Conceptualising the PhD as preparing for academic practice in geography

Publication Type:
Journal Article
GeoJournal, 2015, 80 (2), pp. 203 - 207
Issue Date:
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© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. This paper situates the geography PhD within the broader context of doctoral education. It addresses questions relating to the PhD as preparation for future academic work. Theoretical and practical ideas are woven through a discussion of the work of the Centre for Excellence in Preparing for Academic Practice, at the University of Oxford, UK. The Centre initiated wide-ranging reforms and has had lasting impacts, with a philosophy of remaining sensitive to disciplinary context. The paper argues that cultural historical activity theory is a useful lens for understanding challenges in contemporary doctoral education, and responses to them. Key concepts are outlined, and a worked example provided, drawing from the Centre’s work. Connections are made with relevant initiatives specific to geography.
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