Why oh why?


I applied for a PhD, was accepted and given a supervisor. Decisions were made at the start of May about funding but those who have not been successful in securing a studentship have still to be told (hopefully they will be told very soon). Nearly 3 months on and no word... Why? I can't think of a good reason. I would go so far as to say it has been unhelpful as had people been told much earlier they could have forward planned but this now limits their time. It doesn't seem right to me.


Decisions from the major funding bodies happen in July/August usually. Are you asking why it's taking so long, or why you haven't got funding? I wasn't 100% clear on your question.


No, the decisions about funding have already been made and those who gained funding were told in early May. The people that didn't gain funding have yet to be told and I can't see why it is taking so long to let them know.

The funding came from departmental studentships.


If it's humanities / social sciences I imagine that those people who got departmental funding will also have been put in for ESRC / AHRC funding. If they get that then departmental money can be reallocated to the next best candidates. ESRC results were only out yesterday and the AHRC ones aren't out yet, so that could be why they haven't said a definitive no yet. Although if that's the case, then a letter saying that wouldn't have hurt.


Thanks. I asked some time back and was told that all the offers of funding had been accepted and a reserve list wasn't being drawn up. I think it's a pretty poor show that people are being left clueless for so long. I only know the score because I asked the research funding office and they let it slip, in my opinion, and the departmental secretary confirmed things but seemed a bit embarrassed that I knew, again, in my opinion.


Thanks for clarifying Delta. What Bewildered said! In my dept a lot of the people who got internal funding also got AHRC funding, so the internal fellowships get shifted down to the people next on the list. So they can't tell the people on the reserve list "no" because it's still maybe until the external funding has all been confirmed in August. Can you talk to your dept and at least get them to confirm you're on the reserve list?


Sorry, reread your second message: it does seem a bit of a poor show on their part. Best of luck with it, though.


That's bizarre if there's no reserve list - can't help but wonder if they are waiting in case someone drops out for some reason. I was on a list and didn't get funding until mid-Sep!


Smilodon, I've put that to them but they will not answer. I'm angry and upset that they seem reluctant to clarify things or to offer an explanation but obviously they must have their reasons...

However, I'm moving on and will let them know...in my own good time.


"can't help but wonder if they are waiting in case someone drops out for some reason."

Almost certainly that I'd imagine.


Completely makes sense to me but I've been told that there is no reserve list...


Just to say I completely understand how you feel about this. I actually find the whole process really stressful, long-winded and frustrating. And it doesn't help when they keep you hanging without giving you a definite answer. My guess would be that as has been suggested, they are waiting to see who is allocated research council funding in August before they confirm whether others will receive departmental funding. I am in the same situation in that I have been told I am on the reserve list and will receive departmental funding if one of the other candidates receives ESRC funding. I would ring them and get them to clarify this.


I've tried everything, ringing and emailing but to no avail. I would go so far as to say I virtually pleaded for an answer in my most recent email but no-one has responded. I think I've got all the answers I will get for now.

I have been offered another funded PhD but with an average department in an average university and I am very grateful but I've read a lot on here and elsewhere and I'm not sure what the implications would be for my career longer term. Put it this way, I was browsing another University website and they were encouraging applications for something and said something like they would particularly welcome applications from those who had studied at high ranking Universities.

Hope it works out for you.