Courses Catalogue

Doctoral Research Seminar

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Environmental Science
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
PROGRAMME TYPE: Postgraduate

Course Description



This course builds on the proposal developed during the semester. The purpose of this doctoral seminar is to stimulate critical, constructive and generous discussion of doctoral students’ research and writing in progress on topics of different interest; comparing empirical, pragmatic, phenomenological approaches; or exploring methodological and theoretical conflicts in research. The core assignment is a completion of a draft thesis chapter or full doctoral research proposal, based on the guidance of doctoral supervisor to the student. The doctoral seminar focuses on helping doctoral students to learn how to craft an argument, a fundamental building block of independent scholarship, including using theory to frame an argument; moving from data to an argument; and writing a literature review with a critical point of view. The seminar will further emphasize the connections between theory and method, and will prepare students to develop methodological and theoretical frameworks for their own doctoral research. Seminar goals are to prepare students to become reflexive members of a scholarly community through focused, intellectual discussion and inquiry, as well as through the development of specific research knowledge and skills.






Accordingly the doctoral seminar do not focus on a specific content area but instead are designed to provide students with an overview of the requirements for completing a doctoral thesis, and a forum for discussing thesis related concerns and issues with other students. In particular, the seminar emphasizes the development of the conceptual and research skills necessary for the completion of the doctoral thesis, including the formulation of the thesis proposal (selection of an area and topic, formulation of appropriate research questions/hypotheses, rationales etc.), the development of the skills necessary for identifying and critically evaluating published research relevant to the chosen dissertation topic, as well as an appropriate research methodology for empirically evaluating the hypotheses proposed. Ethical issues in the conduct of research and in the preparation of a written thesis proposal are also discussed.




By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

Explore the fields of research design, research proposal development and the conduct of research projects as applied to their thesis topic.

Conduct a focused review of the relevant literature and create appropriate conceptual framework,Develop a realistic research design with specific research strategies,think through and articulate a chapter-by-chapter outline of the intended dissertation,

Critique other’s ideas paying particular attention to both theoretical and methodological rigor and reality

write and defend their thesis proposal

Apply practical strategies to become successful researchers use theoretical and methodological tools to design and carry out doctoral thesis research think critically about the significance of theories and methods, and connections between them, and a welcoming forum to support one another as doctoral students.


A doctoral student completing the course is expected to:

Demonstrate their competence to carry out independent and original academic research.

Complete within a three-year fixed period of time a body of research that contributes significantly to knowledge (or within 6 years).

Present the results of their research to a standard equivalent to that of a peer-reviewed academic publication.

Demonstrate that they have acquired skills in oral presentation and sufficient confidence in their knowledge, ideas and abilities to be able to present and defend their academic work in front of their peers.

Apply theoretical and methodological understanding and skills into devising researchable ideas and specific research questions and hypotheses,

Communicate research ideas and their appropriate theoretical and methodological issues effectively and efficiently,

Gain understanding of the process of dissertation including stress, time, and project management, committee formation, dissertation proposition and defense, and human subjects reviews.