The aim of this seminar is to engage IRPS PhD students in the process of specifying a research problem. To this end, the doctoral seminar comprises two main activities: It broaches overarching issues, vocabularies and tools pertinent to formulating research problems and it connects these to the context of the IRPS department and so to the ongoing research of departmental faculty. In addition to this, a range of (optional) sessions offered in conjunction with the Doctoral Seminar and introduced by advanced PhD students of the department, will provide an opportunity to reflect on the PhD Process in Practice. As a whole the doctoral seminar affords the participants the opportunity to reflect on and specify their own research interests in light of these three aspects of the PhD process. At the end of the seminar the students will have acquired an understanding of what is involved in formulating a PhD problem and they will have made substantial progress in specifying their own research problem / question. To this end, participants will be asked to construct an archive of PhD reflection notes connecting the seminar with their own research interests and the final assignment will be a Sketch of a PhD Problem. These two assignments make up the bulk of the assessment for the doctoral seminar. It is supplemented by two in-class presentations (a presentation of an overarching issue and a commentary on an ongoing departmental research project). A PhD research problem is the foundation for elaborating a research design. The doctoral seminar lays the foundations for the Research Design course that follows it.