The Year between PhD and Post-Doc - what do you do?!


Hi all,

I may have got the wrong end of the stick here, but is it normal - if wishing to apply and hopefully take up a Post-Doctoral Fellowship somewhere - for there to be a random year between finishing the PhD and starting said Fellowship?

I'm entering the final year of my doctorate now, and there's only a medium chance of me being submitted and viva'd by 1st April 2015 (currently 45,000 words written up out of a 60-80k limit), which is when most Post-Doc Fellowship applications close for October 2015 start.

So - if I'm not viva'd by 1st April - I'm ineligible to start any Post-Doc Fellowship until October 2016.

What happens to the academic year 2015/16? Is it a case of finding something/anything to tick over with until the following round of Post-Doc applications, and try to strengthen my CV further before that time?

By the end of my PhD in spring/summer 2015, I'll have the doctorate (hopefully!!), ample teaching experience (I'm on a GTA scholarship), a PGCTHE and 10-15 conferences and 2 publications under my belt. What's the best option for me? Try to find a teaching position somewhere for a year, or look for short-term research positions (do they even exist in humanities? I'm a musicologist)? I must admit that I far prefer research to teaching, but if it's a case of teaching for a year to get some money behind me, that may be the way I have to go.

Anyone in a similar position?


I don't know if you necessarily need to have viva'd before starting a post-doc (unless the ones you are applying for specifically ask for it), we took on a post-doc this year on a 6 month contract and she is still writing up her thesis so my advice would be to apply anyway.


Why not apply for postdocs anyway? Nobody is stopping you. But word of advice: take one thing at a time. Somehow I am convinced that PhD's and post -PhD careers rarely go according to schedule. The key is to keep yourself busy. Do not afford to waste time. If you are in the wait process, try to publish as much as possible.


There are only two key external funding bodies for humanities as far as I can see: Leverhulme and British Academy.

Leverhulme need a thesis submission by 6 March 2015 for an October 2015 start date, and BA require 'a reasonable expectation that they will have submitted and had their thesis examined by 1 April 2014' which means a January submission, or thereabout!

There are very few internal Postdoctoral positions as far as I can tell. For example, and I've only had a brief look so far, my local (to home) universities offer the following:

York - nothing.
Leeds - 6 week short term fellowship.
Manchester - nothing for music.
York St John - nothing.
Nottingham - 3-year, but require viva by end of March which requires a December submission. Not likely.
Sheffield - nothing.

So, unless I'm missing a trick, without Leverhulme and BA support, the prospect looks bleak for internal positions.

The exception is to look further afield, where Cambridge (for one example) suggest that their Junior Research Fellows 'normally obtain their doctorates during the early stage of their Research Fellowship, and move on to pursue post-doctoral research'.


A lot of positions are not advertised properly externally as they are just going to go to an internal candidate anyway