dropping out of a funded program


Hi all,

I was recently accepted on a four year funded PhD program (including MSc Res) but am dead unhappy with the course and the new city. Does anyone have any experience what my options are? Could I possibly transfer the studentship to another university which has the same funding body (BHF)? Or how likely would it be for me to find another funded PhD in case I drop out after the MScRes part of the program?

If anyone has any experience in that direction whatsoever please let me know.



It's going to be difficult to transfer the studentship elsewhere. I know a student that left his 4 year program after the MSc year and the university kept the money and took on another student.

Dropping out of a course is always going to make it a bit more difficult to find funding, but there are people on here that have done it, and I know one other person as well that quit a PhD after a year, got a job as a technician through her ex supervisor's contacts, and then after 3 years started another PhD in the same that lab she was working in, so it is definitely possible.

Can I ask why you want to leave? Many problems experienced on one course are experienced everywhere else.



thanks for the reply! Well I have a problem mainly with the city the studentship is in and I found that the whole cardiovascular topic is nothing I want to do a PhD in, I am just not interested in it enough. I had these doubts before (I actually planned on cancer biology) but thought I might like it after all. However, I have quite profound problems keeping up with the reading just because I am simply not interested in it. I know it's early days but I want to evaluate my options. I was thinking the best strategy might be to actually do the MSc and then work for a certain time before trying to apply for a new PhD again. But I am definitely sure that I want to pursue a PhD and a career in research.


I'd caution you to think very carefully about dropping out. You are likely to have considerable problems trying to get funding again, and will have to work extremely hard to persuade a new supervisor and funder that they should take you on. To be honest they may wonder why you didn't pick up on your concerns in time before. And yes, you could have similar problems in a new PhD.

I am one of the rare people who won funding again after walking away from a first PhD. But I left the first PhD for medical reasons - developing a progressive MS-like illness at age 22, combined with a funding council (EPSRC) who would not support a switch to part-time study. I retrained from scratch as a historian, picking up new BA and PG Masters, then started a history PhD part-time. I expected to self fund throughout, but applied for funding for my second year onwards, from AHRC. I won it, but think I was very very fortunate, given my prior history. I did have to declare my prior funding on my second funding application form.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.


I'd echo Bilbo - you drop out you'll find it difficult for someone else to take a punt on you. I would suggest you do stay and finish the MSc and see if you can leave after that.


Just for clarity, I certainly wouldn't recommend dropping out either. There are many people that struggle to get on PhDs at all, so by dropping out of one program, you would be making things extra difficult for yourself, as it would be seen as very risky to award funding to someone that dropped out of a previous PhD.

I take it you are only a few weeks into the program then? I would say that you should persevere for a while regardless because the feelings you describe are very normal when starting something new and usually subside after a few months.

Leaving after the MSc is possible and by then you might have got more into your project and changed your mind anyway!


Also yes - don't throw baby out with the bathwater, give it a bit longer and see if you get into it. Many new post grads want to quit in the first few months.