- Postgraduate researchers
- Premia- resources for disabled researchers
- Support for disabled researchers
- Why do a doctorate?
- Advice from your peers on whether to do a doctorate
Advice from your peers on whether to do a doctorate
Below are some recommendations and advice from disabled postgraduate researchers which may help you come to a more informed decision. They can also prompt you to ask the right questions to universities you want to apply to, and help you to anticipate and plan your strategies.
‘Once you have identified a problem, address it immediately with supervisor, colleague or external intermediary. Once problems are resolved, don't sit back and assume they will not happen again. Be proactive and capitalise on your successes, however small.’Postgraduate researcher with auto-immune condition
‘It is vital to establish good support networks ... If your immediate colleagues are unsupportive, look to a wider field for it e.g. university disability support unit, careers service, UK GRAD. These have been highly influential in my development as a researcher, and the advice provided by them will remain with me beyond the PhD.’Postgraduate researcher with auto-immune condition
‘Finding a good support network around you(through) which you can address ...issues is very important. Maybe it might be useful to find a group of students with other disability-related issues (who are) trying to deal with the same problems who you could meet with for additional support. Since the nature of research, particularly within the social science and humanities fields, is quite solitary, such peer support might prove quite useful.’Postgraduate researcher with hidden disabilities
‘I’d recommend joining (or even setting up) an extracurricular group related to your subject – not to mention the various clubs available at university.’Postgraduate researcher with RSI
‘It’s academically challenging, but extremely rewarding. Can be very isolated, so you need to be able to deal with having to push hard for help, or to make adjustments.’Postgraduate researcher with mobility impairment
‘I would strongly advise potential disabled students to make a site visit and meet the disability service team before committing to study at any institution, to try to make sure they will get the support they think they are being offered. I would also advise that they keep copies of all written correspondence on access issues, to use in case of misunderstanding or dispute. Having said that, don’t let the barriers put you off. In my experience, research study is a great way both in making sense of your own experiences and in giving you the bigger picture on key issues.’Postgraduate researcher with cerebral palsy
Finally, if you think postgraduate research is for you:
‘Go for it. Find a subject you are interested in, and supervisors you can work with! It will be hard work but there is no reason you cannot be successful with your studies. Make sure family, partners and friends are aware that you are going to undertake postgraduate research as it is likely they will be sharing the experience as well.’Postgraduate researcher with dyslexia