Signup date: 11 Feb 2010 at 10:45pm
Last login: 04 Aug 2016 at 2:01pm
Post count: 445
I'm also a zoologist (well ecology). Can I ask what kind of topics you are applying for PhDs in? Is there something specific you are interested in? As it may be that the people who are getting the PhD's are showing a lot of passion for that particular topic/project as most supervisors will go for a student who shows specific interest in their project over another student even with perfect grades.
Competition is very tough, not just to get a PhD, but even more so to get a post-doc afterwards and then even more so again to get any kind of permanent job after that (it is probably something like 1 in 40 people with a PhD get a permanent academic job). Think really carefully about whether you really do want a PhD.
If you still do, look up universities and look at the staff there and see if they do topics you are interested in, you could contact them and ask if they will have any PhD projects in the near future and give them a little overview of yourself. Getting to know these people can really boost your chances. Maybe go to a conference if you can - great place to meet academics! You say you aren't near anywhere you can volunteer? Is there any way you can move to somewhere that is if you could get another admin job elsewhere? I hope you find something soon!
Hi Athena, I've done a few 10-15 min talks. I agree with what others have said and target your audience. I think you either need to just talk about one of your chapters/key findings or the overall findings of your thesis without going into methods etc. You can't do both or it will be rushed or go over time. I have concentrated on one chapter when I've done mine so that I can go into methods a little bit. Also with such a short talk you don't need much background or a summary except maybe one or two bullet points.
Are you in the UK Hubert? And are you talking about a PhD interview? If so, and the project is funded through a research council the salary is non-negotiable as everyone gets the same. Perhaps if the funding is coming from the university there is more wiggle room, but I've never heard of it happening before.
I have a friend who had similar issues getting samples (they were from patients and so unreliable). In the end she changed her PhD as she didn't get enough samples to do her original ideas, she ended up writing more about her new methods rather than what was in the samples. But in the end she got her PhD no problem. Perhaps think about back-up ideas and alternative things you can do if your samples will take a long time? But you still have a year left so it could be your samples come and there will be plenty of time to do your original ideas. But always good to have a back-up anyway!
Just be aware that a PhD in the UK is a bit different - usually no taught parts so pure research for 3-4 years. Unless you have one of the newer style ones with one year of taught first but these are still rare in plant/animal sciences. But there shouldn't be any difference in how people view it afterwards.
I agree with TreeofLife, just wanted to add I had a friend from the US that had a company sponsored Visa in the UK - the process took a while although she applied over xmas so that could have slowed things down, and it was expensive for her(something like £500). And then when she wanted to change jobs it was difficult as her visa was attached to her particular job. I'm sure these are general visa issues though and it would be very similar in the US
What subject are you in? Have you thought about tutoring school-age kids? I do this both as a private tutor and through a private college and earn £18-25 an hour. I did it just for a couple of hours a week throughout my PhD to top up funds, now my funding has ended I'm doing it at the private college for 10-15 hours a week and it lets me earn enough to pay bills. I'm a biologist and there was plenty of people looking for science tutors. But people at my private college tutor all subjects.
Yeah I agree with pd, I get a bit like that when I call my Mum or Dad or non-phd friends (I live 500 miles away) but mostly because they don't understand. And every week my Mum asks 'have you finished your writing yet?' and sounds disappointed and confused when I say 'no it's going to take me months and months'. Haha. Do you make sure to take at least one day (or at least half day) off each week? You might be burning out a bit and need some time to yourself.
Even if you were talking about a funded PhD I'd say think twice as it doesn't seem to be the best way to get into your chosen career. With it being unfunded I wouldn't even think about it, getting yourself into a huge amount of debt for no guaranteed career benefits is a dangerous game. I'd hold out for funding or keep looking for employment (remember the average is about 50 applications to get a job nowadays). If your health is stopping you maybe volunteer part-time to get some experience, you may not be earning but at least you aren't paying huge fees to get the experience.
Ask for help Tru, your supervisors or other people in your department may not know you are struggling. Don't give up without at first trying to get the help you need. If your supervisors are inexperienced that may mean you need to go to them with a clear list of questions to ask them, and don't leave until they have answered them all or given you another way to find the answers. Better to have tried your best than to leave and always have that 'what if' feeling.
If they are giving conditional offers it usually means you have to reach that grade to be accepted onto the course. Perhaps there has been misunderstandings with the Italian vs UK grading? I would call up the admissions offices of these universities to check with them. Most Masters will ask for a 2:1 although some will allow a 2:2 and there can be some wiggle room if you have relevant experience etc, so it's best to check with each university I think.
Often there is a lot of red tape that slows these things down, in the UK my supervisor told me before the HR department but he wasn't meant to have done that, and told me not to let anyone know before I got the official letters, which were weeks later! I wouldn't worry too much!
It could be some internal delay such as waiting for the HR department to do something before they can email. Perhaps leave it 2 weeks from the date of interview and then send an email asking for an update of the situation? As long as you word it well it shouldn't look weird. I hope you hear soon!
I think it depends on the situation, but I've heard you do have more flexibility, but also that can mean less supervision direction. Supervisors will jump at the chance to take a self-funded student but if your topic isn't exactly what they do it may be difficult for them to guide you as much, if that makes sense? It'll completely depend on individual circumstances though.
This is totally up to you and your supervisors. Mine was a vague project and we firmed it up in the first few months, but it changed slightly along the way due to circumstances. It'll be different for every project. But ultimately you are leading the project, so if you aren't happy you need to be in charge of changing it. If it is too late to change now you just need to get on with it I'm afraid.
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