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Perennial Questions after a Humanities MA: How to Combat PhD Rejection and March on

Author: Eugenia Russell

Type: Briefing report

Perennial Questions 

This article approaches the complex issues facing graduates of MA courses considering a PhD in a Humanities discipline. The individualistic and subjective nature of a Humanities PhD as well as the economic and social pressures that arise from the fact that it is increasingly modeled upon its Science counterpart, make decisions nothing but straightforward. Scholarly work on this subject has been done mainly in the Social Sciences and Modern Languages and then again not specifically on the transition from MA to PhD. This article is setting a hypothetical scenario of having had a PhD proposal rejected because this scenario offers rich opportunities for discussing the issues of transition that are generally unspoken of within the postgraduate community. It is therefore addressed not only to candidates with that particular experience but to all postgraduates and also to doctoral supervisors and education practitioners at large. Although the article is mainly concerned with developments in the UK, it has a relevance to scholars internationally not only for the purposes of comparison with their own country but also for outlining the possibility of becoming part of the UK educational system either as students or staff. It will also allow comparisons with existing articles specifically written for other countries, of which there is a sizeable body.

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