Development of the PhD Degree in Britain, 1917-1959 and Since. An Evolutionary and Statistical History in Higher Education

Author: Simpson, Renate
Examines the first half-century of the British PhD. The work begins with a study of the development of the new degree from the point of view of the decision-making bodies of the Universities - Senates, Faculty Boards, the teaching staff and the administrators. The second part provides detailed statistics and analysis on Faculties, Departments, overseas students, year of admission, gender, age, completion rates and duration of studies, part-time study and staff candidates, with more than 200 Tables and Figures.


“To describe Renate Simpson’s work in this book as statistical history would itself be congratulatory, but it is a great deal more than that. It is also outstandingly careful, meticulous detective work which addresses issues and implications.” – Prof. Harold Silver, University of Plymouth

“. . . will not only be a record of the past but also has the potential to impact on present and future policies in respect of higher degrees. It is clear from this study that many of the practices that are thought to be innovatory have substantial histories and that we can learn from their trajectories of success and failure.” – Prof. Richard Aldrich, University of London

“. . . Renate Simpson has not just accessed a treasure trove of material ; she has produced one herself. In the second part of the book, under the heading of ‘The 8ritish PhD in Numbers’, she has extracted and presented hugely rich and rich data on institutions, disciplines, student profiles and completion times — all sourced arid accompanied by insightful commentaries.” – Prof. Chris Caswill, Wiltshire

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
Some Explanatory Notes
Foreword by Prof. Harold Silver
Part I: Evolution of the PhD in Britain
1. The First Hurdle
2. The course of studies I
3. The course of studies II
4. The end product – the thesis
5. The ordeal
6. The verdict – the outcome
7. Part-time students and staff candidates
Part II: The British PhD in Numbers
1. Overview of the PhD population
2a. What PhD students studied – the Faculties
2b. What PhD students studied – the Departments
3. PhD students’ origins – University or country or first degree
4. Gender ands the PhD
5. How old were PhD students?
6. Part-time study and staff candidates
7a. Who got a PhD? What makes a completer? (I)
7b. Who got a PhD? What makes a completer? (II)
8a. How long did they take? Duration of studies – from admission to completion (I)
8b. How long did they take? Duration of studies – from admission to completion (II)
8c. How long did they stay? – Non-completers’ duration of studies
9. How PhD part-timers and staff candidates fared – completion and duration of studies