username5275792
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Hi all,

I'm currently an undergrad student and am really interested in doing a PhD for my future.
I just want to weigh up the pros and cons about doing a Phd in either the UK or the US, and what peoples opinions are in general as to the best country to do the Phd. Particularly, I would like to know about the following things:

1. Is there a difference in the length of the Phd in either country ( I know the US its generally longer but is that dependant on the uni)
2. The difference in lifestyle as a postgrad student at either country, is there any difference, particularly the social aspect of it
3. Where is it easier to get funding?
4. Future opportunities after completing Phd.

If anyone has any experiences of their Phd time at either countries I would very much appreciate to hear your experiences
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GatoMessi
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(Original post by bingbong9214)
Hi all,

I'm currently an undergrad student and am really interested in doing a PhD for my future.
I just want to weigh up the pros and cons about doing a Phd in either the UK or the US, and what peoples opinions are in general as to the best country to do the Phd. Particularly, I would like to know about the following things:

1. Is there a difference in the length of the Phd in either country ( I know the US its generally longer but is that dependant on the uni)
2. The difference in lifestyle as a postgrad student at either country, is there any difference, particularly the social aspect of it
3. Where is it easier to get funding?
4. Future opportunities after completing Phd.

If anyone has any experiences of their Phd time at either countries I would very much appreciate to hear your experiences
you also speak about getting funding. United States will cost you about 3 times more expensive!
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Sandtrooper
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(Original post by bingbong9214)
Hi all,

I'm currently an undergrad student and am really interested in doing a PhD for my future.
I just want to weigh up the pros and cons about doing a Phd in either the UK or the US, and what peoples opinions are in general as to the best country to do the Phd. Particularly, I would like to know about the following things:

1. Is there a difference in the length of the Phd in either country ( I know the US its generally longer but is that dependant on the uni)
2. The difference in lifestyle as a postgrad student at either country, is there any difference, particularly the social aspect of it
3. Where is it easier to get funding?
4. Future opportunities after completing Phd.

If anyone has any experiences of their Phd time at either countries I would very much appreciate to hear your experiences
What subject are you doing? Sciences or arts?
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username5275792
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(Original post by Edminzodo)
What subject are you doing? Sciences or arts?
Sciences in particular engineering
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username5275792
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(Original post by GatoMessi)
you also speak about getting funding. United States will cost you about 3 times more expensive!
Hmm yeah I figured that, but surely if there is funding/scholarships that won't be too much of a problem. Granted if funding is really hard then yeah maybe not the best idea.
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iElvendork
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US minimum time is 5 years, UK maximum is 4 years.
US will probably give you more in terms of education and papers, but will take a lot longer, also they have a bad working culture, especially at the big research departments. It's considered normal to be in uni every evening and every weekend. Whereas the UK will be a bit more focused as you only have 4 years, and there's less of a demand on being in uni at the weekends and evenings (I only do it very occasionally, but I sometimes do further work from home if I want to).
Sciences will work you hard in either country.

Funding is maybe harder to get in the US as it's a different process to the UK. And depending if your an international student in either country, there might be limited funding options available to you.

I'm doing my PhD in the UK, but my PI (supervisor) did her PhD in the US and I know quite a few people (via twitter) doing their PhD in the US and other countries.
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Kerzen
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Look at the Fulbright Scholarships, BingBong.

http://www.fulbright.org.uk/going-to...a/postgraduate
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username5275792
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(Original post by iElvendork)
US minimum time is 5 years, UK maximum is 4 years.
US will probably give you more in terms of education and papers, but will take a lot longer, also they have a bad working culture, especially at the big research departments. It's considered normal to be in uni every evening and every weekend. Whereas the UK will be a bit more focused as you only have 4 years, and there's less of a demand on being in uni at the weekends and evenings (I only do it very occasionally, but I sometimes do further work from home if I want to).
Sciences will work you hard in either country.

Funding is maybe harder to get in the US as it's a different process to the UK. And depending if your an international student in either country, there might be limited funding options available to you.

I'm doing my PhD in the UK, but my PI (supervisor) did her PhD in the US and I know quite a few people (via twitter) doing their PhD in the US and other countries.
Thank you so much for this it really helped! . How would you say the lifestyle is for you as a PhD student here, do you still get holidays and stuff?
Im guessing in the states the lifestyle is pretty poor and its just work work work right?
In terms of educational benefits you would say the US is better?
Is there a difference in how the PhDs are run in either country. Are there seminars and lectures thay you need to go to etc?
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iElvendork
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(Original post by bingbong9214)
Thank you so much for this it really helped! . How would you say the lifestyle is for you as a PhD student here, do you still get holidays and stuff?
Im guessing in the states the lifestyle is pretty poor and its just work work work right?
In terms of educational benefits you would say the US is better?
Is there a difference in how the PhDs are run in either country. Are there seminars and lectures thay you need to go to etc?
I'm not sure how the US system works for holidays, but I get 25 days holiday a year plus whenever the university is closed which gets me up to 40 days a year (I go to Leeds, so it may be different for other unis). Offical guidelines state I have to do a minimum of 40 hours a week as a full time student, so I usually do 9:30 to 5:30/6 (I'm not a morning person!)
I think some US universties aren't too bad, but any of the good ones will be intense. My supervisor once told me that she'd get weird looks if she left the office before 7pm everyday.

In the US you are expected to know more by the end of your PhD because you spend so long on it. You also attend two years of classes before you really start proper lab work. In the UK, I didn't get any formal classes, I was straight in the lab, learning on the job essentially, I get informal tutorials from my supervisor if there's something I need to know (That's why labs have postdocs, so you have someone to help you in the early stages!). I do get chances to go on courses run through my uni such as careers events, how to give presentations etc. and then there's weekly seminars given by external speakers.
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username5275792
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(Original post by iElvendork)
I'm not sure how the US system works for holidays, but I get 25 days holiday a year plus whenever the university is closed which gets me up to 40 days a year (I go to Leeds, so it may be different for other unis). Offical guidelines state I have to do a minimum of 40 hours a week as a full time student, so I usually do 9:30 to 5:30/6 (I'm not a morning person!)
I think some US universties aren't too bad, but any of the good ones will be intense. My supervisor once told me that she'd get weird looks if she left the office before 7pm everyday.

In the US you are expected to know more by the end of your PhD because you spend so long on it. You also attend two years of classes before you really start proper lab work. In the UK, I didn't get any formal classes, I was straight in the lab, learning on the job essentially, I get informal tutorials from my supervisor if there's something I need to know (That's why labs have postdocs, so you have someone to help you in the early stages!). I do get chances to go on courses run through my uni such as careers events, how to give presentations etc. and then there's weekly seminars given by external speakers.
Oh man thanks for this!! So you get summer holidays off then along with 25 days leave thats pretty cool!
So you attend seminars but not have any formal lectures or tutorials then in the UK?
The US in general probably is not worth it if you've done masters in the UK then?
Im curious, is there a significant advantage at all to study in the states if the US is so educationally demanding and has a much longer to complete?
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by bingbong9214)
Oh man thanks for this!! So you get summer holidays off then along with 25 days leave thats pretty cool!
So you attend seminars but not have any formal lectures or tutorials then in the UK?
The US in general probably is not worth it if you've done masters in the UK then?
Im curious, is there a significant advantage at all to study in the states if the US is so educationally demanding and has a much longer to complete?
They didn't say you get the summer holidays off! They said 40 days total, which sounds pretty typical.

There is usually no formal teaching in the UK, you're basically employed as a low-paid researcher (or an unpaid researcher if you're not funded). The one sort of exception is DTPs/CTDs which are an increasingly common way of structuring PhDs in the UK (mainly in the sciences) where there are more training courses you can do, but it's still nothing like the US.
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username5275792
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
They didn't say you get the summer holidays off! They said 40 days total, which sounds pretty typical.

There is usually no formal teaching in the UK, you're basically employed as a low-paid researcher. The one sort of exception is DTPs/CTDs which are an increasingly common way of structuring PhDs in the UK (mainly in the sciences) where there are more training courses you can do, but it's still nothing like the US.
My bad, thanks for clarifying .
What are DTPs and CTDs, ive not heard them before?
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by bingbong9214)
My bad, thanks for clarifying .
What are DTPs and CTDs, ive not heard them before?
Doctoral Training Partnership/Center for Doctoral Training. UKRI basically gives universities or groups of universities money to fund a certain number of PhD studentships around a particular theme, and they're then in charge of allocating projects. There's also money specifically there to fund research expenses and training. The main differences between a DTP/CTD and a 'normal' PhDs are (1) you're guaranteed a stipend and basic research costs, (2) you have access to training and (3) you're part of a cohort of students. The drawbacks are (1) you have to apply to a project that's part of a DTP/CTD and (2) you're not only competing with others to get your project, you're also competing with other projects to get the funding, so in other words they're competitive.
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Helloworld_95
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1. Yes, UK PhDs are 3-4 years, US PhDs are typically 5-7 years.

2. It depends which university you go to. Some US universities pay very well, most don't (especially as PhD stipends in the US are taxable and you should really be paying health insurance on top of that too), while in the UK everyone gets pretty much the same amount but cost of living of the city you live in can still make a big difference. The length of the PhD also has a big impact on the lifestyle, e.g. in the UK you can live a still fairly student-ish lifestyle for most of the 3 years without being too hard done by it compared to your non-PhD peers, while doing the same in the US for 5+ years will set you back a lot. US PhDs also require a lot more work as you'll be expected to work as a research assistant or teaching assistant, but you wouldn't be in the UK. The advantage of that is you likely end up with more papers as you'll collaborate more, but you're also graduating from your PhD much later.

3. Depends where you're from and your academic profile, GRE scores. If you're from the US or UK then it's easier to stay in your own country, if you're from outside of these countries then it's fairly complicated.

4. They're both pretty similar, however the US side of jobs is a lot less ethical. The tenure system in the US combined with the prevalence of adjuncts nowadays means you are very likely to end up being taken advantage of, and there's a good chance that you'll work for a few years and then suddenly you'll be out of academia. I'd also say that US academics generally take a dim view on non-US PhD grads and so getting a job in the US with a UK PhD will be an uphill battle unless you're clearly outstanding, though you won't have this problem anywhere else in the world.
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username5275792
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Thanks for everyone replying, I really appreciate it! .
So it seems by the looks of it, its not really worth applying for a Phd in the states then. Is there any advantage at all with studying there at all besides living a new country and experiencing a new culture?
Also, I realise that the states have to do 2 years of studying (which is effectively studying a masters), is there anyway you can skip these 2 years at all or are they mandatory?
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Helloworld_95
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(Original post by bingbong9214)
Thanks for everyone replying, I really appreciate it! .
So it seems by the looks of it, its not really worth applying for a Phd in the states then. Is there any advantage at all with studying there at all besides living a new country and experiencing a new culture?
Also, I realise that the states have to do 2 years of studying (which is effectively studying a masters), is there anyway you can skip these 2 years at all or are they mandatory?
If you've already studied a masters it's technically possible to reduce that by 1 year in some cases, but that's just exchanging 1 year somewhere for 1 year somewhere else, where you're probably getting a worse deal.

You don't just take classes during that time too, there is a lot of other stuff you do which contributes towards the overall PhD.
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