How long is the postgraduate research program?
The success of doctoral studies is based on the traditional requirement for original scholarship which will make a material contribution to the candidate's chosen field. In order to accomplish this, each doctoral candidate develops a project of study, research and practice which provides the raw material for a project or dissertation within the chosen discipline.
PhD programmes generally last four years for internal students and five years for external students, and students are expected to submit a thesis within this period.
In the first year, students normally devote themselves to identifying a topic and surveying as much pertinent literature as possible to prove the originality of their research. Here, they will have guidance from their academic supervisor. The second and third years are spent on the work required to prove their hypotheses and to formulate specific conslusions. Most of the final year of Ph.D study is spent on writing up the thesis.
When this programme is completed, the project, traditionally called a "dissertation", must be presented for discussion and evaluation. The dissertation must first be defined and negotiated, and then presented and defended. The defence phase may take place over a period of several months. This will determine whether the candidate has made an original contribution to his or her field of study.