hold or expect to hold a minimum 2.2 UK degree with Honours or equivalent qualification. If their first degree was taken overseas in a non-English speaking country, students must provide an acceptable result in one of the recognised English language tests. They will also need to provide two satisfactory references, at least one of which should be academic.

    Details on the application procedure can be found here:
  • Fees?

    Full-time students from UK and EU: £3,300 annually
    Full-time overseas students: £11,700 annually

    Part-time students pay half the fees mentioned above.

    Funding (salary/scholarship)?

    Funding opportunities are listed on the following website, for all/overseas applicants:
  • The Graduate Schools' transferable skills training programmes run throughout the academic year. Courses vary from one-hour lectures to three-day residential workshops. Courses focus on personal effectiveness, research and project management, communication, networking and teamworking as well as career management. The skills gained will help students achieve their full potential during their time at Imperial and beyond.

    First year research students are strongly encouraged to attend the three-day residential course in research and professional skills development. This takes place at a venue away from the London campuses. The focus is on experiential learning achieved by a series of challenging group exercises. It is also a chance to get away from your normal working environment and meet students from other disciplines.

    More details:

    Final year students are offered the opportunity to do a two-day course Your PhD: Finish Up and Move On on how to get ready for their viva:

    The university does not operate with ECTS credits.
  • No.
  • Students are invited to attend and participate in the research seminars organised by the Department of Humanities at Imperial College. They are also encouraged to attend and give papers at national and international conferences of their interest.
  • The scope of the thesis shall be what might reasonably be expected after three or at most four years of full-time study. The thesis shall:

    (a) consist of the candidate's own account of his/her investigations, the greater proportion of which shall have been undertaken during the period of registration under supervision for the degree; [The part played by the candidate in any work done jointly with the supervisor(s) and/or fellow research workers must be clearly stated by the candidate and certified by the supervisor.]

    (b) and form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality by the discovery of new facts and/or by the exercise of independent critical power;

    (c) and be an integrated whole and present a coherent argument; [A series of papers, whether published or otherwise, is not acceptable for submission as a thesis. Research work already published, or submitted for publication, at the time of submission of the thesis, either by the candidate alone or jointly with others, may be included in the thesis. The published papers themselves may not be included in the body of the thesis, but may be adapted to form an integral part of the thesis and thereby make a relevant contribution to the main theme of the thesis. Publications derived from the work in the thesis may be bound as supplementary material at the back of the thesis.]

    (d) and give a critical assessment of the relevant literature, describe the method of research and its findings, include discussion on those findings and indicate in what respects they appear to the candidate to advance the study of the subject; and, in so doing, demonstrate a deep and synoptic understanding of the field of study, (the candidate being able to place the thesis in a wider context), objectivity and the capacity for judgment in complex situations and autonomous work in that field;

    (e) and be written in English and the literary presentation shall be satisfactory, although the College at which the candidate is or will be registered may make application for a thesis in the field of modern foreign languages and literatures only to be written in the language of study, to be considered on an exceptional basis by the Subject Area Board in Humanities; in such cases the thesis shall include additionally a submission of between 10,000 and 20,000 words which shall be written in English and shall summarise the main arguments of the thesis;

    (f) and not exceed 100,000 words; a College may prescribe a lower number in certain subject areas, which shall be detailed in the relevant College regulations; [Note: the bibliography is excluded from the word count; footnotes are included within the word count; appendices are excluded from the word count and should only include material which examiners are not required to read in order to examine the thesis, but to which they may refer if they wish.]

    (g) and include a full bibliography and references;

    (h) and demonstrate research skills relevant to the thesis being presented;

    (i) and be of a standard to merit publication in whole or in part or in a revised form (for example, as a monograph or as a number of articles in learned journals).

    Possibilities to do a thesis based on articles, any other relevant information: This option is not possible.
  • Although it is not possible to obtain a PhD degree from Imperial College wholly on an external basis, the College occasionally permits students to carry out some of the research for a PhD abroad under approved conditions. Arrangements are mainly confined to institutions overseas with which the College has established links and/or connections and in cases where the research problem requires local fieldwork.

    If a split PhD arrangements is approved, the student is required to be in full-time attendance at Imperial College for a minimum of 12 months out of the normal 36 months duration of a PhD programme. The 12 months period must include the first three months and the last three months.

    Persons wishing to apply for a split PhD should (a) explain in writing why they are unable to pursue the research wholly at Imperial College, (b) map out their programme of study showing how they would meet the 12 months attendance requirement, including attendance at the Graduate School’s training courses and (c) indicate the availability of facilities and supervision in their home country.

    Funding is not available as a matter of course, though students are encouraged and helped to secure external funding for mobility.
  • The institution follows the Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education, which states that:
    Institutions will appoint supervisors who have the appropriate skills and subject knowledge to support, encourage and monitor research students effectively.
    All supervisors need appropriate expertise for their role. They will wish, and institutions will require them, to engage in development of various kinds to equip them to supervise students. New supervisors will participate in specified development activities, arranged through their institutions, to assure their competence in the role. Institutions will expect existing supervisors to demonstrate their continuing professional development through participation in a range of activities designed to support their work as supervisors. Supervisors should take the initiative in updating their knowledge and skills, supported by institutional arrangements that define and enable sharing of good practice and provide advice on effective support for different types of student. Mentoring relationships are one example of how support can be provided for supervisors.
    To assure consistency of supervision, institutions will wish to encourage supervisors working in industry or professional practice to participate as appropriate in any developmental activities offered by the institution.

    The whole document can be found on:

    Can supervisors come from a different university or country? Yes, both options are possible.

    Is their role defined explicitly? Although there is not a role explicitly defined, Imperial lists the research supervisor (and student) duties and responsibilities on the following webpage:
  • How many people can supervise a single thesis? A minimum of 2, though more people can be involved if need be.

    Is joint supervision possible? Is it usual? Yes. It is in fact compulsory to have two supervisors.
  • Supervision is structured around tutorials, which take place regularly between the two supervisors and the student.
  • Candidates are awarded a PhD after an oral examination (Viva) behind closed doors and including:

    Director of Postgraduate Studies (or nominee)
    Internal Examiner (who, on certain occasions, can be a second external examiner)
    External Examiner
    (Supervisors may not attend the oral examination, unless invited by the candidate to attend as observers)

    A Nomination of Examiners and Examination Entry Form must be completed at least 4 months before the thesis is ready for submission.
    In addition to examining the candidate orally, the examiners do have the discretion to examine the candidate by means of written papers or practical examination. This provision is rarely invoked and examiners are asked to contact the College Registry if they wish to do so.

    If the examiners are not in agreement or require further assistance, the examiners may request the appointment of a third examiner at any time if they consider it desirable and should always do so before they report formally that they are unable to arrive at agreement.

    GRADES (their definition)

    The options open to the examiners in determining the result are set out in the Regulations for the MD (Res) degrees. These, in summary, are:

    (a) Pass.
    (b) Pass, subject to minor amendments to be completed and checked by one or both of the examiners within 3 months1.
    (c) Not pass, but candidate allowed to rewrite the thesis and resubmit it within 18 months for examination by the same examiners (an oral examination need not be held on re-entry).
    (d) Not pass, but be allowed to re-take a written paper(s) or practical examination (rarely used, see paragraph 20 above).
    (e) Not pass, but be allowed to submit to a further oral examination within 18 months on the same thesis and by the same examiners.
    (f) Outright fail. No further entry to the MD(Res) degree will be allowed.

    The examiners are required to write a joint report giving the grounds on which their decision is based. The report must normally be submitted within two weeks of the oral examination.
  • No publications are required before the final viva.

    Must the thesis be published as a book and/or on the Internet? No. However, it is considered that in order to be successful, the thesis must “(i) be of a standard to merit publication in whole or in part or in a revised form (for example, as a monograph or as a number of articles in learned journals)”.

    Besides, a thesis which is accepted for the award of a Research Degree is placed in the Imperial College Library.
  • Strengths:

    -Compare to other countries, completion rates tend to be high.
    -A tutorial system that fosters a close working relationship supervisors/student.
    -High employability rate.


    -High fees.
    -Lack of specialised postgraduate courses on translation.
  • Yes. In fact, all the documentation is available on the internet: