Been offered a PhD but...


I have applied for a number of PhD's but the offers with funding are coming in reverse order! That is, the least preferred are coming in first.

An offer has just came in and I am expected to accept or decline within a short time limit. The problem is I am on the reserve list for funding for another PhD with the same University but with a different department (and for a number of reasons I would MUCH prefer it) and they are both with the same funding body. I did indicate on the application form to the University the order of choice.

I did send an email to the research office at the University indicating I thought I should accept this in the interim but hoped to be offered the other PhD with funding in due course. Unfortunately, I didn't receive a response.

Any suggestions for how I should approach this? I can't risk being left without anything to do come September and so something is better than nothing.


Can you approach the other dept, explain your situation and ask when you will hear their final answer and some idea of how likely you are to move up the list? Not exactly sure what kind of reserve list you are on (is everyone on the list in reserve - or are you waiting for people further up the list to go elsewhere/drop out?). I was on a reserve list for funding and unfortunately that can mean a final decision comes relatively late (it was mid-Sep for me ..eek!).


Thanks for responding.

I contacted the department a while back about a different matter and although they were very friendly they indicated that everything is dealt with through the research office. The research office have also indicated that they deal with everything and they seem to discourage contact between individuals and departments. I am on a reserve list for funding (not a place which I assume I have if I want) but am not sure how high up the list I am and the research office are 'vague' when asked about this.

There is a considerable difference in how I feel about both PhD's but funding is vital to any decisions I make.

I feel the research office should be able to give me a simple answer as to whether I can except this in the interim but they don't seem able to.


"accept" not "except" - sorry - but I lost concentration!


That is tough. In my case we were all told our position on the list and updated as the list moved. I knew that I was at a position that meant I would be offered either very late or not at all.

Did the research office give you any answer at all? Would they take you off the other list if you accept this one or allow you to stay on it - surely they can at least tell you that? It's espeically rough when it's the same university - don't want to annoy people (I'm somewhat torn between two depts myself). But this must surely happen quite often.


No, they've been very vague and to this end not helpful. I'll contact them again and clearly state my position and that an answer would be helpful. I really do not want taken off the other list (you've voiced my concern) but don't want to be left with nothing.

I've no income at present and so I'll not refuse anything but the goal posts have changed somewhat as regards this offer (I won't go into detail on a public forum) and it just doesn't really appeal but I need an income.


Doing an unappealing PhD is not a good choice for the sake of an income (and a very poor income at that).


When you are in the position I'm in it's a very good reason and, to be fair, you don't know my circumstances. The PhD itself would actually be interesting (not the most interesting) but things associated with it are not.


You could phone the research office.


Thanks. I've contacted both departments and the research office informing them of the situation. I'm sure they're used to this sort of thing and I just hope the outcome, whatever that will be, is helpful to everyone.