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PhD The Early Process, Application and Interview advice

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    A piece of general advice: In a situation where you're not being interviewed by your prospective supervisor, or you're being interviewed by a large panel (usually funding-related), you'd do well to try to meet the supervisor earlier in the day for an informal chat. The benefits are threefold:
    1) Make a positive impression on the prospective supervisor as somebody they'd like to work with.
    2) You'll get a better understanding of the working environment within the research group (if it's lab-based then a tour might be involved).
    3) The supervisor will very likely explain a lot more about the research project (or the research interests of the department in the case of proposals you have made) than you will have been able to surmise from the advertisement. This kind of "insider information" can really help when it comes to the interview proper.

    (Original post by apotoftea)
    Within the Arts, interviews are very few and far between.
    That's honestly very surprising. It seems like a bit of a shame to me, as I think interviews are the best way to get a feel for whether somebody is suited to a position.

    I think the two of us make a pretty good catalogue of the differences between arts and sciences PhDs (not sure whether you remember us talking about these differences before).
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    (Original post by RadioElectric)
    That's honestly very surprising. It seems like a bit of a shame to me, as I think interviews are the best way to get a feel for whether somebody is suited to a position.
    Yup, totally agree with you on this one (and it's something the people that interviewed me last week said too) - I find it really strange that the rest of my applications are done without even meeting me! Just because someone's academically brilliant on paper doesn't necessarily mean they're the best all round and vice versa. But alas, that's how it is

    I think the two of us make a pretty good catalogue of the differences between arts and sciences PhDs (not sure whether you remember us talking about these differences before).
    :yes: Think it helps for people who arn't 'in the know' to realise just how different different subjects are dealt with.
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    (Original post by apotoftea)
    Within the Arts, interviews are very few and far between.
    But Mathematics isn't an Art?
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    But Mathematics isn't an Art?
    Who's applying for Mathematics? My reply was to radioelectric as they've got experience of not knowing people not to be interviewed etc.
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    (Original post by _Ravi_)
    I would advise that the word 'advice' be spelt correctly, if planned to be used in any way or form (I'm referring to the title). ~By the way I'm a prick.
    I'm incredibly compelled to correct grammatical mistakes in this sentence.
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    (Original post by apotoftea)
    Who's applying for Mathematics? My reply was to radioelectric as they've got experience of not knowing people not to be interviewed etc.
    (Original post by FeelingForSnow)
    Do all PhD's do interviews. i have received an email from Aberdeen saying that my application has been considered and I should receive a letter within 3 weeks - but i haven't had an invitation for interview. Does that mean I havent got a place?
    (Original post by apotoftea)
    PhD interviews are in the minority and tend to be linked to funding or studentships AFAIK. So I wouldn't worry just yet
    FeelingForSnow is applying for Maths.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    FeelingForSnow is applying for Maths.
    I had no idea they were applying for Maths given there's no mention of it

    And my Arts comment was still purely in ref to radioelectric
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    I'm not sure if I am posting in the right place, but I just received a letter from a university that I applied for an advertised fully funded studentship, asking me to come for an interview. The problem is I can't find the Phd description online (it has expired on jobs.ac.uk, where I originally saw it) and there is nothing on the website, it seems like it has been taken off. Normally I would have saved it but I wasn't really expecting an interview. I am in a dilemma now as I don't know what to do, as I have to do a five minute presentation too on the day explaining why I would like to do this particular phD. Do you think its ok if I email them back asking if they could send me the PhD description etc?
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    Should be fine - chances are it's an admin person who's emailed you anyway rather than the interview panel right? Just explain that the advert you had has been taken down and "you want to make sure you can tailor your talk to the specifics of the post" or something
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    Bekaboo, thanks.
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    I have to do a presentation on why I want to do the particular PhD. Has anyone done one on their proposal? What sort of things did you include?

    Also, as this is a studentship advertised by the university, is it advisable now that I have an interview to get in touch with the supervisors for more information (informal), or will that be to my disadvantage, as I didn't show interest earlier before I was called, as I said earlier this was because I wasn't really expecting an interview?
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    (Original post by RadioElectric)
    Within the life sciences I've never known the application process for a PhD position to not involve an interview.



    Could you be finding out in three weeks whether you've made it through to the interview stage? That sounds sensible in terms of my experience of PhD applications (and that of my friends).

    I had a look at your profile to try and see what area you would be applying in. I didn't find out anything relevant, but I will say your LastFM box has informed me of your excellent taste in music.
    Thanks, for your reply. Still havent heard from Aberdeen and so far Ive got 2 PhD offers and for both i have to do interviews.

    So, guess i was right about Aberdeen:yep:

    I am doing sciences, mathematics.
    Well...bye bye Aberdeen!!! Not a big deal
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    (Original post by RespectAll)
    I have to do a presentation on why I want to do the particular PhD. Has anyone done one on their proposal? What sort of things did you include?

    Also, as this is a studentship advertised by the university, is it advisable now that I have an interview to get in touch with the supervisors for more information (informal), or will that be to my disadvantage, as I didn't show interest earlier before I was called, as I said earlier this was because I wasn't really expecting an interview?
    Bump. Anyone?
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    I've done a presentation like this. I'm not sure which department you're in, so this advice might be way off. But for a Humanities proposal, I found that a "poster presentation" sort of outline can be handy.

    If you can spend 30 seconds or so on acknowledgements, and another minute on the specifics of your project, that leaves you with the majority time to really hammer home the two most important things (in my opinion): what contribution you hope to give to the field, and why [insert uni name here] is the best launch pad to do that from.

    The fact is that universities want to recruit research students who have the brightest possible futures. This means having a clear understanding of what has been done in your field (background), what you're hoping to do (method/framework), and most importantly, what this could mean in the larger picture (attention to the university, a breakthrough for you, a new angle on an old issue, etc.).

    The second part to this is being able to show that you understand your place in the faculty. You should know the basics at this point, but if not, put together some background information on key members of faculty and their interests. If a method has been pioneered at that university and you want to use it, mention this. As much as you need to answer "Why me, as the student?" you should answer, "Why you, as the institution."

    Best of luck getting through it!
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    (Original post by amandabanana)
    I've done a presentation like this. I'm not sure which department you're in, so this advice might be way off. But for a Humanities proposal, I found that a "poster presentation" sort of outline can be handy.

    If you can spend 30 seconds or so on acknowledgements, and another minute on the specifics of your project, that leaves you with the majority time to really hammer home the two most important things (in my opinion): what contribution you hope to give to the field, and why [insert uni name here] is the best launch pad to do that from.

    The fact is that universities want to recruit research students who have the brightest possible futures. This means having a clear understanding of what has been done in your field (background), what you're hoping to do (method/framework), and most importantly, what this could mean in the larger picture (attention to the university, a breakthrough for you, a new angle on an old issue, etc.).

    The second part to this is being able to show that you understand your place in the faculty. You should know the basics at this point, but if not, put together some background information on key members of faculty and their interests. If a method has been pioneered at that university and you want to use it, mention this. As much as you need to answer "Why me, as the student?" you should answer, "Why you, as the institution."

    Best of luck getting through it!
    Thank you. I've had mine, and it went well
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    Hello guys

    I am going to be doing a PhD in Sept 2010. I have scholarship offers for Nottingham, Lancaster, Bath uni (and waiting for KCL reply) for PhD in Business and Marketing.. not sure which to pick!!!

    I have been in Nottingham for my undergrad and masters, do you think moving away from Nott is best so i have experience of other uni as i do feel loyal towards them and i know the supervisors are great (which i think is v important whilst doing PhD). Went to visit Lancaster, it felt a bit secluded and a bit dated, uni and the city. I have yet to visit Bath and KCL.

    Which do you think is best, in respect to doctoral studies, city/ social life, or uni etc any ideas?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by amy818)
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    You should visit those other universities. I'll say that it's usually best to move away from your undergraduate university as it shows that you're more independent.
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    I've got onto a funded PhD at Queen's University Belfast, only problem is that I'm not British (from the Republic) so I only have my fees covered, which is better than nothing I suppose.
    I've applied for funding in the Republic etc... but does anybody know of any funding opportunities in the UK for Irish students or loans that I might be able to get from a bank in the UK?
    All help is appreciated!
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    I have just received two offers from Queen's University Belfast and Bristol University.
    In my experience I have found that using findaphd.com is better as a rough guide to finding the research areas of the Universities, then I just went onto the University website and went straight to the source to find the funded PhD's.
    My offer from Queen's came without an interview but I went over for an informal chat about the course and to meet the supervisors, Bristol Uni gave me an informal interview where I was offered the funding unconditionally halfway through after speaking to the current students.
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    Evening all,

    I've been accepted onto a number of law PhDs (Cambridge, Oxford, Durham, Edinburgh) starting in September but I'm yet to make a final decision on my destination. My question is, how much do you think the institution you attend matters? My tutors at Cambridge seem to think that, if I don't want to stay at Cam, Oxford is clearly the best place to go. In some respects I see their point, but I always thought that when it came to research, faculty reputations could be somewhat disgarded. Is the case different when it comes to Oxbridge?

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