lildannys95
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Hey!

I have an interview coming up for a PhD project I applied for. Its 50mins long, I just wanted to ask about peoples experiences of interviews? 50mins seem a huge time for an interview and I worry what may be talked about during it. What kind of questions were you asked?

I also have to deliver a small presentation on the research design I would take on my project. This means to me, discussing how I would undertake the project from start to finish and what methods I would choose to research the area? Is this the right avenue to look at?

Thanks for your help!

Daniel x
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by lildannys95)
Hey!

I have an interview coming up for a PhD project I applied for. Its 50mins long, I just wanted to ask about peoples experiences of interviews? 50mins seem a huge time for an interview and I worry what may be talked about during it. What kind of questions were you asked?

I also have to deliver a small presentation on the research design I would take on my project. This means to me, discussing how I would undertake the project from start to finish and what methods I would choose to research the area? Is this the right avenue to look at?
What’s the subject area and is it a funded project. Questions like this will have a big impact on how the interview process runs, if it’s a funded position in a STEM subject you are asking someone to invest about £100k and lots of their personal research time (and to some extent personal reputation) in you, so 50 minutes is actually pretty short. I would normally expect serious candidate to have a series of meetings including being sent off for lunch with current PhDs and RAs that might take a whole day as each side gets to assess the other on assorted academic and personal levels.

Bottom line, you will be expected to talk about your previous project work with skill and enthusiasm, field searching questions about projects (past and future) and have the necessary academic background, personal skills and resilience to undertake independent research. For some areas, you will also need to be able to provide (and defend) a vision for your own project, though in STEM that’s often rather secondary to the research interests of the group you are joining. Being able to work with a team may also be an important part of the package.
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lildannys95
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(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
What’s the subject area and is it a funded project. Questions like this will have a big impact on how the interview process runs, if it’s a funded position in a STEM subject you are asking someone to invest about £100k and lots of their personal research time (and to some extent personal reputation) in you, so 50 minutes is actually pretty short. I would normally expect serious candidate to have a series of meetings including being sent off for lunch with current PhDs and RAs that might take a whole day as each side gets to assess the other on assorted academic and personal levels.

Bottom line, you will be expected to talk about your previous project work with skill and enthusiasm, field searching questions about projects (past and future) and have the necessary academic background, personal skills and resilience to undertake independent research. For some areas, you will also need to be able to provide (and defend) a vision for your own project, though in STEM that’s often rather secondary to the research interests of the group you are joining. Being able to work with a team may also be an important part of the package.
Its a funded project, Sociology based.

I wish I could have that experience for interview to be honest, a chance to have lunch and all with them and properly visit the campus, because its just as much seeing if its a good fit for me as good fit for them too, but unfortunately its just one interview with a yes or no after.

I think the main worry I have is the presentation, I looked at research design, and I think I am just getting confused, as so many different sources say something a bit different. It is literally just describing how you will do the project, the steps and what methods you will choose in a nutshell tailored to the project?
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mnot
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(Original post by lildannys95)
Hey!

I have an interview coming up for a PhD project I applied for. Its 50mins long, I just wanted to ask about peoples experiences of interviews? 50mins seem a huge time for an interview and I worry what may be talked about during it. What kind of questions were you asked?

I also have to deliver a small presentation on the research design I would take on my project. This means to me, discussing how I would undertake the project from start to finish and what methods I would choose to research the area? Is this the right avenue to look at?

Thanks for your help!

Daniel x
I enjoyed my interview, I found mine ended up being more of a discussion about my past, the field in general as well as some more detailed discussion on the project area.

I would look into the expertise of your interviewer, and brush up on the relevant technical knowledge it would be reasonable for an applicant to know. Id also expect some ‘soft’ questions i.e. why do you want a PhD, why this uni, why this field...
Last edited by mnot; 4 weeks ago
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by lildannys95)
I think the main worry I have is the presentation, I looked at research design, and I think I am just getting confused, as so many different sources say something a bit different. It is literally just describing how you will do the project, the steps and what methods you will choose in a nutshell tailored to the project?
So if there is some contention about which method is “best”, its fine to draw that out in the presentation and state that this is a thing you will investigate, no PhD research plan survives contact with reality and a bit of tension here is good . You don’t have to have every step set out perfectly, odds are things that look good on paper now won’t work as well as expected. The key thing however is to start by explaining what the project is broadly about, why it’s exciting and topical and what you might learn from it. Some context from the current research literature is also important, who are your competitors internationally and what is the state of the art. What “new thing” will you bring to the party, where do you expect to publish it ?

Having backup plans (multiple) if things don’t work as expected is also useful and shows a more mature approach to research. If “real people” are involved some thoughts on data management + security and how to get your proposed methods past a research ethics committee will be useful.
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