When to contact potential PhD supervisors

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InadequateJusticex
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Going into my final year of my MSci (Chemistry) and I was wondering when the best time would be to contact a potential supervisor I want to work for - I know the sooner the better, but is there a time period considered "too early" like September or something?

Would just before Christmas be a roughly good time (as I still need to get to know my dissertation supervisor)?
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alleycat393
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Not sure what getting to know your dissertation supervisor has to do with this if you already know who you'd like to do your PhD with. Do you know what your dissertation is about? If so then Sept is reasonable and when everyone is usually back at work. Application cycles also typically open then.
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InadequateJusticex
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(Original post by alleycat393)
Not sure what getting to know your dissertation supervisor has to do with this if you already know who you'd like to do your PhD with. Do you know what your dissertation is about? If so then Sept is reasonable and when everyone is usually back at work. Application cycles also typically open then.
Well, they will ask for references and who better to give one than your current supervisor? No point asking for a reference from my supervisor when he's known me for like, 3 weeks.
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alleycat393
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Yes but it will take a while and a few discussions to get to the stage of asking for refs by which time you will have gotten to know your diss sup.
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InadequateJusticex
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(Original post by alleycat393)
Yes but it will take a while and a few discussions to get to the stage of asking for refs by which time you will have gotten to know your diss sup.
Hmm yeah good point.
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Euphiletos
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You can really contact potential supervisors whenever you like. Your Masters dissertation supervisor also doesn't need to be a referee for you.
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post-grad-u-ate
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I don't profess to know too much about this but unless there is someone who you really want to work with and they are likely a 'name' in a certain subject then I would aim for a university based on ranking or for whatever reason maybe location and when you get into the programme in the first year of doing research methods then ask your programme convenor about contacting potential supervisors in the faculty.

Alternatively choose based on finding an interesting topic on www.jobs.ac.uk/phd
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alleycat393
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(Original post by post-grad-u-ate)
I don't profess to know too much about this but unless there is someone who you really want to work with and they are likely a 'name' in a certain subject then I would aim for a university based on ranking or for whatever reason maybe location and when you get into the programme in the first year of doing research methods then ask your programme convenor about contacting potential supervisors in the faculty.

Alternatively choose based on finding an interesting topic on www.jobs.ac.uk/phd
Oh dear! Another ranking discussion. At this stage ranking matters even less. The three most important things are project, supervisor and to some extent department. Please OP don't worry about ranking and poster above rein it in on the ranking chasing!


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post-grad-u-ate
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(Original post by alleycat393)
Oh dear! Another ranking discussion. At this stage ranking matters even less. The three most important things are project, supervisor and to some extent department. Please OP don't worry about ranking and poster above rein it in on the ranking chasing!
I am very disappointed with this response.
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Euphiletos
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(Original post by post-grad-u-ate)
I don't profess to know too much about this but unless there is someone who you really want to work with and they are likely a 'name' in a certain subject then I would aim for a university based on ranking or for whatever reason maybe location and when you get into the programme in the first year of doing research methods then ask your programme convenor about contacting potential supervisors in the faculty.

Alternatively choose based on finding an interesting topic on www.jobs.ac.uk/phd
This is quite poor advice, unfortunately. At the Ph.D level, a key criterion should be the suitability of your supervisor. Consideration of a university's overall reputation is secondary to this.
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post-grad-u-ate
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(Original post by Euphiletos)
This is quite poor advice, unfortunately. At the Ph.D level, a key criterion should be the suitability of your supervisor. Consideration of a university's overall reputation is secondary to this.
I would forget about suitability of a supervisor and ranking but the objective of the research and as far as I see it, the way to go about applying for a Ph.D. would be applying on jobs.ac.uk or applying to a faculty at a university and focusing on the ideas and concepts than what personality will talk to me.

You could apply to someone you think would be amazing to work with and you two might not click but then again applying through jobs.ac.uk you will meet someone who has chosen you because of you having a real interest in the research, which is what a supervisor-student dynamic should be.

Again I don't profess to know anything about this at all, just that when I apply for a Ph.D. in the near future, I am going to apply to the faculty for which I am doing a masters degree at and see where that goes or apply via jobs.ac.uk and I don't care for ranking as debated earlier.
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Euphiletos
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(Original post by post-grad-u-ate)
I would forget about suitability of a supervisor and ranking but the objective of the research and as far as I see it, the way to go about applying for a Ph.D. would be applying on jobs.ac.uk or applying to a faculty at a university and focusing on the ideas and concepts than what personality will talk to me.

You could apply to someone you think would be amazing to work with and you two might not click but then again applying through jobs.ac.uk you will meet someone who has chosen you because of you having a real interest in the research, which is what a supervisor-student dynamic should be.

Again I don't profess to know anything about this at all, just that when I apply for a Ph.D. in the near future, I am going to apply to the faculty for which I am doing a masters degree at and see where that goes or apply via jobs.ac.uk and I don't care for ranking as debated earlier.
It's not about personality, though getting along with one's supervisor certainly helps. It's about the suitability of the potential supervisor to oversee your research. This is critical; if you forget it, you're making a big mistake.

If you "don't profess to know anything about this at all", don't you think it's prudent to take, rather than offer, advice?
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alleycat393
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Your relationship with your supervisor could make or break your PhD and indeed your career and could indeed be the difference between being able to take certain ideas and concepts of your own forward as opposed to just doing as your told and what suits your supervisor and their agenda.
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post-grad-u-ate
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(Original post by Euphiletos)
It's not about personality, though getting along with one's supervisor certainly helps. It's about the suitability of the potential supervisor to oversee your research. This is critical; if you forget it, you're making a big mistake.

If you "don't profess to know anything about this at all", don't you think it's prudent to take, rather than offer, advice?
So when you say suitability you mean if the supervisor has the same research interests as you?

You'd make more progress applying for some specific title / Ph.D. project on jobs.ac.uk

I wish OP all the success for their future Ph.D. but this hasn't convinced me to do the same as.
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Euphiletos
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(Original post by post-grad-u-ate)
So when you say suitability you mean if the supervisor has the same research interests as you?

You'd make more progress applying for some specific title / Ph.D. project on jobs.ac.uk

I wish OP all the success for their future Ph.D. but this hasn't convinced me to do the same as.
Similar research interests would be important, among other things. I reiterate that this is not an optional part of the process.
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