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MSc Research - University Delaying

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    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone,

    Just looking for a bit of advice here.

    I've been working for a couple of different groups since graduating with my undergraduate degree in the summer and have also been working on getting my honours project published (which I've achieved in part).

    Almost three weeks ago, a lecturer got in touch with me and suggested a research topic with a stipend on offer. I hadn't thought about it much but I did a bit of research and engaged with the topic quite a bit. I decided that it would be for me and went ahead and told him that I would be up for it. We met a few days later and have conversed on the phone a few times to talk about the topic.

    He's told me on several occasions that I've got it and although I was initially apprehensive at first, he started the process and forwarded me onto the admissions team who said 'they would get me started as soon as possible' and who asked me to get the documentation (and references) in ASAP. I achieved this the same day and the admissions team told me that they were giving my application their urgent attention.

    I understand due diligence is required and completely respect that (they can't be expected to give money out to anyone) but it's been processing for eleven days. When I contact to get assurances and try to get an idea about what sort of date I could start by, I get told about 'Research Decision Makers' (I don't know who they are) and assured that they are doing all they can but it's out their hands for the mean time.

    The problem I have is that my life has stalled and I've put quite a bit of effort into it. Me and my partner have been looking to move in together and we've found what is pretty much our perfect flat. I am terrified that they'll keep stalling on me for a lot longer and I'll miss out on it or be forced into a position where I'd need to take a gamble of some sort and bank on them sorting it out soon. It's not just the starting date that I need to know, I need to know when the money will arrive!

    Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any tips for finding out how to push this on?

    Unfortunately that's just how things work. 11 days is quite a short amount of time to turn an application around. It usually takes 6-8 weeks. The uni still has to ensure that you meet the academic standards and are unlikely to drop out halfway as they have academic standards to maintain. Pester them every 2 weeks or so but till they have a response from the academic team (academics are busy/may be on holiday) they can't do anything.

    I agree with alleycat - the academic wheels grind exceeding slow in such matters. It took more than twelve weeks to get a response to my MPhil/PhD research proposal - and I was self-funding, which missed out a whole layer of financial consideration and admin by the uni. I was ready to start in the September but ended up having to delay until the following January.

    At this point in the academic year, staff tend to be up to their ears in start of year activity. There's never an ideal time, but things might calm down a bit in a couple of weeks.

    I think the best you can do is try to get some idea of who these 'Research Decision Makers' are, and whether they have a formal timetable. If you, for example, find out that it's a committee which only sits twice a semester, that should at least give you some kind of clue about timescales.
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