Doctor of Philosophy
Testimonials from recent graduates
Dr. Peter Chamberlain, PhD/Master of Psychology (Clinical) - Graduated 2010
Reflecting on the short time since completing my combined Clinical Masters/PhD program in 2010, I realise how fortunate I have been. My qualifications were of immediate benefit as I was employed before I graduated. My first twelve months was with Country Health SA as a clinician with the Clare Community Mental Health Team, which proved to be a wonderful experience. During that time I was given many opportunities, including working within the Rural and Remote inpatient service, and I became a member of the SA Suicide Prevention Strategy Working Group. I am currently working in a specialist mental health service within the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network and engaged in clinical and research activities. I have maintained connections with the School of Psychology as a Visiting Research Fellow and I am currently supervising an Honours Year student and co-supervising a PhD candidate. I attribute much of my brief success to my experiences at the University of Adelaide and the very positive influence of several academic staff members within the School of Psychology; life is good.
Dr. Stuart Ekberg, PhD - Graduated 2011
I studied in the School for around seven years and was awarded both a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons.) and a Ph.D. During my studies, I became increasingly interested in the real-world analysis of human social life, especially in social interaction. My doctoral thesis explained how people make arrangements for the future with one another. Rather than using contrived data, such as from experiments or interviews, I used recordings of actual telephone conversations to maximise the ecological validity of my findings.
By the time I had submitted by thesis, I was working as a Research Fellow in the Medical Education Development Unit at the University of Southampton (UK). I was still focusing on human social interaction, this time identifying ways in which healthcare students access 'hands on' learning in the early stages of their clinical placements.
I subsequently moved to the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol (UK), where I've worked as a Research Associate examining how therapists and clients engage in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) via a text-based online modality (in other words, a 'chat room'). Again, I've extended the interests that I originally developed in Adelaide, exploring how social interaction is accomplished in this unique context by studying actual sessions of online CBT.
Throughout my postdoctoral work, I've maintained links with the University of Adelaide as a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Psychology. My ongoing connections with the School continue to benefit my research into how people behave in different social settings.
The Structured Program
The Structured Program in the School of Psychology has two components:
- The Core Component, which involves all incoming students; and,
- The Directed Studies Component, which individual students may be required to take, to prepare them for their research.
The Core Component to the Structured Program consists of two aspects, to be completed in the first six months of candidature.
- Attending all sessions in a Postgraduate Seminar Program, planned in advance at the beginning of the year, to run weekly throughout Seminar I.
- Presenting the thesis proposal within the Postgraduate Seminar Program.
Submission of Report and Outline of Proposed Research
The Report must be completed by the Postgraduate Coordinator before submission by the student to REDC upon completion of the Structured Program. At the same time, the student is also required to submit an outline of the proposed research on the prescribed form to REDC.
The Thesis Proposal
All HDR students must present this within the first 3-6 months of candidature, and it will therefore be based on preliminary work. Nonetheless, it should present a topic, supported by a body of relevant knowledge, derive a theoretical framework, formulate and justify a research question, outline a possible process, and so on. The aim here is to provide an opportunity for feedback from a variety of sources about early thoughts and plans.
Postgraduate Student Conference
All HDR students during the second year of candidature and beyond are expected to present a 30 minute seminar (including question time) at the annual Postgraduate Student Conference. These presentations form part of the Annual Review process beyond first year. The justification for participation in this program is that it disseminates information about ongoing research more widely, and provides valuable experience in making a public presentation.
Annual and Major Reviews of Progress
All HDR students (including those on intermission or any form of leave) are required by the University to undergo an Annual Review of Progress, usually during September-October, and a Major Review, currently at the end of 12 months of candidature. The University posts the relevant materials to each student’s semester address. (Note that it is very important, if you change your address, to notify both the General Office of the School of PsychologyAND Graduate Studies). It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that this process is completed by the deadline permitted.
The purposes of the annual review are to evaluate progress during the review period and to set achievement goals for the next 12 months. Satisfactory progress in terms of the allowable timeline is the main focus. This School’s policy requires that HDR students make a presentation within the School during both the second and third years of (full-time) candidature. This presentation can be made at either the Postgraduate Student Conference or the School Seminar Program.
The Annual Review is linked with renewal of scholarships and with re-enrolment for the following year, and fairly hefty fines attach to late returns; and failing to address these will lead very quickly to withdrawal from candidature.
The Major Review is the point at which candidature is reviewed to determine the shift from the initial provisional to confirmed status.