The Application Form...


So I've started filling in application forms for PhDs and I've started with one which asks me:

"Are you applying to other universities? If yes, please state which and for what programmes of study."

I don't want to just apply to one at a time because otherwise I could have problems if I'm rejected from my first choice. But will it predjudice the University against me if I apply elsewhere (and so have to declare it)?



I think professors/doctors will understand that you have to apply for other institutions. However, what they will want to see is that you are applying in similar fields to theirs, as they are want students that are really intersted in their field.


That seems to make sense - is that something everyone else would agree with? This is an application form to Bristol (my preferred choice by a mile) but I'm also applying to Oxford and Imperial, so want to be sure that I won't miss out!


I'd agree. Look at it the other way - if you say no, it might make it look as though you are not really committed to doing a PhD, you just happened to see this advertised and thought you'd chuck in an application. Indicating that you are applying for a number, in the same area, suggests this a PhD what you REALLY want to do, and that you have done your research on the field.

You can always emphasis in your covering letter that this is the one that is your first choice.


If it's an application form, I can't really enclose a covering letter though, can I?

In which case, should I include it in my personal statement?

Thanks for all the help so far, guys!


Part of me wants just to stick to one person but I feel I may drop my basket of eggs and go hungry.


You can (and should!) include a covering letter with an application form.


what if it is online? Cause I'm working on an on-line one right now and i'm facing the same dilemma described above..


With my application forms and interviews when asked about other applications I told them the truth that I had applied to other places. I think this is a good idea as it shows that you are serious about getting a PhD plus one guy I spoke too liked that I had been looking at similar project as it showed that I had a good interest in the subject area.

However I did apply for a quite a few so I didn't list every single one I just mentioned a couple of the ones that I had most recently applied for.


Hi antonymous, some online application forms offer the possibility to include a "statement of purpose" which is more or less like a cover letter.

Other online application forms require that you sent separately by post some supporting documents - the cover letter could be one of them, just check the documents you're requested to submit or ask the admissions office if you're not sure.


Hmmm tricky one this i got asked in my interview if I had applied elsewhere, to which I answered that I had, they then asked what stage those applications were at and what would happen if they offered me the post, to which I said i would withdraw all other applications.
i think so long as you are honest then thats fine what they ae trying to avoid is offereing the post to someone who later decides to study someone else and they are left with no person to do the work they were looking for!


Nimrod81, thanks for your reply - I'm actually working on the statement of purpose right now, and from what I understand it's closer to a PhD proposal than a cover letter: It's supposed to be two pages long and list motivation for applying for the PhD, expected career prospects etc etc. So I would imagine there's not much space there to mention things that would go in the cover letter, right?


I don't know which department you;re applying to, but I applied to Bristol last year, and stated that I was also applying for a PhD at Sheffield and possibly London. I got offered a place (albeit one I turned down) but I guess it did't cause me any problems. I guess if you put nothihng then they might think you're committed to them, but then putting others shows that you're willing to look at a variety of areas, which could also be an advantage. Works both ways.


I'm just about to sort out my application too. This two pages thing - is it two pages (4 sides)or two sides? How much detail about the area you wish to pursue have you put in? Reading the books on the subject they seem to suggest you need quite a bit of detail, which is never going to fit on 2 sides. Have you put refs etc? Spoke to someone where I work, but he isn't much help as he applied for an advertised post, mine is of my own making!


Joyce, probably best to ask your prospective supervisor (or postgrad office at the Uni) how much detail they would like you to provide.