Getting Academics to Reply!


Just wondered if anyone on here could help me...

I'm currently looking for a PhD, and have been contacting academics in the field that I wish to study with some quick questions about the potential for PhD study in the future.

On all occasions I've been very polite, enthusiastic and have given a brief background on my previous study and explained that I really want to start a PhD quite soon.

However - I'm having one major problem. They're all, basically, ignoring my emails. This isn't an isolated case, this is across four different universities... has anyone else encountered this problem? And does anyone have any tips for encouraging academics to reply to correspondence... as I'm becoming a bit disheartened at the lack of responses that I'm getting.

Avatar for sneaks

1/ its summer, which basically means academics are either on holiday or hiding in a room trying to write so will be ignoring emails.

2/ phone them, you'll forge a more personal link then. I get about 20 emails a month asking me to supervise PhDs and I'm not even in a position to be able to do so.


Have you tried our site? You may find some defined PhD topics that match your research interests. You will find that in many cases the admissions teams take the enquiries and are probably in a better position to get your questions to the academics (or try answer themselves, depending on the specificity of the query).


Apologies if you've already done this, but have you checked the websites of the various universities you're interested in, for info on potential PhD study, how to go about it within specific universities (they may do things in a certain way) or for FAQs? Some have open days where you can informally speak to possible supervisors in person, whereas others may require a written proposal of your topic of interest first, in keeping with guidance notes available for download from their websites. Or there might be other events happening at the university you could visit so you can speak to people (students/supervisors/staff) about what you want to know.

The reason I say this is because, as Sneaks said, it's the end of the academic year and it's a really busy time for everyone. I think Adam's suggestion is very good as well, to speak to student admissions staff who know both the official procedures and the way particular staff work, including their propensity for replying to non-urgent emails. There was a flurry of PhD studentships advertised in different subject areas recently, so it may just be that your timing is slightly out - staff may be busy processing applications already received for the coming autumn. I know they are at my university. It would be a pity if you gave up though, if it's what you really want to do!