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Last chance to complete my Master's dissertation (Political science)

I think you have plenty of time to write 12,500 so try not to worry (easier said than done, I know). I think I had 6 weeks to write the dissertation for my Masters.

I think writing varies by person but these are what work for me:
1. Section and sub section headers - You don't have to keep these, I sometimes just add one to remind me what I need a paragraph on. There's nothing worse than staring at a blank page feeling overwhelmed.
2. Bullet points to flesh out those headings
3. Start with some of the easier paragraphs first - As I said earlier, you don't want to be staring at a blank page, so writing things like your aims and methods first might be getting the easier stuff out the way first but will make you feel like you've got stuff done.
4. Small word count targets - aim low initially 200-500 words a day and then once you get into the habit of writing daily you can increase this (500 words a day is only 25 days).

Kicked off PhD

Thanks for the update, I'm really pleased to hear you've been given a chance. I hope things go well over the next 6 months

consumer behavior+coffee

Quote From Nesrine:
Dear members ..
i'm in Phd (technology for sustainable agriculture) and my area of interest is consumer behavior and i choose coffe as product .. please help me to find recent papers ( 2016, 2017,2018) cuz i don't have access to any platform of journal or papers ..

Surely, if you are a PhD student, you are connected to a university, which will have access to journals.
If not I suggest you start with pubmed and Science Direct and look at articles where the full text is available.

Applying Phd with mediocre Masters with Dissertation + conference paper

Quote From pm133:
When it comes to PhD funding grades are the number one deciding factor. You would only consider lesser qualified people if you were short of top applicants or if the top applicants had serious character defects. I dont know why you would consider it fair to fund a 2:1 candidate over some who was technically superior. That would be a very odd thing to do when technical excellence should be a prerequesite for such a role.

i would be genuinely inteested in hearing if anyone has experience of a first class candidate being overlooked for funding in favour of a second class student.

I don't think you're going to hear form anyone. It would be really bad form to be informed about the candidates you beat - I certainly don't know how many were interviewed or why I was chosen over anyone else for my PhD.

I agree with you that if we were talking about a scenario where two recent graduates applied and one had a 2:1 and one had a 1st.... You would almost certainly go for the person with a 1st.

What I'm saying is that as life goes on, that having a 1st becomes less important, people have other life experiences, they evolve, hopefully become better with more skills. Basing a decision purely on degree marks and not considering anything else, I feel is a naive view. Plus, what really is the different between a 1st and a high 2:1 (which is what I have)? 5 marks on an exam paper? I certainly don't feel I was "technically superior" to others who got lower than me in my undergrad... I just remembered stuff better for the exam and probably didn't have as much going on in the background.

If what you are saying it true, my 2:1 at a mediocre university means I shouldn't be here and I should have applied for dozens and dozens of PhD before I got a second rate offer because no one else wanted it.

Applying Phd with mediocre Masters with Dissertation + conference paper

Quote From divineflare1411:

What made you want to take phd after 10+ yrs?

I think that's a tough question to answer briefly. I've probably been wanting to do one for 5 years or so, since finishing my masters but for different reasons the timing wasn't right. For a while I looked at doing one by publication but that wouldn't have been right for me.

Ultimately, doing one full-time, and now, came down to two reasons, mostly because I want the personal achievement of getting my PhD. Secondly, having tried to side-step my career into a slightly different field for many years and having failed, I thought this would be an opportunity to get my foot in the door.

Applying Phd with mediocre Masters with Dissertation + conference paper

Quote From pm133:

People can absolutely get PhD positions with a 2:1 and I agree you need to show some other skills or abilities but most crucially you need to hope someone with a 1st doesn't also apply for that post. If that happens, your application is as good as dead unless you are physically related to the supervisor or can persuade them to take a bribe. I think it is very important that people with lower grades understand that.

I think there's a lot more to it than what you got in your undergraduate degree. To say that I wouldn't have got my PhD if someone with a 1st had applied is, I think rather unfair.

I don't know who the other candidates were, but I do know that having spend 10+ years working (and getting a Masters part-time) before deciding to do my PhD means that I'm not the same person I was when I was when I graduated at 22 and can demonstrate a lot more of the skills necessary for a PhD than someone who has just graduated with a 1st from an equivalent university.

Demanding critical and controlling PhD advisor - I need Help

I agree with Tudor Queen that bits just sound like someone who is quite blunt and they don't mean anything by it. I know from experience that its easy to become defensive when you don't like the way someone approaches you (I've been there).

I'd take time to think about what she is saying... I always read the email and close it immediately and then come back to it later (I find I've calmed down a bit then). Take the suggestions you agree with on board and for things you disagree with, explain why. "I know you told me to get on with Y before X, but I think it would be better X first because..." or "I've set aside Z time to work on Y".

With regards to you need to include this and that "Thank you very much for your suggestions, I'll be sure to include some paragraphs on this, however I'm not entirely sure how that fits into my thesis. I wonder if you could explain your thinking a bit more."

Essentially she'll feel better and more confident in what you're doing if she thinks you're considering the advice and have genuine reasons for doing things different (think of it as practice for being questioned in your viva if that helps) rather than just dismissing it.

Advertised PhD projects

I think simply that it varies by institution and probably whether funding has been sourced.

I just had to apply through UK Pass for mine and if I remember had to write a cover letter, personal statement and include references and academic transcripts. Because it was studentship, the research proposal and funding had already been done for me.

MPhil to PhD.

I looked into doing a PhD by publication a few years ago and to the honest the requirements seemed to vary. Some universities will only do them for previous students. I remember one I looked at wanted you to produce 6 papers within two years of starting your PhD and I think you had to be first author on 5 of them, whereas my old uni had no time limit, you could use past papers and didn't have to be first authors on them (although you need to be pretty well involved to talk about them in the detail needed for a viva).

I think the best thing you can do is find universities that do it (I'd start with the ones you went to) and ask them.

I didn't get any scholarships :(

Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Quote From ethanscott:
The ones who have talent are never sponsored.

That's quite a statement!

That's what I thought! I *think* I should be insulted :-)

Offer Letter

Quote From Tudor_Queen:

But you can always ring the admin team and annoy them (and hopefully get a bit of peace of mind that it is on its way or an idea of how long it is likely to take).

I did my undergrad at Salford Uni (albeit a while ago now!) the admin of my faculty were lovely so I'm sure they won't mind giving you an idea of timescales. It's only been a week since your interview, these things can to take a while.

PhD or job? Help please!

Hi Maddy, I can kind of relate to this because I come from a civil service background and am currently doing my PhD. I was also offered a fully funded project, so it wasn't my own, and I also switched research methods, although mine was from a quant background to a very, very new qual one!

I can't tell you what to do, but a few things, like you, I knew I would like my project, but it wasn't my dream topic, I made sure I had enough scope to make it my own though and I have to say I love it. The bits I had the biggest doubts about actually don't matter much at all.

I chose to do my PhD in qualitative methods because I was seeing increasing amounts of jobs that wanted both quant and qual experience - this seems to be one of the popular things at the moment. I'd thought about doing a PhD by publication while in the civil service but I just didn't feel I'd learn as much during the process. I really wanted the challenge and to be able to learn new skills and to better understand how qual and quant can compliment each other.

I think it's easy to get tunnel vision and think that if you do a PhD you need to stay in academia - You don't. You could almst certainly still get into the civil service after your PhD if thats what you decided you wanted

I don't know if that helps at all?

Post your surveys here!


On the of chance there are any UK based horse owners in the group, it would be great if you could take 10 minutes to complete my survey:



Awarded studentship, have to accept soon, but still waiting for other decisions

I would contact both universities and explain what's going on. You don't need to go into details. But I'd first contact University 2 and find out if they can tell you when you would know by, say you have another offer but you'd like to hear from them first and can they give you a time frame.

Depending on what you get from Uni 2 you can ask Uni 1 when you need to let them know by (if they've given you a date, can that be extended). Ideally Uni 2 will have given you a rough date and you can be upfront with Uni 1 that you won't know before X time.

Please don't pick your uni just based on their reputation, you should choose based on which topic you're interested in, relationship with the supervisor etc.

Brand New PhD Student & Feeling Hopeless

Hi, try not too worry, I think everyone has a tough time to start with. I certainly did and still have days where I feel utterly stupid (I'm 6 months in).

I think there's a few things you can do... Talk about what you've been reading in your meetings and hopefully suggest ways it might help your research. An example from a meeting I had was having read about different qualitative methods I was able to say which ones I thought might be most appropriate for my project. I know when I do this, it really helps with my confidence

Or, maybe it's a simple as saying I've started reading about this, I think it might be useful to consider for my project and I'm going to spend some time finding out a bit more about it. If you're well off, they might steer you away from it, or it might be that at the next meeting you say you looked into it and actually it's not appropriate etc.

Kenzie's suggestion about sending short emails is a good one. Set up some journal alerts and look at the recommendations for your searches, that gives you the chance to spot new papers that may be relevant to your research and forward them onto them. I always like doing this because one of my supervisors is great at it (I just got one!) so I like to try and beat her to it :-)

I don't think they're expecting you to have all the answers at this stage, they just want to know you're thinking about your research question (or potential research questions) and if you need to (like me) looking into the new research methods you'll be using).