How long should I wait...?



I had an interview for a PhD Studentship on 9 March and it went pretty well (at least I think it did).

I was asked by the Research Supervisor to submit an additional piece of work by the end of the week following the interview (essentially, since the interview was for an established research project they wanted me to show that I could form my own research questions, so they asked for a document that had a list of potential research questions related to this project and then I had to expand on one of them - sort of like a mini PhD proposal). I submitted my document on the 18 March.

I know there were other shortlisted candidates (either a total of three or five) and they were all asked to do this as well, after their interviews. I believe I was the second to last interviewee and that the last interview took place a week following mine.

My question is (finally, I know right, I got to it)... How long should I wait to hear back about whether I have been successful or not? I would normally wait a week and then send a polite e-mail (ie, if I do not hear back tomorrow I will e-mail on Monday). But in this situation should I wait longer, since the person who was interviewed the week following me, will only have submitted their document this week?

I am starting to feel nauseous (blerg) and I kind of want to know either way, whether I have got the position or not, so I can start making decisions about what I am going to do next. Any suggestions?

Avatar for sneaks

I'd send a short email, preferrably to an admin member, rather than the supervisor themselves, just asking if there was any news concerning the decision because you are really keen etc etc. If you can get it to admin it won't look like you are pestering the supervisor and the admin people will then bug the sup about it for you. I would imagine that they would try and tell whoever before easter.


I'd agree with sneaks, if they haven't given you a "we'll let you know by" date, then just contact whichever admin was coordinating the interviews and ask if there's any news. Keep it short and polite and I'm sure they won't mind. Best of luck!


Thanks for your quick replies! I am not sure what administrator I would contact, as the interviewer (the research supervisor) was the one who accepted the applications directly (they run the graduate and research programme) and arranged the interviews (although another academic 'observed'). :S

Avatar for sneaks

Well then I would email the man/woman with a very short email just to enquire. I wouldn't say "if you don't get back to me tomorrow I will email again on monday" - it comes across a bit aggressive :-s

just say something like "dear xxx, I was delighted to meet you on xxx and I really enjoyed discussing my ideas for project Y. I was wondering if a decision has been made regarding the PhD as I am extremely keen to get started if successful"

Or something similar - keep it short, they're busy people!


Thank! However, I feel I should point out that the bit in brackets was not what I was going to e-mail, ha. I just meant for everyone who reads this thread that given the normal amount of time I would wait (about a week), would mean that if I did not hear back from the interviewer tomorrow I would send them an e-mail on Monday. :)


To be honest, two weeks would be more than plenty, I would email tomorrow. Don't procrastinate, there is plenty of time for that when you do your PhD ;-)


I e-mailed on Friday before I left work - fingers crossed that I hear back soon!


I hope everyone has had a lovely long weekend. I e-mailed the supervisor on the 26 March, with a relatively short e-mail inquiring about the decision timeline and thanking them again for considering my application and taking the time to meet with me. I have not heard back yet and I am starting to get quite antsy, seeing as how my interview was almost a month ago now. I realise it is still the Easter holidays for a lot of Universities and perhaps they are away... but I am finding myself in quite a 'limbo' situation, having to hold off making other decisions, because they partially hinge on whether or not I am offered this PhD position (ie, my lease end is coming up, my job contract will be up for renewal, etc). Any suggestions on how long should I wait before contacting them again? :S


Do you have a direct number you can contact them on? A lot of academics may be away for conferences as well over Easter so might not have access to email coupled with the break itself.


Why not call the secretary of the department first? They could give you information about the decision of the studentship or if the supervisor is away.


Hello Tribble,

I will be in the same situation gone 8th of April. But yes, I think you should wait for some more time. Patience always bears sweetest of fruits!

I know exactly how you are feeling! My blood pressure has been on the higher side since 2 weeks before my interview.

All the best!


Dear me, I hope I am not pestering the poor academic. I e-mailed them today, seeing as how the last e-mail I sent on 26 March was not responded to. I tried to be a little more clear in this e-mail, by saying something along the lines of 'I wanted to enquire about the decision timeline for the PhD Studentship position and if you know when you expect to make the decision'. I am not even entirely bothered that I am waiting such a long time for the decision, but I would just like to know when I should expect it by so I can stop thinking about it so much (I freak out every time I have a new e-mail in my Inbox). I am at a loss as to who I would contact in the Department, although I suppose I could look up the Departmental Secretary's number on the website, if I get desperate for any sort of response (the other option would be to e-mail one of the 'contact' e-mails for the Research Group, which are for the two heads of the Research Group).

Avatar for sneaks

some sups are just like this. I've been sat next to mine in her office and she says "oh I'll just find the work you sent me" - 20 mins later, she FINALLY tracks it down in the trash bin of her email - unread!

There will be an admin person in charge of PhD admissions in that department. Phone someone, anyone in the department and ask them to put you through or give you the extension number to this PhD admin person. Then at least you can phone them and THEY can bug the supervisor - or let you know if a decision has already been made.


That is a good idea, I will have a look around on the website to figure out who I should call. I am only worried that she is the person I should call, since she is the one running the graduate programme for this subject.

For a little bit more background, this is the first year for this graduate programme within the School and this specific Research Group. This supervisor was hired to create a masters programmes (which will start this year) and PhD programme (which will also start this year, with this PhD Studentship) for this particular subject. Before her coming to the University there were researchers in this subject within the School and Research Group, but there were no postgraduate (masters or PhD) students being recruited. [Do not worry, she has a good academic history and she has previously supervised a number of PhD students during her past positions, I checked... and asked!]

I am aware it is also Easter Break though and maybe she is just away!