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Mark_B
Friday, 30 August 2013 at 12:52am
Monday, 21 October 2019 at 10:17am
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page 1 of 10 recent posts

Thread: PhD and mortgage

posted
26-May-15, 12:56
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi Mes

I applied for a mortgage successfully along with my partner in 2012 - albeit as a part-time PhD student.

The difficulty you'll have will be getting around lenders' hesitancy re. short-term contracts (this is how they'll probably view a funded studentship or other work such as casual teaching assistantships). If you can present income in the form of an ongoing contract you'll be in a much stronger position.

We succeeded in the end by going through a broker. They charged a small fee, but were more than worth it. My advice would be to try something similar - they'll be better placed to take stock of your situation and present it to banks. Ours didn't actually charge anything until they'd found us a mortgage.

Hope that helps a bit - it's not impossible, but it may be tricky.

Mark

Thread: PhD age limit?

posted
26-May-15, 11:17
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Re. the under-30 limit for the UK loans - the Government is justifying the cap on the basis that under 30s apparently face the greatest financial barriers when considering further study. They've released evidence and rationale for this, which may be of interest:

Thread: EU member not getting UK funding

posted
21-May-15, 15:04
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi folks

That's an interesting suggestion re. the search feature - I'll pass it on.

There is currently an option to filter searches by EU (non-UK) citizenship (you can select this using the 'funding' options). That should remove any projects that don't offer any funding at all to non-UK nationals.

However, the amount of funding available may still differ between individual projects. This is partly because a large number of PhDs in the UK are supported through the UK Research Councils.

The funding they allocate is public money, derived from UK taxpayer revenue, etc. EU regulations require that all citizens have equal access to public funding for degree programmes, but that doesn't extend to the maintenance grant (which doesn't pay fees for the degree).

This general policy only applies to Research Council funding; individual universities are free to provide fees and maintenance awards to students of any nationality, at their discretion. Some may also choose to supplement Research Council awards for EU students.

I appreciate that this can be frustrating for EU students and that it's crucial to be aware of funding criteria when applying for a project. I'd suggest confirming funding details early in the process.

Most of the projects on FindAPhD.com will have information on funding in their project descriptions, but you can always use the email enquiry feature to query or double-check this.

It's also possible to combine funding from a range of other sources. Our sister-site, www.postgraduatefunding.com lists a large number of awards available to 'top-up' PhD funding.

As I say, I'll pass on the feedback re. search filtering.

Thanks

Mark

Thread: Postgraduate Loans Consultation - Make Your Voice Heard (UK Students)

posted
18-May-15, 10:16
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Just a quick reminder about this, folks.

However you feel about the recent election result, the government will be pressing ahead with some pretty significant postgraduate finance reforms - for Masters and PhD students.

If you're likely to be affected, you've got two more weeks to make your voice heard as part of the open consultation.

Cheers!

Mark

Thread: pgcert by dissertation?

posted
15-May-15, 12:17
edited about 26 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi Spidermanspiderman

You're right that the credits for a Masters degree and a Postgraduate Certificate break down that way, but I'd be quite surprised if an institution allowed you to gain the PGCert by just submitting a dissertation.

The dissertation component of a Masters is what differentiates it from other postgraduate qualifications, as the candidate carries out independent academic research or professional project work.

The PGCert and PGDip, on the other hand, are more concerned with acquiring a more specific suite of advanced skills and / or academic subject knowledge.

In addition, as chickpea, points out, the taught component of a Masters plays an important part in preparing students for the dissertation phase.

If I were you I'd take a look at some Masters programmes in subjects you're interested in. You'll probably find that they actually allow (indeed, require) a fair amount of independent and self-directed study even during their taught components (scratching that research itch). Most courses will also allow students to enrol part-time or by distance learning.

Hope that helps a bit

Thread: Should I bother trying to write/publish a journal article?

posted
13-May-15, 09:14
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Can you chat to your MA thesis supervisor about it? Mine was a big help when it came to selecting and re-framing a chapter of mine.

Thread: REF cycle

posted
11-May-15, 14:54
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
I suspect that depends on the journal and the field. In my area (humanities) I'm aware of at least one journal with a fairly long waiting list. I'd imagine science journals need to pay greater attention to the timeliness of the research they publish - particularly for data-centric pieces.

Thread: REF cycle

posted
11-May-15, 14:23
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Journals may have something of a bottleneck, as large numbers of academics seek to place publications in issues that come out in time for a REF. I've never seen this given as a reason for rejection myself though.

I'd have thought it would make more sense for an editor to simply accept a paper for a future issue?

Thread: Should I bother trying to write/publish a journal article?

posted
11-May-15, 12:52
edited about 1 minute later
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Do you mean conference papers? - I tend to leave myself sufficient time before the event to plan and write them. They're usually derived from whatever I'm currently working on, so it's not a major detour. A 2-2.5k paper typically takes me a day or so of writing, depending on how much of it draws directly from existing work.

Publishable pieces take longer, but, again, I tend to dedicate blocks of time to them - usually between PhD chapters, etc.

Thread: Should I bother trying to write/publish a journal article?

posted
11-May-15, 10:11
edited about 2 minutes later
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi Nesrine

I'm also Humanities and have published a few pieces during my PhD. With the exception of one journal article that was a polished up version of my MA diss', they've mostly been related to my thesis. In my area it's not necessarily a problem to incorporate previously published material in a monograph (provided its reworked and acknowledged).

To be honest, you seem to have the right idea about this. Publications look great on a C.V. and may make some difference in a competitive job market, but they involve a lot of additional work. Even if the material you submit is strong, you'll still have to devote some time to responding to peer review. Having support from your supervisor will probably make that easier.

One thing to bear in mind may be stage of the REF-cycle you're planning to enter the job market at. Having some existing publications may make you more attractive to institutions looking to boost their submissions (particularly smaller universities) but larger universities may not be too concerned (they'll probably have a stable of academics with strong monograph entries ready to go).

Hope that helps a wee bit - as I say, it sounds like you've thought this through quite thoroughly already, so it probably is down to your workload.

Mark

Thread: Best online journals for humanities?

posted
06-May-15, 13:59
edited about 5 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi Sivvy

JSTOR and SAGE are both good portals. The most relevant specific journals will depend on your subject area and topic.

Thread: Where do I start??

posted
06-May-15, 13:57
edited about 20 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi sivvy

Making informal contact with a supervisor is definitely a good idea. Most English Lit academics will have an institutional web-page including details of the sorts of projects they're interested in supervising.

I'd send a polite email with a brief description of your interests (and perhaps a little bit about your experience, including undergraduate or MA dissertation topics). It's also nice to say why you think they might be a good supervisor - you don't need to fawn on their research / reputation, but you can say why their work / interests are appropriate to your project.

Don't worry if you don't hear back straight away - most academics will be pretty busy this time of year.

There's nothing wrong with doing a bit of preliminary 'research' around your topic as well. I wouldn't try and begin a comprehensive literature review at this stage (that's something your supervisor will be able to advise you with when the time comes) but you can take a look at some of the key critical texts.

Googling your prospective topic can also be quite handy - that'll probably bring up one or two relevant critical works, along with relevant scholars and perhaps even some other PhD students working on related areas.

You can mention anything interesting you find in an email to a potential supervisor if you think it's relevant and will help them understand your ideas.

Hope that helps a wee bit - good luck!

Mark

Thread: Phd Search

posted
21-Apr-15, 12:35
edited about 28 seconds later
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
My understanding is that EU law prevents citizens of other member states being discriminated against for public funding. However, it is possible to limit that funding to the project itself and not provide a maintenance stipend.

Thread: Masters dissertation - anxious, depressed, lonely! Is there any hope?

posted
20-Apr-15, 09:21
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi Academicadam

I can understand your feeling demotivated at this stage. I remember facing down my MA dissertation with a PhD already confirmed. After the excitement of defining a PhD topic, getting it approved, etc, the MA diss' felt strange - almost like a step back to a topic I was less interested in and a stage I was already past.

The thing to do though (and I'm not going to win any awards for this advice...) is to get started. Looking at a wall of research material is pretty daunting. The trick is to make it smaller. Work out a good start point, get yourself a good note-taking system (I actually used small cards, to stop myself getting out of control) and get a few days under your belt. You'll get your lightbulb moments and your interest and enthusiasm in the topic will develop accordingly. It will, honest. I ended up loving my MA dissertation - even published a small piece of it.

Hope that helps a bit - honestly, get stuck in and you'll feel better about it.

Mark

Thread: Postgraduate Loans Consultation - Make Your Voice Heard (UK Students)

posted
17-Apr-15, 13:43
by Mark_B
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posted about 4 years ago
Hi Folks,

You're probably aware of the proposals for new postgraduate student loans at Masters and PhD level in the UK and you may also know that the UK government is currently seeking participants for its consultation process.

This is an opportunity for various groups (including students) to say what they think about the plans for the loans and as you may have noticed if you've since the lovely pink banner ----->

... we've put together a page that lets you take part in the consultation right here on the postgraduate forum:
The consultation tool explains the various aspects of the policy you're being asked for feedback about as you go, but you can check out the guides to the Masters loans:

http://www.findamasters.com/funding/guides/new-uk-postgraduate-loans-scheme.aspx

And the PhD loans:

http://www.findaphd.com/funding/guides/uk-phd-loans-scheme.aspx

At FindAMasters and FindAPhD.com.

So, if you feel strongly about different aspects of these policies - or these changes to higher education policy in general - now's your chance to have your say. The consultation will run until 29th May.

Of course, you can also chat about the policies here in this thread - but, if you're a UK student, make sure the government knows what you think as well!

Cheers,

Mark
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