How to decide between two PhD programs? Watch

tikeshe
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Report Thread starter 10 months ago
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Hi,

I'm trying to decide on two PhD programs, however I'm unsure how particular factors should influence my decision. I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts on how these should be viewed.

Both universities are prestigious, with world-class research facilities. There isn't much between the two cities. I also feel that the potential supervisors at both universities would be a great fit for me.

The main differences arise from:

- In one university I will likely be supervised by more experienced researchers, however their idea of how the PhD will develop is more fleshed out, with my research fitting more into their overall department goals. Furthermore, they appear to be less methodological focused, whilst I very much am. In the other university, I will have a less experienced supervisor, however they are more methodological driven, and therefore will align more with my interests. For example, we discussed a potential case study that sounded really interesting. (i.e., It seems like the supervisor 'gets' what I want to do better than the other university).

- In one university, the academics are firmly placed within relevant wider groups and communities (e.g., conference etc), in which I would fit naturally. Furthermore, the ability for collaboration and networking is greater. The academics at the other university are less connected, but are experienced in the particular methodology I want to apply during my PhD.

In short:

- Is it better to have supervisors that are more established within the wider research field, but are less aligned to your particular research methodology?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
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tikeshe
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Firstly, have you actually applied yet? Secondly, have you visited the unis/met the supervisors?
I haven't applied yet, though I need to select which university I want to be eligible for funding from the research council.

I have visited both universities and met with both supervisors. This is where the dilemma lies. They are both lovely cities and I would be fine living in either city. The dilemma lies in which is more important: established career, and all the benefits from this, or less established career within the wider field, but more breadth in how the research will develop over time.
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charlottenaomi
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(Original post by tikeshe)
Hi,

I'm trying to decide on two PhD programs, however I'm unsure how particular factors should influence my decision. I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts on how these should be viewed.

Both universities are prestigious, with world-class research facilities. There isn't much between the two cities. I also feel that the potential supervisors at both universities would be a great fit for me.

The main differences arise from:

- In one university I will likely be supervised by more experienced researchers, however their idea of how the PhD will develop is more fleshed out, with my research fitting more into their overall department goals. Furthermore, they appear to be less methodological focused, whilst I very much am. In the other university, I will have a less experienced supervisor, however they are more methodological driven, and therefore will align more with my interests. For example, we discussed a potential case study that sounded really interesting. (i.e., It seems like the supervisor 'gets' what I want to do better than the other university).

- In one university, the academics are firmly placed within relevant wider groups and communities (e.g., conference etc), in which I would fit naturally. Furthermore, the ability for collaboration and networking is greater. The academics at the other university are less connected, but are experienced in the particular methodology I want to apply during my PhD.

In short:

- Is it better to have supervisors that are more established within the wider research field, but are less aligned to your particular research methodology?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks


Hello! I have been researching PhDs myself recently. Having spoken to PhD friends and academics, a strong working relationship between student and supervisors seems imperative. You’re going to be devoting atleast 3 years of your life to this PhD so choose the university where you feel you can form the best rapport with your supervisors. I think networking will develop as you progress through your studies. Hope that helps.
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