PhD Studentship Interview-Any Please Help


Hi all,
I just received an email inviting me to attend an interview on a proposal I submitted to an Institution for a PhD studentship. Although I am excited for being shortlisted for the interview, I am totally lost as to what to expect. I am due to meet a panel of three experts, and the proposal was on CSR.
I will welcome any advise in term of the areas I should cover for my preparation because I don't know what to expect.

Thanks, G.


I don't know anything about your subject area but at my interview there was a panel of 5 people (it was a research council funded post) which included two supervisors one head of department, the education officer for the institute and someone from the research council. They each asked a different set of questions, the two sups questions were based on the subject itself so do some research and reading into your subject (which you probably have already done if it is your own proposal). The other questions were things such as 'why do you want to do a PhD?' 'What do you know about the university/organisation/research council', 'How do you cope when things go wrong?' 'How do you get your work known?' etc etc so just be prepared for questions such as those too!

hope that helps a little!


Thanks Caro for your advise,
My background is in HR, however my interest is in strategic management hence the proposal in corporate social responsibilities. Although I researched in writing the proposal I am not very certain if they (the panel) will expect me to know a lot about CSR. Any way thank you very much, I will certainly prepare before I go.

Avatar for Caterpillar27


Congrats on the interview! I had a panel of three. Questions asked included- Which journals would be most relevant to publish in? How do you see your career progressing? Which sampling strategy do you think would be suitable for this study? Why do you want to do a PhD? Can you tell us about your undergraduate/masters dissertation? You work, can you tell us about that?

I can't think of anymore, except that they said the interview may last for up to an hour and was that okay - and I was out within 20 minutes!!!! - this panicked me - but I got the studentship  :-)

Good luck


I've had two interviews, both for studentships.
I think the first one had a panel of four, including two people from the university (inc the prospective supervisor) and the charity funding it, and the second it was 2 x supervisors plus the PG admissions tutor from the department chair.
For the one I didn't get, based on my own proposal, I was disappointed I didnt get the chance to be asked more about my proposal, and now I wonder if it's cause they had written me off in the first place. In retrospect I'd have put in a lot more RQs

The one I did get, it was for a planned studentship, so I had the chance to ask questions about the proposal IYSWIM! Questions were about my skills as a researcher, negotiating access to sites, why I wanted to do a PhD at this stage in my career etc . Think of it from their POV - what do they want to hear? as in, being a self-starter, knowing it's going to be tough,
Also - I think what swung it for me was *ethusiasm* don't underestimate that!



I had a lot of the same qs as Caterpillar 27. I was also asked:
-What my five year career plan entailed (altho they said they knew it wouldn't be written in stone)
-Why I wanted to do a PhD
-Explain my choice of res qs with reference to the literature
-What difficulties I expected to encounter with the project (considering ethics, finance, patient populations etc)
-How I would deal with these especially in a financially limited era
-Did I know what academic publishing involved and how journals were ranked according to impact factors and specialisms
-Did I know where to go for help with publishing queries
-What my recruitment strategy would be and why
-Defend my choice of methodology - why I had chosen one patient population over another/ one particular meth of analysis over another
-What other organisations would be involved and how would I approach them
-What general skills other than those that are academic could I bring to a PhD?

I was asked almost exactly the same qs in the two interviews I attended and they were at unis that were in different countries!

I did not always know the answers to all the qs for example the one about ethics involved very specific knowledge of ethical approval procedures in a country where I had no idea what they would be. I just answered that I knew the ethics would be tough in any country because of my res area and that I expected to have to address things like x and x but as to the specific admin of it I didn't know but I was more than happy to learn about it because that's all part of the PhD as I saw it. And I said that I looked forward to experiencing it.

Someone mentioned something about enthusiam - that is a MAJOR point. My feedback from the interview where I was offered the project said that although I had less clinical experience than some of the other candidates my enthusiasm and passion for the subject really came through and my motivation and determination to get the project was one of the main reasons I was offered it. Now that I am here I try to not imagine myself coming across as some crazy bint hell bent on getting the place. Like some of those people on X-Factor auditions... :$

In each interview I faced a panel of 3 people. The benefit of submitting your own proposal is that you are more familiar with it and it's not TOO difficult to talk about research that you've designed. It is much harder to interview for projects where someone else has set the research agenda and you have to do a lot of groundwork to try and see where they're coming from. I did not get to interview stage with any of those pre-determined projects that I applied for and the feedback I received suggested that I hadn't quite converged with the supervisor's own vision of how the project would unfold. That's why after a depressing amount of rejections I started applying ONLY for projects where they had suggested a theme and left the entire project totally open.


and most importantly Good Luck! (up)