(as per Appendix VII of the Department of Materials Graduate Course Handbook)
The purpose of this statement is to indicate what a graduate research student might expect to be offered in the Department of Materials. It is expected that during a graduate’s first term at Oxford, each graduate student and their supervisor will discuss the statement of provision, and, by means of the six-monthly Project Management Forms and the termly Graduate Supervision Reports, the student and supervisor will confirm any individualised provision as it applies to that student. The provision should be reviewed by the supervisor with the student at least once a year.
As a Materials research student you are also a member of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division’s Graduate School (https://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/graduate-school) with access to its resources and support.
1. What arrangements will be put in place for supervising the graduate’s work?
You will have a named supervisor or supervisors, normally as indicated in your offer letter, who will have overall responsibility for the direction of your work on behalf of the Department. Typically, you should expect to have meetings with your supervisor or a member of the supervisory team with a frequency of at least once a fortnight averaged across the year. The regularity of these meetings may be subject to variations according to the time of the year, and the stage you are at in your research programme. Please note that this is a minimum and your supervisors may require more frequent meetings. The MPLS Division publishes a Code of Practice for Research Supervision (https://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/graduate-school/information-for-postgraduate-research-students/supervision). If you are co-supervised one of your Oxford supervisors will be designated by the Department as your Lead Supervisor, this reflects certain responsibilities they have to the Department and not necessarily the proportion of time they devote to your supervision compared to your other supervisor(s).
2. What induction arrangements will be made?
You will have Departmental Induction at the beginning of your first term. The main induction to the Department is provided at the start of Michaelmas Term. Other arrangements will be made for students starting at other times of the year. Your supervisor(s) will arrange more specialised induction subsequently. The main set of slides from the most recent Departmental Induction event can be found at https://materialsoutreach.web.ox.ac.uk/teaching/pg/pginduction.
3. What workspace will be provided?
Workspace will be related to individual circumstances. If undertaking experimental work, you will be provided with bench space, or its equivalent, in a laboratory and, where possible, with shared office space. If undertaking theory or computational modelling research, you will have shared office space.
4. What IT support/ library facilities/ experimental facilities will be available?
You will have access to the Department of Materials IT Support Team, the Joint Materials and Engineering Student Workshop (after completing workshop induction), the Department of Materials Library (in addition to the RSL and other University libraries, and centrally provided electronic resources). Experimental and materials modelling facilities are available as appropriate to your research topic. The provision of other resources specific to your project should be agreed with your supervisor as a part of the planning stages of the agreed project. Details of the facilities mentioned above and others are given in the Department Handbook (https://materialsoutreach.web.ox.ac.uk/local/DH.html) and at http://www-omcs.materials.ox.ac.uk. Library resources for Materials Science are outlined at http://ox.libguides.com/materials. Your college has a library too.
5. Which research seminars will be available?
You will have access to Departmental Seminars and Colloquia in the Department of Materials, and many of those offered by other departments too. You will also have access to the additional seminars that individual research groups or groups with common areas of interest organise for their own members and others. See https://materialsoutreach.web.ox.ac.uk/news/colloquia.html.
6. What access to research funds will be available?
You will find that limited Department funds are available to assist with attendance at conferences, in addition to any allocated funds via individual research groups/supervisors.
In the Department of Materials it is the responsibility of individual research groups to provide appropriate desktop or laptop computing facilities. They are allocated a budget for this purpose. Your supervisor will have a small budget to cover both day-to-day consumables used in your project and other minor costs.
7. What formal graduate skills training will be provided?
As appropriate to the different stages of your graduate career, you will have the opportunity to attend a variety of skills training sessions and specific research training offered by the Department, as described in the Department’s ‘Graduate Course Handbook’ and ‘Postgraduate Lecture & Training Course Synopses and Research Colloquia Details’ booklet (https://materialsoutreach.web.ox.ac.uk/teaching/pg/pghandbooks). The slides from many of the generic skills training workshops are available at https://materialsoutreach.web.ox.ac.uk/teaching/pg/pgskills, although these cannot fully substitute for engaging in discussion & group exercises at the live workshops.
The MPLS Division also organises courses and career planning events. Information about Divisional training and other courses offered across the University is available at https://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/training. This site provides information about academic courses, research-specific skills training, and transferable careers skills development for research students and research staff at Oxford University, and includes a searchable database of all courses, links to articles on subjects such as project management, teaching and career planning, and a skills blog.
8. What opportunities will be available for developing and practising teaching skills?
The Materials Department, the MPLS Division and the Oxford Learning Institute provide resources to support the development of research students and post-docs who aspire to follow an academic career, including training in teaching skills. Information about teaching skills training and teaching opportunities provided by the Department of Materials, including opportunities to contribute to our Outreach to Schools programme, can be found in the three sources given in (7) above and in the General Scheme of Lectures and the Termly Lecture Lists found at https://materialsoutreach.web.ox.ac.uk/teaching/lecturelists.html. These teaching opportunities are NOT restricted to those who declare a wish to follow an academic career. See also https://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/training/course-programme-for-graduate-students/preparing-for-learning-and-teaching-at-oxford-plto-tutors-and-class-assistants.
9. What arrangements for accommodation, meals and social facilities, will be made, on a year round basis?
Research students can use the Parks View Cafeteria in the Holder Building and the Café at the Begbroke Science Park. The former facility is shared by all staff and students of the Departments of Materials and of Engineering Science and facilitates interaction between different research groups and with support staff. Departmental seminars, colloquia, training workshops and the annual DPhil Poster Competition bring research students together with academic and other research staff in the Department to hear about on-going research and to develop new skills and provide an opportunity for networking and socialising. In addition to many ad hoc social events that take place, the Department’s graduate student-staff liaison committee (the JCCG) organises a number of social events including free coffee once a week for all graduate students and final year undergraduates, a subsidised evening social event in Michaelmas Term and a subsidised summer barbeque.
Many colleges will be able to provide you with at least one year’s accommodation. Generally speaking your college will provide meals throughout the year, but provision will vary from college to college, especially during vacations, and you will need to familiarise yourself with your college’s detailed arrangements. In addition there are usually self-catering facilities available in graduate accommodation. You will be a member of the Middle Common Room, or equivalent, of your college, which is the main social centre for graduates. The MCR provides a common room and usually organises a programme of social events throughout the year. The college will also provide a bar, some computing facilities and a library, and often may have dedicated funds for research (conference and field grants). It also represents the interests of its members to the college through an elected Committee or through elected representatives to College Committees. Again, details will vary from college to college. Graduates are also welcome to participate in all other social and sporting activities of the college. Please see individual college websites for further details about all aspects of college provision.
Graduate Research Students may become members of the University Club in Mansfield Road, and participate in the range of sporting activities provided by the University.
10. What arrangements are in place for pastoral and welfare support?
Within the Department, your Supervisor(s), Director of Graduate Studies, Graduate Studies Secretary and Departmental Advisor are all available to offer support. Through its weekly coffee event the Joint Consultative Committee for Graduates (JCCG) provides an informal forum for discussion and guidance. The JCCG also provides a channel through which graduate students’ views and concerns can be brought to the attention of the Department of Materials Academic Committee.
There is an extensive framework of support for graduates within each college. Your college will allocate to you a College Advisor from among its Senior Members, usually in a cognate subject, who normally will arrange to see you from time to time and whom you may contact for additional advice and support on academic and other matters. In college you may also approach the Tutor for Graduates and/or the Senior Tutor for advice. The Tutor for Graduates is a fellow of the college with particular responsibility for the interests and welfare of graduate students. In some colleges, the Senior Tutor will also have the role of Tutor for Graduates. Each college will also have other named individuals who can offer individual advice.
The University provides:
- A professionally staffed confidential Student Counselling Service which offers assistance with personal, emotional, social and academic problems (http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/counselling)
- A Careers Service (http://www.careers.ox.ac.uk/)
- A Disability Advisory Service (http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/disability)
- A Student Visa & Immigration Office (http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/visa)
- Student-led peer support (together with the Oxford University Students Union) (http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/peer)