First students to graduate from Joint PhD programmes

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As part of its co-working with international partners, King’s College London is now offering a growing range of Joint PhDs in which students are supervised by academic staff at King’s and also one of our partner universities, spending  time in both universities.

Two PhD students have now become the first to graduate from these programmes.

Sarah Downes undertook a PhD in English, jointly awarded by the University of Hong Kong (HKU). She began her course in 2011 and was supervised by Dr Anna Snaith at King’s and Dr Otto Heim at HKU.

Gao Shuang undertook a PhD in Language, Discourse & Communication, jointly awarded with the National University of Singapore (NUS). She began her PhD in 2009 and was supervised by Professor Ben Rampton at King’s and Associate Professor Joseph Sung-Yul Park at NUS.

A Joint PhD programme results in one qualification awarded by both King’s College London and the partner institution. Students benefit from access to learning resources in both locations.

Studying at more than one institution allows students access to the resources and expertise of different departments and may, in some cases, enable them to work between disciplines. Students can make professional and personal contacts that may help future career opportunities and, upon completion of their studies, receive a qualification from two internationally recognised institutions.

Joint PhD programmes are available across King’s Schools, including the School of Arts & Humanities, the School of Biomedical Sciences, the Global Institutes, the School of Medicine, School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery and the School of Social Science & Public Policy. Further details can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Dual Process

Sarah Downes, Joint PhD in English at King’s and HKU said: ‘Having completed my upgrade at King’s during my first year, I felt I was well placed to begin the second phase of my PhD at HKU. Working in a new department in a new academic environment has stimulated my research, taking it into a different direction; one that was unexpected yet proving fruitful. I am already seeing the benefits of the dual process. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to really immerse myself into Hong Kong life. The support from both departments has been incredible, and I feel fortunate that my academic future will hopefully be supported by the connections I am making both in Asia and in Europe.’

Gao Shuang, Joint PhD in Language, Discourse and Communication at King’s and NUS said: ‘Working and living in different environments can be daunting in the first place, but in the end it’s all worth it. Throughout my study, I received intellectual and moral support from my supervisors at both universities. Doing a Joint PhD also means being immersed in different academic traditions, joining a wider academic community, and in the process learning to challenge orthodoxies and push knowledge boundaries in creative ways. As I am now graduating, I am most grateful to my two supervisors for their extraordinary mentorship. At the same time, I look forward to future opportunities to return as an alumna of both!’

Two research cultures

Professor Vaughan Robinson, Director of the Graduate School at King’s, added: ‘We are incredibly proud of our Joint PhD programmes. They attract outstanding and adventurous students and allow our academics to work with other world class researchers elsewhere in the world. I would like to congratulate our first two graduands from these programmes with HKU and NUS and wish them well in their future careers. I am sure the experience of having studied in two research cultures and countries will stand them in excellent stead’.


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