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Department of Social Anthropology


It is a condition of those students holding Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Gates funding that they submit their work for appraisal. An interim appraisal is also a means of helping and supporting all of our writing-up students in a way that is complementary to the guidance they receive from their Supervisor. It is intended for everyone, including students who are clearly making very good progress.

Appraisal normally takes place nine months after return from the field but the date will be determined on an individual basis in consultation with their Supervisor. The interim appraisal involves the presentation of written work for consideration by an appraiser, followed by a face-to-face interview.

In order to prepare for your appraisal, students are asked to submit the following items for informal feedback and discussion with the appraiser.

  • A plan for your thesis, draft abstract, and timeline for completion of your thesis. The thesis plan should take the form of a contents page, with a brief summary and word count for each chapter.
  • Substantial synopses of 500 to 1,000 words each for two chapters of your thesis.
  • A sample of a more fully drafted work on which you would particularly welcome feedback (i.e. a section of a chapter of up to 3,000 words). Where necessary a full chapter (of approximately 8,000 to 10,000 words) may be requested.

The appraisal will be carried out by a senior member of the Department appointed by the PhD Committee, usually the student’s Faculty Advisor, who will read the materials submitted and hold an interview with the student.

The interview will be in appraisal (not examination) mode. Students will have the opportunity to raise questions as well as be asked them. Feedback will normally be given at the interview, with a brief report available to the student, their Supervisor and the PhD Committee.