Signup date: 24 Oct 2006 at 11:45am
Last login: 04 Jun 2009 at 12:01pm
Post count: 274
I agree about talking about your paper as though it exists and tailoring your abstract to the conference proposal (and also have a specific panel in mind if they give you that information). I just wrote two proposals over the holidays and both have been accepted.
I think there are three things to consider
1) To what extent do the referees' research interests match your own (they'll also be more flattered that you're pursuing 'their' subjects when you ask them)?
2) How senior in the department and well-respected in their field are they?
3) How well do they know you (for instance, did they simply give lectures for a module you took or have you taken a class with them, or worked on a project with them as your supervisor?)?
I had one referee who was my personal tutor in my department, and one who was a specialist. The best thing to do is arrange an appointment to chat to them to remind them who you are and check they'd be happy to write a reference for you. They won't say no unless they're about to leave the country or something: it's part of their job.
I usually highlight sections in an accompanying email that I want particular help with (this is a euphemism for sections I think are nonsensical drivel). This way, my supervisor can focus on the rubbish areas particularly. Talking things over with her really helps me so I'd rather send something crap, get her feedback and rewrite than spend double the time getting it better on my own. I'll sometimes just outline a section as freewriting and give that to her to read, because I develop my arguments non-linearly quite often (as you can tell from this comment).
If it's really important to you to find out, you could give the department's postgrad secretary a call and see if he/she is prepared to tell you what their applicants: places ratio was last year. That will give you some idea of how competitive that particular MA is. Have you applied anywhere else as a second choice?
I study for my PhD full time, have a part-time job in a call centre (two-and-a-half days a week) and teach two undergraduate classes. So I supposeone of my jobs is irrelevant and one is relevant.
I have a social life, but it's often multi-tasked; I meet friends and work out with them or go to a lecture or a seminar, and I'll spend time on the phone with my boyfriend while I'm cooking or cleaning or in the bath. Basically, I'm hardly ever in the pub or having coffee and just socialising (my life sounds really sad now luckily I love my PhD so it's ok!) but that's also because I'm really poor. And I still have time to mess about on the internet when I'm at work!
I wouldn't really rate your chances very highly at all. I know people who have graduated with PhDs from my department and are having difficulties finding jobs. They have teaching experience, publications, and a four years of research behind them, and it's them you'd be competing against.
Sorry if this sounds rude, but think about it this way: how many of your lecturers don't have doctorates?
I'm feeling quite positive as I go into my final year, but it's just so scary to see people who've finished at Christmas last year who haven't yet found a job. So I'm really not that worried about my thesis, I'm worried about the dead zone immediately afterwards when I'm going to be looking for work for what seems like a long time. Will I need a postdoc forum then?
I saw that someone on here was doing this and wanted to ask how it works. It seems like a really smart idea, particularly if you have more than one supervisor. Is it complicated (or, would I be able to explain it to my supervisor, given that I introduced her to the idea of a usb stick a couple of months ago!)?
This is quite a tricky one actually! I think you'd use the past tense if you were quite clear this wasn't current thinking any more and were looking at the ideas in the context of the past, perhaps? So, like "In their classic study X et al noted..." rather than "X et al conclude..." That's the message I think you'd be giving if you switched tenses. Another distinction I'd make (I'm studying English) is between textual analysis and biographical or historical info, so (as a rather crappy eg.) when you're talking about poems in Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth and Coleridge are still in the present, but when you're talking about what they thought about pantheism in general they're in the past. Apologies for vagueness, I'm intrigued about how rules for this might work.
What's weird about conditional offers for your PhD is that if you've come straight from your MA and the conditions are your master's results, then you'll generally be well into the first year before you officially find out you've passed the master's! I'd imagine your department would be a little flexible but (hopefully) would offer a bit more support and keep an eye on your progress to make sure the first year went ok.
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