When to apply



I am currently studying medicine in Germany, since we need to do lab work during our normal studies in order to get an "MD", I got interested in research work and would like to do my PhD in the UK.
There is a vast amount of very interesting opportunities in Britain, but I was wondering when to apply for a position. Is it possible to send an application before finishing one's final exam and hand in the results later, or is this generally not possible? My fear is that if I wait until after the examinations, it might take quite a few months until I have a position which might cause some financial trouble for me....How do you handle it, when you've already studied in the UK and continue with your PhD?

Thanks a lot!


Hi PeterS,

Thought I ought to help you, I have the same name and first initial. Regarding PhD applications in the UK, it is typical to apply about 6 months before the suggested project start date, or sometimes even more, if you happen to be completing your degree at the time you would put the degree title on your CV/application, put a completion date eg 07/2012 and your expected grade. The place you are applying to can talk to your referees and find out how likely it is you will achieve this grade. As far as i'm aware this is common practice in this country, it's certainly how I did it. It's probably wise to remember that honesty is the best policy as you don't want to get accepted somewhere then not achieve the required grades.

One other thing, is that in the UK we have a 1st (typically 70%+) 2:1(typically 60-70%), 2:2 (50-60%) and 3rd (40-50%) system of dividing grades. Generally a 1st will get you onto a PhD and a 2:1 is often good enough as well in biomedical science type subjects. I don't know how this translates with regard to the German system. Other subjects eg arts and humanities usually require a good master's degree also.

Also, you say you are looking for an MD qualification?. In the uk this is different to a PhD and is done usually by already clinically qualified junior doctors. I worked with one during my PhD he did part time at the hospital as a clinician and part time MD research work and completed in two years. It would seem that here an MD is a much smaller thing than a PhD, although it is not that rare to find qualified medical doctors who also have PhD's, such as my boss who is a university lecturer.

I hope this information is useful to you

All the best



thanks a lot!!

In Germany, we normally start with our MD already during our normal studies; depending on your project it can take several years to finsih, because you have lessons and so on at the same time. I started quite early with my research work and hope to finish shortly after my final exams. As I'd like to experience deeper basic research work and not "just" clinical work, I was planning to apply for a PhD position in the UK. Now I know how to proceed!
Thanks you very much again!

kind regards