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Phd application guidance

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    I am currently pursuing MSc in Biotechnology at Teesside University. I will be completing my term in June 2013. My first semester grades are out and I have first class in all courses(70+). I assume that the same trend would follow in second semester and also probably in my dissertation.

    I am planning to apply for my Phd after my Msc. I want to know when would be the ideal time to apply. Also what should be my target universities. Should I aim for Oxford and Cambridge.

    The main problem is my bachelors record. In bachelors, I have got 6.87/10 from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Although university was excellent, grades was poor.

    I am seeking some professional advice on my work.

    Awaiting a positive response.
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    Any replies please....


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    (Original post by prats1988)
    I am currently pursuing MSc in Biotechnology at Teesside University. I will be completing my term in June 2013. My first semester grades are out and I have first class in all courses(70+). I assume that the same trend would follow in second semester and also probably in my dissertation.

    I am planning to apply for my Phd after my Msc. I want to know when would be the ideal time to apply. Also what should be my target universities. Should I aim for Oxford and Cambridge.

    The main problem is my bachelors record. In bachelors, I have got 6.87/10 from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Although university was excellent, grades was poor.

    I am seeking some professional advice on my work.

    Awaiting a positive response.
    Application deadlines tend to ope around mid-November and December.

    Who says Oxford and Cambridge are necessarily the top choices? On another note, what does 6.87/10 equate to in the English classification system? Or if it doesn't, where did it place you within your cohort?
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    I would personally suggest keeping your eye open for good looking courses and Phds from now onwards and apply at least 2 weeks before the deadline. A Key thing is to find the supervisors you are interested in ahead of time and contact them first so they are already familiar with you, visit their labs and see the equipment, work on an application with them.

    Aim for a university at which your interests are fulfilled, it doesn't matter if that's OXford or where you are now, as long as you get a project you are willing to commit to in a place you feel comfortable that is all that matters.
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    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply. But, in my college it is not necessary that I wil get project which I am interested in. Like, I am interested in nucleolar protein, but the college does not have research in that area. So, in MC dissertation, I might not get a project what I want.

    Is it possible to apply for different project than your masters project for obtaining phd.

    I am likely to start my project in feb2013. Please tell me what would be the ideal time to start contacting professors. Should I aim for only uk colleges or can think of some other places too.

    Also, is it possible for mr to do project outside my college, maybe under some other faculty from other college.

    My gre was1290 and toefl was 98. Although, I have had English course in my univ, do indeed to appear for them again.....


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    (Original post by prats1988)
    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply. But, in my college it is not necessary that I wil get project which I am interested in. Like, I am interested in nucleolar protein, but the college does not have research in that area. So, in MC dissertation, I might not get a project what I want.

    Is it possible to apply for different project than your masters project for obtaining phd.

    I am likely to start my project in feb2013. Please tell me what would be the ideal time to start contacting professors. Should I aim for only uk colleges or can think of some other places too.

    Also, is it possible for mr to do project outside my college, maybe under some other faculty from other college.

    My gre was1290 and toefl was 98. Although, I have had English course in my univ, do indeed to appear for them again.....


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    You seem to have only a hazy idea of what a PhD involves. It will require far more independence than an MSc, so I suggest you spend some time developing a better understanding of what it will entail.

    If you have a particular area of interest, find out who researches in the area, because they are likely to have funding, and get in touch with them to see if they are likely to have any vacancies.


    To deal with your specific questions-

    It is of course possible to change direction (a bit) for PhD. So just because your MSc doesn't involve nucleolar proteins doesn't mean you can't research them for a PhD. But most PhD topics are fairly close to something you'll have met before.

    "I am likely to start my project in Feb 13". Do you mean your PhD? If so, your start date will be dictated by the availability of funding, not your convenience. If you have your own funds, then I am sure you can arrange a Feb start, but that is very unusual and would put you quite out of sync with taught material and the like. The vast majority of PhDs will start in September/October

    You can keep an eye out for projects all the time- there are usually seem positions available, but the vast majority of recruitment occurs over the winter. We usually start recruiting in November and finish in March, for a September start

    Is it possible to be supervised by someone outside? Why on Earth do you want to do this? Your supervisor is one of the most important elements of your PhD and if you need to go to someone else, then you have the wrong supervisor. Going across institutions is difficult because them money wouldn't follow you. I don't really understand what you are saying here.
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    Some clarifications:
    1. I will likely start my project in feb13. This was to refer about MSc project...not Phd. I will be one with my MSc project by June 2013. What I was inquiring here is should I start contacting professors before that.

    2. Hours I look for different upper visor for my project. This was again reference to my MSc project. I was asking that if I know some professors under whom I want to do my Phd, can I ask for doing my MSc project also under them. This would give me a much better start for my Phd under him.

    I wanted to know if my research area of interest was under some professor at Oxbridge, should I approach him, considering that I come from Teesside university.

    These were my questions.




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    Sorry, lastly. Shula I look for professors from uk or outside. Actually, I have been here for 5 months and have already started loving this country, especially, the place I live.


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    (Original post by prats1988)
    Some clarifications:
    1. I will likely start my project in feb13. This was to refer about MSc project...not Phd. I will be one with my MSc project by June 2013. What I was inquiring here is should I start contacting professors before that.

    2. Hours I look for different upper visor for my project. This was again reference to my MSc project. I was asking that if I know some professors under whom I want to do my Phd, can I ask for doing my MSc project also under them. This would give me a much better start for my Phd under him.

    I wanted to know if my research area of interest was under some professor at Oxbridge, should I approach him, considering that I come from Teesside university.
    If you are starting your MSc project in Feb 13 then you are presumably looking at starting a PhD in Sept 13. Recruitment for a Sept 13 PhD intake will get under way in Nov 2012 and be pretty much complete by April 2013. So if I was you, I would be doing some looking and thinking now, so that you are in a position to start applying for PhDs in November/December this year

    I think it would be impractical to ask someone somewhere else to supervise your MSc project. First, Teeside are collecting your fees, so why should someone somewhere else supervise you for no money? Second, who is responsible- if you are registered in Teesside but working in a lab in Newcastle (say) but the lab work goes badly, what do you do? Teesside can't tell Newcastle what to do, and Newcastle have no real responsibility for you. Finally, if I was your supervisor at Teesside I would be pretty insulted if you said 'I didn't want you. I'm going to work with X in Newcastle' and would probably refuse to supervise you because I would be put in an impossible position. Your best bet is to take the project you are given and do it to the absolute best of your ability. An excellent project performance would be more significant for me, as a prospective PhD supervisor, than the relevance of the topic.
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    Should I look for univ.in uk or outside uk. If yes, any advices.......I mean wherei can get funding and competition would be less....


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    I'm sorry, I really don't want this to sound rude, but if you are seriously considering PhD study should you not be able to find these things out for yourself by doing 5 minutes research online? If you are seriously considering a PhD to start in one year's time, you should know what your area of interest is and know who works in that area and where. Handholding is not something that happens during a PhD.
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    Hi,
    Thanks everyone for their reply. But I think my question is still not clear.

    Facts: my uGPA is 6.87/10. It is low approx. 2.9/4 on USA 4 point scale. My grades in first semester in masters are A in all courses. If I get A in my MSc project as well, I would end up getting a first class with distinction degree. My research interests are working on nucleolar proteins. I have not yet published a paper uptill now on any research area. I might publish a couple in my masters project but not sure if it would be from research area of interest.

    My desire is to save one year of my career by applying for phd in sept. 2013. It's like like I do not want to wait until feb 2014 for my admission.






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    My MSc project will start in


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    My MSc project will start in feb 2013 and complete June 2012. I want to start my phd program in Sept. 2013.


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    (Original post by prats1988)
    I have not yet published a paper uptill now on any research area. I might publish a couple in my masters project but not sure if it would be from research area of interest.
    I said it earlier, and so did Tasha- you really don't seem to appreciate what research is about. Do you honestly think you'll get a couple of papers out of an MSc project?

    You also need to communicate much more clearly- most of this thread is you clarifying things and people getting confused by what you're asking (For example- "My MSc project will start in feb 2013 and complete June 2012"). If you communicate with a prospective supervisor like this, you'll go straight in the bin, and rightly so.

    I have said previously that a Sept 2013 start for a PhD is perfectly possible, and given some guidance on how you might achieve it. Plan ahead, communicate clearly and be organised, and you'll have a chance.
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    (Original post by prats1988)
    Hi,
    Thanks everyone for their reply. But I think my question is still not clear.

    Facts: my uGPA is 6.87/10. It is low approx. 2.9/4 on USA 4 point scale. My grades in first semester in masters are A in all courses. If I get A in my MSc project as well, I would end up getting a first class with distinction degree. My research interests are working on nucleolar proteins. I have not yet published a paper uptill now on any research area. I might publish a couple in my masters project but not sure if it would be from research area of interest.

    My desire is to save one year of my career by applying for phd in sept. 2013. It's like like I do not want to wait until feb 2014 for my admission.






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    OK, so you want to start your PhD in September 2013. This means that you should start researching about universities and research projects now. You can start sending in your applications from the beginning of October/November.

    No one here can tell you which universities to aim for with your grades. Universities make admissions decisions based on a number of factors including undergraduate performance, postgraduate performance (or likely performance if you haven't yet finished your MSc), letters of recommendation, and your research proposal (or suitability for an existing project).

    You should not be choosing a university for a PhD based solely on the prestige of the institution. You should choose the university with the best supervisor, research environment and funding opportunities.

    If you know what your area of interest is (nucleolar proteins) then you need to exercise some initiative (an important characteristic for embarking on PhD research) and find out for yourself which universities and academics have strengths in this area.

    I would also strongly advise you, for the sake of your applications and ability to conduct research, to try to work on your communication skills.

    I think everyone has understood what your query is, you just don't seem to be satisfied that you aren't being given the name of a supervisor, the name of the perfect university for you, the name of a guaranteed funding source, and an accurate description of your admissions chances. No one can give you these, you need to find out for yourself.
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    One last thing. I do not have paper on my name yet. And yes, my MSc project will get me a couple of papers. Most of my seniors have got it.


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    Lastly, if I do not have papers published on my name for my research area, what should I do to satisfy my supervisor for my research interests.


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    (Original post by prats1988)
    One last thing. I do not have paper on my name yet. And yes, my MSc project will get me a couple of papers. Most of my seniors have got it.
    Well, if a couple of papers from an MSc is the norm for your discipline, you'd better make sure you achieve that, hadn't you? Working in an area where a PhD sometimes only produces one paper, I do find that a bit surprising, but each to their own.


    (Original post by prats1988)
    Lastly, if I do not have papers published on my name for my research area, what should I do to satisfy my supervisor for my research interests.
    If a couple of papers from an MSc is truly a reasonable expectation, then a failure to produce will not send a positive signal to a prospective supervisor. You'd better make a good job of the MSc because it's difficult to see anything else that would compensate

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