Starting the PhD

This is really good blog. Great for starting off.

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The PhD is a big undertaking. Your association with the university is going to last for some time. So it’s as well to know some basics at the start.

The first thing to understand is that a university is a complex organisation. It has grown like Topsy. It isn’t rational; some bits of it will work better than others. It is, like all bureaucracies, indifferent to you in significant ways – the university deals with all doctoral students in much the same way. That bureaucratic indifference is both a strength and a weakness, because procedural rules are designed to prevent people demanding and getting special treatment. Adherence to standardised rules and forms and process is the way in which bureaucracies do their work. Of course, some people do require something different from their university, and there are separate processes, sometimes pretty idiosyncratic, that are put into place so that something other than the standard process can occur.

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