No Cambridge, No Funding, No Hope?

Watch this thread
ten01ninetytwo
Badges: 1
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#1
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#1
Hi all!

Yesterday I found out that I was unsuccesful in getting onto my PhD at Cambridge (English: Criticism and Culture). Equally, I've been accepted onto an English PhD at the University of Sussex, but devastatingly, wasn't shortlisted for CHASE funding from the AHRC.

So, my options now are: to abandon all hopes of starting my PhD this year, take up the place at Sussex and take out a Postdoctorate Doctoral Loan of £25,000 (and work part-time) and reapply for CHASE for the 2nd year of my PhD, or to do the PhD part-time.

I know that many of you will be in a similar position to me, so I wanted to create a space for people to offer advice and for others to benefit from it.

I was absolutely crushed when I realised that my dream was pushed into the realm of impossibility, and my supervisors (who were very confident I would get the funding) are similarly surprised and dismayed but still want me to come and work with them for the PhD.

What I would really like advice on, is whether it is worth putting myself into further financial risk so that I can pursue my PhD, especially with no assurances on finding a position after I finish it and with existing debts to pay off.

Equally, I've heard from other friends doing their funded PhDs that self-funded students are at so many disadvantages, including missing out on conferences and professional development opportunities, having to work, issues of envy and resentment, and the obvious lack of funding having an impact on their career chances (as there is no proof that they can attract money, which is apparently quite significant for academic employers?).

Are self-funded students seen as somehow less than (by fellow students and employers)? How can there be a fair amount of funded PhDs in English if there are extremely limited funding places for AHRC? And is the fact that I've been accepted by the university negated by the fact that they didn't want to fund my project? Does that mean that they don't really think it is a valid piece of work?

All thoughts, opinions, and advice welcome.

Thank you very much for any insight you can offer!
Last edited by ten01ninetytwo; 3 years ago
0
reply
PhoenixFortune
Badges: 21
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#2
Report 3 years ago
#2
I think one of the most important things to keep in mind when weighing up your options is: what is financially possible versus what we hope/would like to be financially possible. It's really easy to hope that loans and part-time pay will be enough, but without sitting down and working out all the exact costs associated with a PhD, it is very difficult to be sure. You don't want to get halfway through your PhD to find that your money's dried up, you can't pay your rent etc., so you're forced to suspend or drop out.

I'm not a current PhD student, but I've applied for September 2019. I had two potential funding options (not including working part-time): a fully funded research council studentship, or a university fee waiver accompanied by the government's doctoral loan. Even though I hoped that both methods would be ideal, once I worked out the costs of everything, the fee waiver/loan combination would not have been enough by a long shot. I had to accept that that avenue of funding was not feasible without contributing vast amounts of my own money. Although I may not get the studentship either, I'm glad I didn't waste my time applying for funding that could have caused more problems that it solved (i.e. if I had started my PhD only to find out later down the line that I couldn't afford to complete it).

If you can ask for feedback on your application, definitely request it. If you then want to wait and try for the AHRC funding for 2020, you'll know where to make improvements.
0
reply
ten01ninetytwo
Badges: 1
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#3
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#3
Thanks for getting back to me on this. I've calculated the relative costs that would be incurred, including how much I would have to earn from part-time work to cover the outstanding outgoings (it's quite a lot). I know that, in real terms, taking on the PhD without funding is not a great idea, and I think I fall in the camp of "an offer without funding is a weak offer", especially considering my supervisor submitted a reference about how I would fit into the research environment and they must not have been convinced.

I've looked over the CHASE terms and conditions, and due to differing board member opinions etc. they don't offer any feedback for applicants.

But, one other possibility could be to defer my offer at Sussex and then reapply for CHASE funding for the 2020/21 academic year. I'm not sure if this would work, or if anyone else has had any joy with it, but it could be one potential avenue to explore.

I really hope you get the fully-funded research council studentship! Good luck!!
0
reply
PhoenixFortune
Badges: 21
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#4
Report 3 years ago
#4
(Original post by ten01ninetytwo)
Thanks for getting back to me on this. I've calculated the relative costs that would be incurred, including how much I would have to earn from part-time work to cover the outstanding outgoings (it's quite a lot). I know that, in real terms, taking on the PhD without funding is not a great idea, and I think I fall in the camp of "an offer without funding is a weak offer", especially considering my supervisor submitted a reference about how I would fit into the research environment and they must not have been convinced.

I've looked over the CHASE terms and conditions, and due to differing board member opinions etc. they don't offer any feedback for applicants.

But, one other possibility could be to defer my offer at Sussex and then reapply for CHASE funding for the 2020/21 academic year. I'm not sure if this would work, or if anyone else has had any joy with it, but it could be one potential avenue to explore.

I really hope you get the fully-funded research council studentship! Good luck!!
I read this webpage on self-funding: https://www.findaphd.com/advice/blog...considerations
It highlights really well all the things you have to consider and its general viability.

It's a shame that they won't provide feedback; I know the research council I'm applying to will only give feedback if you are rejected post- rather than pre-interview.

Before you make any decisions, it's probably a good idea to check with Sussex to see if it's actually possible to defer a PhD offer -- I know some universities don't allow this and you just have to reapply again if you still want to go the following year.
0
reply
ten01ninetytwo
Badges: 1
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#5
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#5
(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
I read this webpage on self-funding: https://www.findaphd.com/advice/blog...considerations
It highlights really well all the things you have to consider and its general viability.

It's a shame that they won't provide feedback; I know the research council I'm applying to will only give feedback if you are rejected post- rather than pre-interview.

Before you make any decisions, it's probably a good idea to check with Sussex to see if it's actually possible to defer a PhD offer -- I know some universities don't allow this and you just have to reapply again if you still want to go the following year.
Thanks for this. Yeah, I've been reading a lot around the topic and came across this too. I think I'm just being a bit desperate and the chance of me actually being able to do my PhD this year is gone. Also it seems like I can defer but I will have to contact them and check up on it. Thank you for all your advice in any case.
0
reply
N0ritchin2015
Badges: 5
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#6
Report 3 years ago
#6
Thanks for starting this post, I am in a similar position. This is my second year trying for ESRC funding. Last year I tried to two universities but was unsuccessful, this year tried to widen the pool and applied to four DTPs, but no joy! (Put on a reserve list if someone drops out-but was also put on reserve last year to no success and given how competitive it is I can’t see someone dropping out!!) I’m in two mind sets 1) self-fund 2) defer and try again (but without feedback - which is impossible to get- it is really difficult to know how to improve) grr good luck with your decision, keep us posted!!
0
reply
threeportdrift
Badges: 20
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#7
Report 3 years ago
#7
(Original post by ten01ninetytwo)
Equally, I've heard from other friends doing their funded PhDs that self-funded students are at so many disadvantages, including missing out on conferences and professional development opportunities, having to work, issues of envy and resentment, and the obvious lack of funding having an impact on their career chances (as there is no proof that they can attract money, which is apparently quite significant for academic employers?).

Are self-funded students seen as somehow less than (by fellow students and employers)? How can there be a fair amount of funded PhDs in English if there are extremely limited funding places for AHRC? And is the fact that I've been accepted by the university negated by the fact that they didn't want to fund my project? Does that mean that they don't really it is a valid piece of work?
I really don't see that self-funded students are at such a disadvantage. First of all, asking about someone's funding is like asking about someone's salary, we just don't do it in the UK.

DTP type students can get extra training, courses etc included in their funding, but for the majority of funds, there are no extra conference funds, book funds, equipment funds etc, so it's not as if those with bursaries, scholarships and funding have everything paid for by any margin.

I understand the argument that a successful career in academia depends on one's ability to attract funding. But following on from a PhD is it really as clear cut as a binary process 'you got funding, you proceed, you self-funded, you can't proceed'? No, of course it's not. You've only had one significant chance at gaining full funding, it's hardly a trend or a pattern. And a fantastic PhD and a strong next project and you are more competitive than a weaker PhD and next project but a fully funded PhD record.


However, the debt issue is a significant one, and part-time PhDs are very difficult. You might want to try getting some feedback from an academic about next steps and options, and if you can understand how close you were to getting funding that might help you decide what next. Why you didn't get it is not as important as understanding how close you were to getting it at this point.
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest

How did The Student Room help you with your university application?

Talking to current university students (12)
17.65%
Talking to peers going through the same thing (24)
35.29%
Speaking to student ambassadors from the universities (5)
7.35%
Speaking to staff members from universities (1)
1.47%
Using the personal statement builder, library or helper service (7)
10.29%
Reading articles about what steps to take (14)
20.59%
Learning about/speaking to Student Finance England (2)
2.94%
Something else (tell us in the thread) (3)
4.41%

Watched Threads

View All