PhD application grumble


Im in the process of applying for funded PhDs in various forms of chemistry / pharmacy etc

I only have a 2:2 but I have a masters and attempted a PhD before (withdrew due to illness - depression caused by my supervisor) and I currently work in development for a drug company so know I could do the PhDs Im applying for.. (I was diagnosed as dyslexic during my masters after srtuggling with exams but getting high 70s and 80s for my coursework - got 78% for my masters research project)

Have just seen an ideal PhD which I would love to apply for BUT....

they want applicants with firsts only.. Ive got no chance.. Ive applied for one at the Institute of Cancer Research and Ive always wanted to work / study there but after filling int he application form and having to list not only my degree modules and grades but also my A levels and GCSEs (which were 11 and 13 years ago resepctively) Im a bit demoralised

Why cant prosepcetive supervisors look past grades??? Exams and memory arent everything :-s :-( (down)


It's just supply and demand I'm afraid. The grade thresholds are a way of weeding down the numbers of applicants when there are too many for one post. If you want to get past that (and cancer research is pretty competitive - perhpas not the best choice) I would start making personal contact with key potential superviors in the field. Find out where seminars are being held that are relevant and go to them. Basically, try to make a personal one-on-one impresssion to support your application.


Apply anyway, and write a cover letter.

At my university we have a very active cancer drug discovery group, funded by Cancer Research UK. The head of the group had a 3rd (I say "had" becuase he passed away recently, but he managed the group for 15 years). One postdoc has a third, two of the PhD students have 2.2s and the others, 2.1s. No-one has a first, and yet this group is very successful, and their discoveries have made the national press on more than one occasion.

The leader of the group has a firm conviction that imagination and effort are more important in research than the ability to to pass exams: hence the willingness to take on people with less than stellar grades.