ESRC review of the PhD in Social Sciences: our response

The Chartered ABS has submitted a response to the Economic and Social Research Council’s consultation on its review of the PhD in the Social Sciences.

Our members feel that while the UK has a strong PhD offering in the Social Sciences, international competitiveness could be enhanced if doctoral programmes were extended to four years with the first year dedicated to training in research methods. The three year PhD does not provide enough time for students to develop a wide range of skills and produce high-quality publications before graduation. We also believe that the potential for the Doctorate of Business Administration to make a significant contribution to the UK research ecosystem is not being fully recognised and deserves more support and incentives. More can also be done to enhance the role that PhDs can play in bridging the divide between the academic and non-academic worlds, including through industry-sponsored doctorates. Support should be provided to strengthen connections between doctoral programmes in the UK and abroad, including through Doctoral Training Partnerships. Our members recognise the unique challenges facing PhD students and suggest a range of measures that can be adopted to safeguard mental health and well-being.

The ESRC Review of the PhD in the Social Sciences aims to ensure PhD training is fit for the future, supports a diverse population of students and remains internationally competitive. The ESRC issued an open consultation to inform the review and the Chartered ABS submitted a response based on views from our members. You can read our response to the consultation in full here.