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Phd entry requirements
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I think it's not so much the university's entry requirements that need to be known, but much more important is the requirements of any funding bodies you're applying to. Most universities will accept you with a 2:2 and a distinction, but for an unfunded place.

Ridiculously Overqualified?
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Quote From abababa:

For me, this is the extreme of someone who's good at being a student but cannot move beyond it. I have seen this before (admittedly to a much lesser degree!), often with students later in life doing PhDs; they have the aspiration of the qualification, but not actually a plan or desire to move beyond it.

That's a good way of putting it. There are a few students at my uni who openly say that they are doing the PhD to be called 'Dr' and few other reasons. They don't plan to enter academia or do an industry job related to their research, but I guess if they are happy with doing it, good for them.

Don't want to travel
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Hi curious_mind,
A friend of mine has a similar dilemma at the moment, although for some additional reasons too. She's an international PhD student (luckily on a full scholarship), and she's been told she might have to go to a country in mainland Europe for 4 months+ at some point. Not only is she not particularly keen, but her visa also only allows her to leave the UK for 3 months at a time. I don't know whether travel was in her contract, but she was surprised when her supervisor mentioned it, so probably not. I think she's currently discussing her options with her supervisor, as she entered a pre-existing project partnered with a university in the European country, which makes her position a bit tougher. If your project is something you proposed, I'd imagine you'd have more flexibility to decline suggestions from supervisors.

Designing First PhD Study (Psychology)
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It depends on what you want to measure/capture as to which methods and designs are most appropriate. Your supervisor might also have certain expertise or preferences that may affect your decisions here.

Is it worth starting a PhD in the humanities without funding?
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Quote From Hydra:
Also, do you/does anyone know if it is possible to start my unfunded PhD and look for other funded options in the meantime? I mean, would I be considered at all by a new university if I have already started somewhere else? And, in case it is possible, would I be allowed to transfer my research or would I need to present a new project?

You can definitely look for funding during your PhD, but it's unlikely to be huge amounts like studentships are. You can look for grants and scholarships offered by relevant organisations and charities, but obviously don't apply for ones for new PhD students if you've already started yours.

As to whether you'd be considered elsewhere - that's tricky. If you aren't funded, you aren't tied to your supervisor/university in that respect, but your prospective universities may be concerned about why you want to transfer. Whether you can move your research over may be down to your supervisor and how far you've got with your project. A PhD student who started before me had to leave just after her data collection had finished, but the university kept the data and the 'idea' for the project and assigned it to someone else. Equally, a new supervisor may not be happy to get involved with a project which they've had no input on for years.

If you aren't happy with your current PhD offer, and you aren't funded. it might be better to wait and apply to other places.

Is it worth starting a PhD in the humanities without funding?
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Quote From Hydra:
After years of thinking that all I wanted was a PhD, I finally got a place at a good university: both the advisor and the project sound great, but on the other hand I hate the city where I'd have to live and I am beginning to have doubts about wanting to stay in academia. Plus, I'm not getting any funds, meaning I have to pay the university fee, which is significant, plus support myself, all on my own. I accepted it a few months back but now that I am about to start, I'm not sure this is the best for me. Everyone reassured me that it is much easier to get funding in the second year but I don't know if I can believe that: in case I didn't get it, I would have to work part-time, meaning it would just take forever to get this degree done. Because I've wanted it for so long and because the uni has a good reputation I feel like I should at least give it a go, but I wonder, is it even worth it if I have zero funding? I'm in the humanities so finding jobs ain't easy, I just don't know if I'm making it harder for myself right now.

As someone doing a humanities PhD right now, I wrestled a lot for the self-funding aspect (only one research council funds my PhD area, and I was rejected). I would seriously warn against starting a PhD with the mindset that you will definitely get funding in Years 2 onwards, because that very well might not happen. I have heard of many people feeling trapped in their PhD because they started it thinking that they would get funding later, but it never happened, but they had already sunk a whole year into the PhD by that time, so felt like they couldn't quit. I would also say that after mental health, financial issues is the reason many PhD students drop out or don't complete.
I'd say that if you are really passionate about your project, that might be able to motivate you through; are there places close to the city that you could live in instead and commute in?

Worried about participant recruitment
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I'm a few weeks into recruiting participants for my first study, and I'm not getting the kind of engagement I was expecting. I've shared the link to my survey on social media, but I seem to only get 1 or 2 responses for every 4 posts I make. My participant group is quite niche (so not all adults over 18 or something like that), but I did another study a few years ago using the same group, and got a relatively good turnout in the same time period. I'm wondering if screen/online fatigue is playing a role this time - I know a lot of research has had to go online, so a lot of forums etc. are no longer accepting survey promotion posts.

I'm planning to approach some organisations direct to see if they are willing to help me with recruitment, but what I was wondering is: what would happen if I can't recruit the numbers required? Has anyone experienced this before?

Want to change research methods
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Quote From JaneW:
Yeah it was my own proposal. I’ve got a meeting with my DoS this afternoon so I’m praying we can get things sorted. Supervisors keep telling me that a PhD can change along the way so I’m hoping that works in my favour 🤞🏼

They wonder why you proposed a methodology that you aren't happy with, but if they are flexible about the change, then you should be fine to do that. They may ask you to do a different methodology instead rather than drop that aspect of the project entirely, just so that your project still has the same amount of scope.

Want to change research methods
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Quote From JaneW:
I’ve watched lectures online about surveys, I’ve read research methods books. I’ve tried to formulate my questions as robust and unambiguous as possible but they are still not right and I don’t know how I can make them better 🤷🏼‍♀️ My Director of Studies is the research methods expert but I feel as though she just wants me to get on with it, but I don’t know how when I’m stuck with the questions 😕 if I continue with the mixed methods it’s going to be a struggle all the way through 😔 I can find some survey results relating to attitudes towards women and divorce etc from secondary sources but nothing specific to single mothers.

Have you spoken to anyone from your funding body about dropping the quant aspect of your project? I'm thinking that you probably got funding based on the project as it is, and they may not be happy if it changes too much. Is this a project that you proposed yourself?

Want to change research methods
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Quote From JaneW:
Hi, I’m a first year funded PhD student originally supposed to be doing mixed methods but I really want to scrap the surveys as I’m finding it too stressful - not getting much support and I don’t have much experience with quants. My research is exploring social stigma and empowerment in single mums in Turkey so the crucial part is interviews with women (hopefully 40) and achieving and in-depth understanding of their experiences. I was going to do surveys as well to look at public perceptions and use that to provide a bigger picture but I really don’t want to do the surveys anymore. I’m nervous about bringing this up with my supervisors and know I’m going to have to defend my reasoning. Just wondered if anyone had any advice? How do I justify my decision? TIA

Is there any training you can attend to help you feel more confident with quant methods? Is there another academic you approach for advice about surveys? I'm concerned that if you don't have a clear logistical/methodological/theoretical reason for rejecting the survey methods, they may insist you do it anyway. Also your funding body may not approve of the change (as it would be quite a big one). Will your project still have enough scope?

Publications featured in the general public press
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It would depend on its value to the person reading your CV. Mainstream media isn't peer-reviewed, so may not have much weight as a publication in some circles. You could however demonstrate how this engages the public and contributes to impact and stakeholder awareness.

PhD not awarded
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I agree with rewt, this is a highly unusual situation. Given that your external seems to have no intention of passing you, I agree with rewt's advice in order to get a new examiner. If you are a member of a union (UCU, NUS, your university's union), they might also be worth talking to.

PhD Studying time
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Quote From MariaResearcher:
I have seen many students complain of not having enough time to complete their final assignment which makes things hard for them. I think the students should work on their Assignments before time to avoid these last minute rush.

How many hours should a PhD student study?
What are your views?

Most PhD students are recommended to work from 9am to 5pm, 5 or 6 days per week (so a traditional working week), although from speaking to others at my university, most students work more than this.
I think the main issue with writing up the final thesis is that many PhD students can't simply focus on that, they must also take part in conferences, write papers for publications, teach, mark assignments, prepare for progress reviews etc. It's also not uncommon for students to find issues with their project in the final stages, and therefore have to redo experiments, rewrite whole chapters etc. and that all takes time.

Problems with Zoom
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Quote From Amaryllis427:
I had a meeting with three professors via Zoom today and I couldn't get my screen to work. It was like a seance and I was the spirit. My primary supervisor didn't look happy, probably because it's the fourth Zoom technical malfunction I've had this year.

Has anyone else had similar problems? I feel so foolish for not testing it before the meeting.


This can happen for a number of reasons: clashes with other platforms if you also have Teams or other programs requiring your cam/mic running in the background, your webcam may need replacing, your version of Zoom may not have the latest updates etc.

Usually if it's a simple glitch, it can be resolved by leaving the call and returning immediately.

Awful Progress Review
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Quote From abababa:

3) The depression and your well-being is obviously the most important thing here. Don't lose sight of that. My consistent advice is speak to a health professional; then speak with HR; then speak with the supervisors. It is important you do this, because you are unwell, and deserve support and time to recover. The #1 mistake students and academics with depression make is to not report it and try their best, because then you're seen administratively as someone who's fine and doing a bad job, which in turn makes things worse and can result in a spiral. This has implications for expected completion dates - it's better to have had 6 months off formally sick, than be struggling for extensions towards the end of the PhD because you were unwell but there's no record of it. If work helps with the depression there's nothing stopping you doing it while off sick. I'd generally suggest speaking to HR before the supervisors; because it's less personal, and they will (hopefully) be more trained to respond and advise than an academic, who will likely be extremely sympathetic but have had zero training in how to help.

OP, this is the best advice. So many PhD students delay declaring extenuating circumstances because they are embarrassed, don't want to worry their supervisor, or want to get assessments over with. It's so important to keep your university in the loop when things affect your work, so that you aren't being judged too harshly. A friend of mine didn't declare her mental health deterioration for months, and ended up basically being forced to take a suspension before her annual review (as she hadn't done any PhD work for 5 months without her supervisor knowing). If you have a personal tutor (who is a separate person to your supervisors), this is the type of thing you can talk to them about.