Your Application Story


Hello everyone, I graduated from my BSc in Genetics this July and i've applied for an MSc Equine Science course commencing September 2011 (and been accepted yay!) . I wanted to study these two awards so I was better prepared for my PhD topic which i hope will involve Equine Genetics (in a perfect world covering a disease such as Lethal White Syndrome or performance genetics in racers!).
I like to plan everything well in advance but unfortunatly i'm now worrying about my phd and its application before i've even begun my msc ><.... I'd basically love to hear your stories... Why did you apply to your chosen university/course, did you go straight after your bsc/msc, did you contact a supervisor first before sending an official application?, How did you secure funding if it was via a scholarship etc (im confused whether you apply for the course and then also apply for the funding award or whether if you're accepted for the course, the funding will be given to you if your supervisor was awarded the grant..). Im considering applying to places such as Liverpool, Edinburgh, RVC London for the PhD so if you've had any experiences with them, please share!

Anywho! You're welcome to share your experiences, good and bad!
Many thanks!


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Hi Rose! I'm in my third year in a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the UK. I went on to do the PhD straight after my MSc, and decided to stay on at the same university as it is one of the best unis in my subject and the people who I wanted to supervise me here are world-class researchers. My topic fitted reasonably well with my primary supervisor, and she has already had lots of successful doctoral students pass their degrees, which I figured was a good sign! There are different ways to obtain funding and it would probably be best to discuss this with a prospective supervisor. My PhD supervisor was also my MSc supervisor, and after I approached her saying I wanted to do a PhD and asking if she would supervise it, we started to think about where we would get funding from. I was quite lucky to win an academic scholarship that covered fees and stipend, but the department itself had offered to fund me if I wasn't able to get funding from elsewhere. Where I am, there are quite a lot of departmental studentships so it might be worth asking about that. If not then you would need to apply elsewhere, such as research councils, but your prospective supervisor would be able to adivse on that. I think the first thing for you to do would be to think about exactly what you want to do in your PhD, then have a look round and see who would be best to supervise it, and make contact to see if they would be willing to. Just for the record- I used to study at Edinburgh uni- it's a fantastic city to live and study in! Good luck with it, KB


I graduated from my BSc in Agriculture and Biotechnology in 2009 and went straight onto MSc. Finished that in September 2010 and went straight onto PhD. I'm doing my PhD at the same college as my MSc, so I already knew my supervisor. He sent an email out advertisting for a GTA position which covered fees, stipend and bench fees for a research project he wanted to do in return of 6hrs/wk teaching. I liked the project and I applied first to him, got selected and then had to defend our project to the HE committee of the college. I got accepted 3 hours later and started end of September, two weeks after finishing my MSc.



Im currently in my last year of a Bsc in Psychology, Ive applied to a masters in neuroscience at UCl, KCL, nottingham and Oxford. I also applied for the 4 year phd in neuroscience at Cardiff and UCl.

I was just wondering how long it took you all to get your letters of acceptance etc from the uni's? oxford have told me march but the others havent said anything yet? i know it must take longer for the PhD's

Im very nervous thinking about all of this! well done to all of you I would be so happy to get onto a PhD!



Hi Rose, your studies sound really interesting, I take it you're a horsey girl like me!

I did my BA and MSc (social sciences) at the same university without a break in between, I'm just finishing my MSc now and start my PhD in January 2011. I feel really settled and supported in the department as I have been there for over four years now; my course is in an emerging discipline and so there aren't many other places in the UK I could have moved to. I registered my interest in doing a PhD in November last year so quite early on in my MSc. Then I was going to apply somewhere else and decided not to for various reasons, and decided to stay where I was. Then I had a bit of email communication with the director of postgraduate research and she quickly allocated me three supervisors based on what I wanted to do; this was all quite informal as I had only given her a short overview of what I wanted to do; the professor who was to become my lead supervisor helped me with this. I had a very informal interview with her as she had already given me the place and she made sure I was happy with who was supervising me and talked through the PhD process. I then submitted my application to the Registry just so that my place was protected.

This was very informal and straightforward - I think because my supervisors already know me quite well there isn't a lot they could have learnt from interviewing me. I think it is a good idea to contact the supervisor first then they can help you with your application and potential funding - the source of funding depends on the course and university. Unfortunately I haven't got any funding because there is no money available but I have some inheritance to pay for it. I will also be doing some teaching for the money and experience, although not straight away.

I hope this is helpful in some way and good luck!

Natassia x


Hi Mazz21, I think it depends on the uni you apply to. When I applied for my MSc 2 years ago I sent the application in November and had an acceptance letter in February so as a rough guess I'd suppose you should hear something by then, but I suppose it depends on whether there are application deadlines or not and obviously how quick the admin department in each uni does things!

The process for my PhD was a bit quicker, I applied in May (this year) had an interview in June and got the acceptance letter sometime in July/August (I had an email day after interview).

Rose, it sounds like you are very organised and I hope the MSc goes well. I started an MSc (part time) straight after completing my BSc and then I applied for my PhD towards the end of my MSc. I did my BSc at a different uni to the MSc. Prior to applying for the PhD my MSc supervisor told me about the project and asked if I would be interested (I had previously expressed a desire to do a PhD and had already had one failed application to a different uni) I said yes and then just had to wait for the project to be formally advertised because it came with a full studentship before I could apply. Then I started my PhD in October this year.

Hope some of this is helpful.

Good luck to you both :-)


I have had so many many rejections and people saying the place had already gone when I asked the supervisor.

I am trying to pick up from a disastrous 1st attempt at a MSc. I have the added mishap of not having a honours degree as my university stopped the honours year as I was trying to get through it. So I had a year out after my BSc, I had a LOT of hassle at my MSc and in the end I left with a PgCert.

My advice to you is do whatever your heart tells you and it will work out if you want it to.


Quote From mazz21:

Im currently in my last year of a Bsc in Psychology, Ive applied to a masters in neuroscience at UCl, KCL, nottingham and Oxford. I also applied for the 4 year phd in neuroscience at Cardiff and UCl.

I was just wondering how long it took you all to get your letters of acceptance etc from the uni's?

I completed the MSc in Neuroscience at King's in September 2010, and I submitted the application early in March 2009 and got an offer in late April 2009. It was delayed a bit by one of my referees being completely useless and me having to find an alternative one, but we got there in the end. I also had to attend an interview for being "from an unusual background" (I was a mature student who had worked for six years after my BSc) so that made the process take a bit longer, but I got an email with an unconditional offer later on the day of the interview. The timing can vary (and most people aren't interviewed at all, as a psychologist you should be fine), just keep checking your application status online to make sure your referees have pulled their fingers out.

I also applied to Imperial and Goldsmiths around the same time and got rejections just before I heard from King's. No matter though, King's was my first choice and having completed the course I can highly recommend it- it did everything I hoped it would and now I feel ready for the PhDs I'm applying for! Good luck with the applications and if you do end up going for King's feel free to PM me with any questions.


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I completely agree with your answer and after searching several hours i have come to the point that you have explained and i find this forum very helpful.

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I decided to go with Kings College MSc Neuroscience! thanks for your replies :) if anyone else is going there or has done the course already I have made a facebook group that you could join and maybe share your experiences or get to know anyone else that will be on the course!/home.php?sk=group_115423535199478&ap=1

cheers (up)


Congrats Mazz! Maybe I'm biased but I'd say you made the right choice- it's an intense course but a very good one and as long as you're prepared to stay focused you'll have a great time.

Starting a Facebook page is a good call as it *will* end up being useful for everything from revision sessions to social events. The page for the class of 2009/2010 is here:

and you can find a more general IoP Neuroscience one here:

Good luck with it, I loved my time at King's and I hope you do too.