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crazylikeafox
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Hi,
So far I've been accepted into four PhD programs at different universities. Two of them were in the Russel group so I was pretty stoked.
One of them I turned down simply because there were zero funding opportunities.
My program is in the Arts and Humanities.
So far I have been turned down for internal funding 4 times for one of them (I deferred entry to re apply), once for another, and I'm waiting to hear about funding from the last one.
My work has been published in international music journals so I thought I would be a strong candidate for funding.
I've looked extensively and there's no funding opportunities for me aside from what the University has for PhD scholarships for international students. I'm American and it seems like the only other option is to take on an astronomical amount of debt and I've become too resentful of my funding application experience to do this.
Is this typical?
It seems weird.
Thanks
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artful_lounger
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In the arts, I think it's pretty typical unfortunately, in the UK at least. Here funding tends to be concentrated towards STEM areas and economics and some social sciences. Additionally I think in general funding for international applicants tends to be even more limited; you're in the unfortunate position of both going into an underfunded area as an international student, so it's doubly difficult.

Have you looked into e.g. Fullbright/Rhodes/Marshall/Gates Scholarships? They might be your best bet if internal funding opportunities are limited (albeit Gates/Rhodes are Cambridge/Oxford specific).

The_Lonely_Goatherd is doing a PhD in a related area and might be able to offer some advice, although I believe TLG is a domestic student so might have different experiences.
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crazylikeafox
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I have looked into them, the only one I'm eligible for is the Fullbright.
That's lame. I hate STEM.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Hiya,

Yeah sadly funded PhD options (even for home students) are few and far between in music (or any humanities/arts subject tbh), even for those with stellar academic records :sadnod: I'm self-funding my PhD studies via the Bank of Mum and Dad, but I'm a home student and part-time too, so the fees are just over £2,000 per academic year. I wouldn't recommend self-funding as an international student, in all honesty :no:
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PhoenixFortune
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Moved to Postgraduate Applications forum.

As other posters have said, funding for any Arts/Humanities courses is so limited for students from any background, I've also experienced A&H funding being cut and diverted towards more social science-focused projects. As you are an international student on top of that, I really don't recommend self-funding, due to the astronomical costs associated with it.
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crazylikeafox
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Here's the thing though, as far as self funding I don't really care about taking out that much debt. TBH it's all federal debt and at the level I'm already at it would be small drop of gasoline on a raging dumpster fire anyway. I've already looked into what I'll be paying back monthly for the next 25 years whether I self fund and take out more debt or whether I don't take out any more and there honestly is no difference. I might actually end up paying in less if I borrow more (because that's how America works, it makes no sense, I know trust me).

I've looked at programs in the states and while they do have funding attached they're basically more like really long Master's degrees. They require 2-3 years of coursework in the beginning and then some kid gloves year where you design a project and then 1 year to do independent research. I've already developed a solid waterproof research project and the groundwork for it has already been published this year.

A UK program would be more appealing because it's 3 years of unstructured time to work on my own research and use facilities that I otherwise wouldn't have access to and I already know what my project is. I have half the work done already but I plan to release it slowly over the 3 years while working on the last bit (the last bit involves heavy computer programming hours). This also leaves me room to finish a couple of academic books I've been working on in conjunction with my main project. Trust me I have the whole thing planned, so I don't really feel the same feels other PhD students do where they get all stressy stressed and develop mental disorders because of all the pressure and not feeling like they have a grip on things. I have a firm grip on things: There are no academic jobs, even STEM people struggle after graduation (not all but some), and society will never see the value in your contribution while it continues to erode at its foundations, I and others like me will likely end up having to find a space to thrive in afterwords that looks nothing like what we could ever expect or anticipate. It's all very sad.

I honestly don't plan on teaching with a PhD since there are no jobs, and if it makes no difference financially or career-wise I don't really see the point in caring about money. The thing is I keep getting this pervasive paranoid thought that I've only been accepted to help subsidize the cost of home students with my international fees. That's the vibe I got at a couple of the universities I went to and I'm not down with that. I know plenty of international students who paid their way by using their entire family's life savings on the premise that it would be worth it for them and the idea that they might be getting exploited really burns me up.

I've also found that most PhD supervisors are kind of garbage. They really don't seem that involved or present, and I don't know if that's typical. If it is then I guess it's not worth taking personally, it just means more unsupervised unstructured time for me I guess. It does make me angry, I mean honestly their job seems pretty cush to me. I work for a company managing a half a million dollars worth of assets and projects across multiple departments and with clients across multiple time zones, amongst other responsibilities, so the idea of teaching two classes, supervising some students, and doing some research on the side seems like a cake walk.

I guess if I walked away with a PhD and had a hell of a time and got a ton of work done and it didn't really make a difference otherwise, in terms of my monthly student loan payments or my career, I'd be fine with it so long as I'm not being taken advantage of. Ultimately I want to know that everyone is equally screwed and that it's not just me.

I'm an older student (34) and so I've got plenty of experience that tells me to just say f&*k it and go for it. I went through a similar dilemma when I was younger between choosing a cheaper state university as opposed to a really nice private arts school and in hind sight figured out that they would have ended up costing me the same amount of money regardless and the only real difference would have meant I would have done what I wanted to do as opposed to ending up in a mediocre career because I was being pragmatic.

It's a crazy world, and I'm crazy like a fox. So how do I tell if the uni is just using me for my sweet sweet foreign debt money or whether they actually like me for me?
(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
Moved to Postgraduate Applications forum.

As other posters have said, funding for any Arts/Humanities courses is so limited for students from any background, I've also experienced A&H funding being cut and diverted towards more social science-focused projects. As you are an international student on top of that, I really don't recommend self-funding, due to the astronomical costs associated with it.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Totally appreciate why you'd rather do a PhD in the UK than in the States. That said, if you don't plan on going into academia afterwards, is it really worth the time and effort (since you're not fussed about the money)? I'm not sure how things are in the States but in my case, a PhD in music overqualifies me for a lot of jobs and is rather useless in that respect.

Quite a number of PhD supervisors do seem to be quite 'hands-off', from what I've heard. Personally, I've got an amazing PhD supervisor who is attentive without micro-managing or dictating. But I appreciate I'm very lucky like that and perhaps in the minority... Perhaps you could ask to be put in touch with current students in the Depts. you applied to, to find out more about how your prospective supervisors are viewed by others in their Dept. and whether they are known to be good supervisors or not?

As for whether you're a cash cow or not for the universities, that would be hard to say and even harder to prove. It's true that some unis may take in slightly "inferior" students, I guess. But if you're already published, I'd assume you're reasonable intelligent, articulate, and that you write well...
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crazylikeafox
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It's totally worth the time and effort. I wasn't born yesterday. I didn't complete my Masters for a career and I never planned on doing a PhD for a career either. It's been my observation that most of the time when people study in service to a career they inevitably end up with a mediocre result, mediocre in the sense that it falls below their expectations, and the only reward is the illusion of security.

My success as a researcher seems to come naturally as a result of being something I'm interested in purely for its own sake, and I respect that. When I say I don't really plan on staying in academia, that's more or less just my way of saying I'm not attached to any specific outcome and I don't expect most of society to value my contributions in my lifetime.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn I'm just being honest to the fact that mediocrity is an ever present option in life and it starts by commodifying your passions and your time. Which isn't to say that there's anything wrong with making a living, but I know I've wasted enough time making a living as opposed to living. Time is the most precious commodity, and to get three years of it to choose my contributions and follow my interests purely for the sake of the thing is priceless.

So I guess most of my anxieties are a result of my own insecurities. It's really good to hear other people's experience with all of this and know I'm not the only one struggling. It really is a rare opportunity to have a choice between three different universities in a country I love and I guess I haven't really taken the time to reflect on it from that perspective.

Thanks for chiming in, I really appreciate your input. I needed that
(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Totally appreciate why you'd rather do a PhD in the UK than in the States. That said, if you don't plan on going into academia afterwards, is it really worth the time and effort (since you're not fussed about the money)? I'm not sure how things are in the States but in my case, a PhD in music overqualifies me for a lot of jobs and is rather useless in that respect.

Quite a number of PhD supervisors do seem to be quite 'hands-off', from what I've heard. Personally, I've got an amazing PhD supervisor who is attentive without micro-managing or dictating. But I appreciate I'm very lucky like that and perhaps in the minority... Perhaps you could ask to be put in touch with current students in the Depts. you applied to, to find out more about how your prospective supervisors are viewed by others in their Dept. and whether they are known to be good supervisors or not?

As for whether you're a cash cow or not for the universities, that would be hard to say and even harder to prove. It's true that some unis may take in slightly "inferior" students, I guess. But if you're already published, I'd assume you're reasonable intelligent, articulate, and that you write well...
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earlybird88
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That's a shame. Is there a way they could fund even like a module or is there a part time option that wouldn't affect the workplace as much?
(Original post by crazylikeafox)
Hi,
So far I've been accepted into four PhD programs at different universities. Two of them were in the Russel group so I was pretty stoked.
One of them I turned down simply because there were zero funding opportunities.
My program is in the Arts and Humanities.
So far I have been turned down for internal funding 4 times for one of them (I deferred entry to re apply), once for another, and I'm waiting to hear about funding from the last one.
My work has been published in international music journals so I thought I would be a strong candidate for funding.
I've looked extensively and there's no funding opportunities for me aside from what the University has for PhD scholarships for international students. I'm American and it seems like the only other option is to take on an astronomical amount of debt and I've become too resentful of my funding application experience to do this.
Is this typical?
It seems weird.
Thanks
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ltsmith
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Humanities is hard to get PhD funding for but something like ML/Data Science is incredibly easy to get funding for (especially at edinburgh)
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gjd800
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If you aren'y bothered by the debt, I'd say the opposite to basically everyone in this thread: take the plunge and do it. Easy for me to say because I did get an Arts Council scholarship (which are like rocking horse shite, by the way—it is very hard to get funded here for home students, too!).

I was like you, I did my PhD because I wanted to do it for me, not because I wanted x or y outcome (though I do now teach, precariously, at a couple of institutions). If the debt is a dealbreaker, then obviously you are in a shite position. If it's not, have at it.

PhD supervision isn't necessarily awful, by the way. the people I know that have had great supervision far outweighs those that have had poor supervision.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by gjd800)
If you aren'y bothered by the debt, I'd say the opposite to basically everyone in this thread: take the plunge and do it. Easy for me to say because I did get an Arts Council scholarship (which are like rocking horse shite, by the way—it is very hard to get funded here for home students, too!).

I was like you, I did my PhD because I wanted to do it for me, not because I wanted x or y outcome (though I do now teach, precariously, at a couple of institutions). If the debt is a dealbreaker, then obviously you are in a shite position. If it's not, have at it.

PhD supervision isn't necessarily awful, by the way. the people I know that have had great supervision far outweighs those that have had poor supervision.
Are the arts underfunded compared to social sciences, in your experience?
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crazylikeafox
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(Original post by earlybird88)
That's a shame. Is there a way they could fund even like a module or is there a part time option that wouldn't affect the workplace as much?
I can't do part time because I'm international. I've considered leveraging my offers against one another because sometimes departments or even professors have grant money they can use to fund their PhD students, but it could backfire if not executed properly or they might simply not have any room in their budget.
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gjd800
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Are the arts underfunded compared to social sciences, in your experience?
I'm not sure I'm in much a position to evaluate, to be honest. Anecdotally, the guys that I know/knew were when they were after funding found themselves in a remarkably similar position to me, with similarly few scholarships to go around.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by gjd800)
I'm not sure I'm in much a position to evaluate, to be honest. Anecdotally, the guys that I know/knew were when they were after funding found themselves in a remarkably similar position to me, with similarly few scholarships to go around.
That's what I thought. All but STEM had a pretty rough ride.
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gjd800
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(Original post by Notoriety)
That's what I thought. All but STEM had a pretty rough ride.
Yeah, that's my inclination (rightly or wrongly).
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Are the arts underfunded compared to social sciences, in your experience?
social sciences get **** funding too tho

so it's a matter of asking how many pennies you gotta be awarded to be allowed to call yourself 'underfunded'
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earlybird88
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I see. Afraid I don't know how to help but good luck in whatever happens.
(Original post by crazylikeafox)
I can't do part time because I'm international. I've considered leveraging my offers against one another because sometimes departments or even professors have grant money they can use to fund their PhD students, but it could backfire if not executed properly or they might simply not have any room in their budget.
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crazylikeafox
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The debt only scares me when I see how it scares other people, but then I have to remind myself I don't actually care.
There's an old quote on wall street that I feel is appropriate to the situation with student loan debt "If you owe the bank $1000 the bank owns you, if you owe the bank $1,000,000 then you own the bank".

Which is a contentious view to have for some people, I'm certain, but you only yolo once.

The difficult thing with gauging the quality of supervision is that I don't really have a good idea of what to expect.
I had one supervisor who would reply to my emails within a day, and actually spent time getting to know me during our regular meetings. I had another supervisor who couldn't remember what my project was and had to be reminded regularly, but he also seemed to have some level of investment in me as far as time. He got me acquainted with the facilities and so on.

I have three potential supervisors but don't really know how to gauge their quality. Maybe I should send them a paper I'm working on and see how they respond with feedback or advice?

(Original post by gjd800)
If you aren'y bothered by the debt, I'd say the opposite to basically everyone in this thread: take the plunge and do it. Easy for me to say because I did get an Arts Council scholarship (which are like rocking horse shite, by the way—it is very hard to get funded here for home students, too!).

I was like you, I did my PhD because I wanted to do it for me, not because I wanted x or y outcome (though I do now teach, precariously, at a couple of institutions). If the debt is a dealbreaker, then obviously you are in a shite position. If it's not, have at it.

PhD supervision isn't necessarily awful, by the way. the people I know that have had great supervision far outweighs those that have had poor supervision.
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gjd800
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(Original post by crazylikeafox)
The debt only scares me when I see how it scares other people, but then I have to remind myself I don't actually care.
There's an old quote on wall street that I feel is appropriate to the situation with student loan debt "If you owe the bank $1000 the bank owns you, if you owe the bank $1,000,000 then you own the bank".

Which is a contentious view to have for some people, I'm certain, but you only yolo once.

The difficult thing with gauging the quality of supervision is that I don't really have a good idea of what to expect.
I had one supervisor who would reply to my emails within a day, and actually spent time getting to know me during our regular meetings. I had another supervisor who couldn't remember what my project was and had to be reminded regularly, but he also seemed to have some level of investment in me as far as time. He got me acquainted with the facilities and so on.

I have three potential supervisors but don't really know how to gauge their quality. Maybe I should send them a paper I'm working on and see how they respond with feedback or advice?
I'd say that is a good idea, yes. I always tell prospectives here that meeting them first and gauging their personality is the best way, but if you are international that is difficult. Perhaps a Skype meeting to talk about the project etc? Talking to them to get a measure is always nice—I reckon having them read something and give feedback would be cool, too (provided they agree to do it... If they do not, I guess you don't want them as a supervisor!).

My supervisor taught me two languages so I saw a lot of him for the first two years and less thereafter, but he was very interested and always in touch (sending me things of interest and all that). In fact, he still does that now, and I finished a year ago! If you can get one like that, then you are set.
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