How to approach a supervisor at PHD level. Watch

Darkhorse17
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Hi all,

I have decided, at this late stage in the year, that I would like to apply for my PHD. However I was hoping a little advice how best to approach a potential supervisor.
What would a professor expect to see in an email of initial contact and what level of formality would be appropriate at this early stage?

Any advice would be appreciated. I have a specific professor I would like to write to, but I am keen to make to best possible impression.

Cheers
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999tigger
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(Original post by Darkhorse17)
Hi all,

I have decided, at this late stage in the year, that I would like to apply for my PHD. However I was hoping a little advice how best to approach a potential supervisor.
What would a professor expect to see in an email of initial contact and what level of formality would be appropriate at this early stage?

Any advice would be appreciated. I have a specific professor I would like to write to, but I am keen to make to best possible impression.

Cheers
Find out if they have a secretary and ask them.

Otherwise a polite well written communication that gets to the point and inlcudes the relevant details.
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username2320815
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Keep it fairly formal and brief, esp. if you haven't met them before. I went with something along the lines of the following, and had positive responses so it seemed to work!


Subject: PhD supervision enquiry (project name)

Dear Professor X,

I recently completed a masters in X and I'm interested in applying to X for a PhD. My project would be looking at X, and given your interested in X research topic, I was wondering if you'd be interested in potentially supervising me?

I've attached a 2-page copy of my draft research proposal, and include a brief summary of the proposed project below:

[250 word summary]

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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Darkhorse17
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Thanks for the response here, crazy useful and just what I hoped for.
Just one more: what level of depth might be expected in a draft proposal? What are the key features a supervisor might expect? It is an arts/literature focus, so what do professors want from PHD students?
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alleycat393
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(Original post by Darkhorse17)
Thanks for the response here, crazy useful and just what I hoped for.
Just one more: what level of depth might be expected in a draft proposal? What are the key features a supervisor might expect? It is an arts/literature focus, so what do professors want from PHD students?
The short answer is that it really depends. In some cases they want a complete draft, in some they just want an outline, some unis will specify word limits or even what they want covered. Your best bet is to work this out with your potential supervisor. At the very minimum they will want to see a lit review, identification of research questions, methods, resources and timelines.
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Darkhorse17
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Understood.

Thanks for the advice
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