Sorry, this is a very belated post as I handed in my PhD last week on Tuesday, July 30 (1 day before my absolute deadline). So yes, by now I’ve nearly had an entire week of “relaxing”.
It hasn’t actually been relaxing at all. I handed in on Tuesday, then my flatmates and I went out to a celebratory dinner on Tuesday night, then went and watched Pacific Rim with some other friends aftewards. I put an afternoon tea together for my dept on Wed – so all morning Wed was spent baking, and I put together coffee hour for OUPS (Otago Postgrad Society) on Wed afternoon. Then Sat, we had a party with friends at my flat, so somehow Thurs, Fri and Sat were spent doing party preparations like cleaning and cooking. So yesterday felt like my first day off. I’m taking today as well. Then it will be back in to start writing my papers tomorrow. Oh joy. Also, I’m giving a presentation in a couple of weeks for post grad day in my dept.
My goal now (blog-wise) is to upload the outfit photos I’ve missed recently. 😀
So a little bit about handing in… It’s very anti-climatic. I spent Monday afternoon printing. Which, may surprise you to hear, took several hours. Why? Well, printing 4 copies of ~235 pages on 100gsm matte paper… Each chapter was a separate word file. So it wasn’t like I could just hit print once. Why was each chapter a separate word file? Apparently word becomes unstable after more than 50 pages. Each file had to be converted into a PDF before printing. Some of my equations didn’t convert to PDF so those pages had to be printed separately and re-inserted. Some pages needed to be in colour so those were also printed separately (on a different printer) and inserted. Then I found mistakes which of course we couldn’t leave them so they had to be edited, re-printed and inserted. Oh, and each copy also had to be checked. So yes, printing took hours. Tuesday morning I dropped it off to be soft bound and then had to wait a couple of hours and well, that was that. Walked over to the doctoral office and handed it over. Received my chocolate fish (it’s a very iconic Otago thing – you had in your PhD – they give you a chocolate fish… I don’t know, it’s a tradition and it’s kind of a big deal. I’m almost unsure as to whether I should even eat my fish). It was a pretty good feeling.
But it’s also scary because I know that there are probably a few mistakes. Hopefully I’ve caught most of them. Hopefully I’ve caught most of the major ones. But it is scary to think that now my PhD is being sent off all over the world to be read by 3 people who will hopefully deem that it is worthy. I’m not to anxious – I trust that my supervisors wouldn’t have let me hand in something that wasn’t going to be good enough, but you never know. The examiners will each have different opinions and expectations.
However, here is a description of Otago’s PhD requirements:
A successful PhD thesis will demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conduct original research and to
present the findings of that research to a professional standard. The thesis should give evidence that the
candidate has made a significant contribution to knowledge in the particular field. On the award of the
degree, the graduate should be a person capable of conceiving, designing and carrying out high-quality
research in the area of their expertise without supervision.
Examiners of PhD theses are asked specifically to respond to the following questions:
• Does the thesis comprise a coherent investigation of the chosen topic?
• Does the thesis deal with a topic of sufficient range and complexity to meet the requirements of the
• Does the thesis make an original contribution to knowledge in its field and contain material suitable
for publication in an appropriate academic journal?
• Does the thesis meet internationally recognised standards for the conduct and presentation of
research in its field?
• Does the thesis demonstrate both a thorough knowledge of the literature relevant to its subject and
general field and the candidate’s ability to exercise critical and analytical judgement of that
• Does the thesis display a mastery of appropriate methodology and/or theoretical material?
As the highest degree awarded by the University of Otago for research supervised by members of the
academic staff, the PhD requires a high degree of scholarly acumen, independence and perseverance.
So there you have it. Now I wait (although hopefully I will receive my results within 2-4 months).