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wRiting, Submitting, Viva, and emPloyment (RSVP)

What is RSVP?

The RSVP course is for students who are approaching the end of their PhD, and is a blend of lectures and lively panel discussions to cover the fundamental things you need to know to make sure you get your PhD. We will have a range of expert speakers including staff from the Student Registry Office (formerly BoGS) to tell you the admin requirements, and experienced examiners to talk about the viva process. This runs every six months; roughly each summer and winter.



Feedback from the last course included:

  • "Very good session. Clearly useful and a must-attend for all final year PhD students. I was quite anxious as I am not entirely sure what to expect in my final year of PhD in terms of viva, thesis submission procedure, etc."
  • "This course definitely puts me more at ease and ready to tackle my final year with confidence!"
  • "I think the course is suitable for any student either at the end of their 2nd year or at the beginning of the third year of PhD study."  
  • "It has given me plenty of time to plan for my viva, as well as to think what I want to do afterwards."


  • 100% said that they intended to apply the skills, techniques and knowledge from the course
  • 94% said the event was useful for them


The Next Course Date

The next RSVP course will run on:

  • Thursday 23 January 2014
  • 0920 - 1700
  • Lecture Room 1, 8 Mill Lane, Cambridge (map)



Welcome and introduction

Dr Geraint Wyn Story Researcher Development Consultant for GSLS
Writing your dissertation and its practicalities Dr Martin Welch Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry
Starting to finish Dr Geraint Wyn Story Researcher Development Consultant for GSLS
Things you need to do before and when you submit Mrs Sarah Pickard Student Registry (formerly BoGS)
DSpace@Cambridge TBC
Your viva Dr David Sargan Group leader in the Vet School; Member of the School of Biological Sciences Degree Committee; previous Director of the GSLS
Viva Q&A session Dr David Sargan, Prof John Todd, Dr Kevin O'Shaughnessy Experienced viva examiners
Careers in academia Q&A session Dr David Sargan, Dr Anne Forde, Prof John Todd, Dr Kevin O'Shaughnessy, Dr David Kent, Mrs Karina Prasad  Group leader and Postdocs Careers Adviser
Careers outside academia Ms Katie Hewitt

Careers Adviser

Career support for women Mrs Karina Prasad

Office for Postdoctoral Affairs



The day will be informal and interactive; students are encouraged to ask questions to the speakers during the sessions.


Submit Your Questions to the Panel

There will be two panel discussion during the day:

  • The PhD Viva
  • Postdoc careers

You are encouarged to submit your questions to the panel in advance through this link.

Questions that are popular and/or pertinent will be selected and you may be asked to pitch your question to the panel. Depending on progress, the session will also include open questions from the audience.


Booking a Place

Places do need to be booked so materials and catering can be provided. You can book a place by clicking on this link.