First-Year Researchers

Compulsory Requirements for the First Year of the Doctoral Programme

Seminar requirements

PhD researchers in their first year of the doctoral programme are asked to attend 4 seminars:

  • the Core Introductory Seminar in the 1st Term
  • a Departmental Seminar in the 1st or 2nd Term
  • a March Paper Training Seminar in the 2nd Term
  • a Research Seminar in the 1st or in the 2nd Term

Written requirements

  • Seminar Paper, by 17 December 2020
  • March Paper, by 7 March 2021
  • June Paper, by 1 June 2021


First-year Researchers’ Work-Plan

All first-year researchers will prepare a work plan in consultation with the supervisor or provisional supervisor. The plan will deal with the whole range of activities during the academic year – choice of seminars, seminar paper, March Paper, missions and June Paper – as well as identifying other special needs. The plan has to be agreed on and signed by both researcher and supervisor, and should be submitted by 13 November 2020 to the Departmental Coordinator. 

Please use this work-plan template.


Seminar Paper

First-year researchers are required to write a Seminar Paper and deliver it no later than 17 December 2020. This paper has to be in English and should represent a substantial piece of work, such as an essay of 5.000 words (including footnotes but not the bibliography). It must deal with a topic discussed in the chosen first-term seminar and agreed upon with the seminar convener and the supervisor.


March Paper and Thesis Monitoring Sessions

The first step in the dissertation work is the March Paper, a substantial paper to be delivered by 7 March 2021. This paper should outline the main issue of the dissertation and its research questions, discuss the relevant literature and put forward some tentative hypotheses. The paper is read by the Supervisor and the Second Reader.  

The First-Year Thesis Monitoring Sessions consist of the discussion on the March Paper and are meant to help researchers in designing their June Paper. On 12 and 15 March 2021 researchers discuss their work with their Supervisor and Second Reader. The supervisor will write a report on the March Paper and the monitoring session which will help the researcher to plan his/her future work. Researchers whose progress is deemed insufficient are given specific suggestions on how to address their weaknesses. 


Passage to the Second Year: June Paper

The June paper builds on the March Paper, taking into account the feedback from the March thesis monitoring session, and includes a new part based on the primary sources examined during the Spring research mission. These elements are to be framed in a general reflection on the issue, methods and objectives of the dissertation. Thus, the June paper – whose structure has to be discussed with the supervisor – usually consists of a revised discussion of the research questions contextualized within the relevant literature, along with an early case study. 

The June Paper is assessed by the Supervisor and by the Second Reader for the quality of both academic content and academic writing. The electronic file of the paper is to be submitted to the Departmental Coordinator by 1 June 2021. 

General formatting guidelines for June Papers

  • It is necessary to include a cover page stating the title of the paper, the name of the author, the name of the supervisor and second reader and the word count. Please use this cover page template
  • A table of contents would be important
  • Pages should be numbered throughout the paper
  • Take care also that the graphs, maps and tables are clear and easy to read 
  • While proofreading it may be useful to double-check our Brief Guide for Academic English

For further information please check pp. 40-44 of the Researchers' Guide








Page last updated on 12 April 2021

Back to top