• id
  • username
  • 2009-06-15
  • UK
  • Aston University
  • Christina Schäffner
  • Professor of Translation Studies, Director of Translation Studies / Associate, Dean Postgraduate Programmes
  • Ubaldo Stecconi
  • Mainly my own institution, but to a large extent to England as well
  • PhD; yes, can be called PhD in Translation Studies
  • According to university regulations, 3 years for full-time study, but in reality most people need 4-5 years to complete
  • Not at the moment
  • Entry requirements are normally a Masters’ degree, but very good results in a Bachelor’s degree can also suffice for admission. For a Bachelor’s it’s normally 3-4 year,s a Master’s programme is normally 12 months. Mature applicants can also be admitted if they have sufficient equivalent experience (but has happened only once just recently at my university, admission on basis of vast experience and evidence of previous research)
  • You don’t need a BA or MA explicitly in Translation Studies, but a related discipline would be wanted (e.g. languages, linguistics). I haven’t had any applicant yet who came from a different background, and I doubt we would admit such an applicant.
  • Applicants need to complete an application form (see and submit an outline of their planned research (approx. 10 pages). Application is received by research coordinator who passes it on to head of relevant subject area who will look at it and, if applicable, pass on to colleague who might be a supervisor. If application is judged appropriate in subject area and a supervisor can be found, the Associate Dean Research is informed (form returned to him/her with an accompanying cover form completed and signed). Offer letter is then sent to applicant and Associate Dean Research and Research Committee officially approve registration and supervisor (and associate supervisor as and if appropriate). Since we expect a research proposal and an outline, this means applicants are free to choose their topic.
  • Process described above. Criteria: quality of the research proposal, is it doable in the time allowed? Is qualified supervision possible? Does applicant have a MA (or very good BA)? Are reference letters supportive? For international students as well: the required IELTS score of 7.0 (English language test)
  • Students pay annual fees, set annually by university, and different for UK/EU and International students. School has a few scholarships available (mainly fees-only bursaries) which applicants can apply for, selection based on competition. Also possibility to apply to UK Research Councils for funding, in particular Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
  • Students are expected to attend seminars in Research methods, offered to all PhD students in our school, not separately done for subject area. For TS, we do some additional sessions, more ad hoc, based on some reading. No ECTS attached to programme.
  • No, PhD students in TS are invited/encouraged to go along to some sessions of the MA Translation programmes (esp. the sessions for the module Theoretical concepts of Translation Studies). In some cases, PhD students may be asked to contribute to teaching on BA or MA programme.
  • They are invited to give talks about their research within the programme of the School’s research centres. And they are encouraged to attend CETRA. We also encourage them to go to conferences. There is no national coordination as such, but PhD students in TS themselves organise regular conferences for TS (with the initiative having started at Aston about 5 years ago).
  • Length according to regulations: 80,000 – 1000,000 words; written in English or any language taught in our schools (currently French, German, Spanish); 3 years full-time in Regulations, but up to 5 years in practice (although Research Councils are now much stricter in monitoring completion rate – no longer than 4 years, otherwise universities may not be considered for fee applications); PhD by publication is a possibility, but only for mature/experienced candidates (and very rare).
  • Nothing formal, if fieldwork abroad is necessary for research, school will pay (part of) costs.
  • Entitled: anybody who has a PhD. Internal supervisor from own university, associate supervisor if appropriate (e.g. if topic is of an interdisciplinary nature); new supervisors get an advisor, roles are defined in University Regulations and in Code of Practice. If necessary, an external contact can be appointed (normally for topics related to industry, but not usually from abroad)
  • Maximum 2; joint supervision possible if topic requires it, not usual, but team supervision is more and more encouraged
  • Structured in the sense that we need to complete reports for each meeting (there is a pro-forma). Reports are signed by both and copy kept in student’s files; in addition: annual monitoring of progress: forms to be completed and signed by supervisor, student, including confidential report by student about supervision. After year 1: student needs to submit a qualifying report on the basis of which plus a viva decision will be taken as to proceed to PhD, or carry on for MPhil or withdraw.
  • Viva to be conducted by internal and external examiner, usually 2 hours, independent chair. Supervisor is allowed to attend (if student agrees) but must not take part in examination and decision taking. Decision: accept as it is, request minor changes, request major changes, resubmit, fail.
  • Not compulsory but encouraged, a list of publications needs to be added; thesis can be submitted loosely bound before viva, and the final one bound according to University guidelines.
  • Strengths: regulatory framework
    Weaknesses (in my personal view): viva system (since not public)
  • Joint statement 2001. “Joint Statement of Skills Training Requirements of Research Postgraduates.” Available at!eaLXeFl#Joint Statement of Skills Training Requirements of Research Postgraduates (2001.