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Durham University

Colleges & wider student experience

Student news

How to escape your PhD

(26 January 2021)

Digital escape rooms

The virtual escape rooms will be available from Thursday 28 Jan 2021

As of this Thursday, students have one hour to solve a puzzle to escape their PhD!

Our academics are finding creative new ways to support postgraduate students in the form of digital escape rooms to help them navigate their PhD.

These digital escape rooms are designed by postgrads, for postgrads, with the aim of raising awareness and discussion of a range of issues and skills related to successfully completing a PhD.

Different PhD themes

Originally conceived pre-pandemic, escape rooms were created for staff during a leadership forum in the Oriental Museum.

With the onset of the Covid-19 restrictions, Professor Simon Rees decided to jump on the trend of virtual escape rooms: "We have provided a brief that gives current and prospective postgrads everything they need to understand what a PhD entails but in the form of a puzzle.

The rooms have been designed by the Postgraduate Escape Room team consisting of Henna Bains, Robin Watson, Mariam Sarhan, Patricia Manzano-Rodriguez and Aoiffe Curran, and are themed around different areas of a PhD, including referencing, supervisor meetings, and collecting data..

"With each puzzle themed around these aspects it means that, when they solve them, they end up with a final solution that will hopefully give them some insight into the requirements of undertaking a PhD.

An hour to escape

"We’re using it as a prompt to engage in a discussion with students about what faces them, allowing us to raise awareness of the services that are available when undertaking a PhD at Durham"

The virtual escape rooms will be available to current students from Thursday 28 Jan 2021 as bookable events.