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Documenting Hargeysa, Somaliland (Christina Woolner, 2017)



Students should be aware that some fieldwork is necessary for the majority of MPhil dissertations. Fieldwork should be taken during the Christmas, Easter or summer vacation periods, not during term time. The Department offers all MPhil students a short course on fieldwork and research methods during Michaelmas Term. Please ensure that you have read the University of Cambridge Guidance for the Safe Conduct of Fieldwork and Work Away.  You need to agree the details of your fieldwork with your supervisor and bear the following points in mind:


Leave to Work Away

Before students depart for their period of fieldwork students must obtain official ‘Leave to Work Away’ and complete a Fieldwork Risk Assessment and Ethical Statement Form.  You should apply for ‘Leave to Work Away’ for all absences over two weeks. This must be initiated through your CamSIS self-service account during the term prior to departure.  For more information please see the University's advice for those applying for Leave to Work Away. If your absence is less than two weeks you do not need to complete a Leave to Work Away request but should still complete a Risk Assessment and Ethical Statement form.


Risks and safety

The first week of the Michaelmas term includes a Graduate Safety Course, on Tuesday 3 October, which you must attend.   Please ensure that you have read the University of Cambridge Guidance for the Safe Conduct of Fieldwork and Work Away.

Before leaving for the field you must have discussed with your supervisor any possible risks and dangers involved in your field research and must be adequately insured. You must make contingency plans should things go wrong, inform the Department, your College and your next of kin of these plans, and ensure that all the parties concerned have the relevant contact details.

Before you depart for the field, you are required to submit a Fieldwork Risk Assessment and Ethical Statement Form signed by your supervisor and the MPhil Tutor. The form is your guarantee that you have considered the risks involved and put in place the necessary arrangements.  Those students traveling to high risk areas should complete the additional Section 3 Form.



You should ensure that you have sufficient insurance in place before departing for the field. The University offers free travel insurance to students conducting overseas fieldwork.