Applying for PhD this or next year


I am currently deferring my mphil graduation because I took on an ambitious project and could not find good results (I know for a lot of people the results of an mphil thesis does not matter, but it's a long story). I expect to finish it by the coming December/January.

I have wanted to apply for a PhD position in a renowned institute this year, but I hesitate now given my situation. I have only one third author publication. I have acquired a lot of technical skills relevant to my field of research (neuroscience) but I have no other publication to prove that. On top of that, I have burnout from the past two years of research experience. I know I still love research but I am tired of it.

I have met my potential supervisor once and emailed him/her afterwards to ask for a graduate position. He/she responded positively in the first email but did not reply me after I sent him/her my CV. I am worried if he/she does not like my profile now.

Should I apply for the PhD position this or next year? On the one hand, I have already contacted the potential supervisor and I really want to start my PhD in the coming school year. This way I can publish my mphil thesis (if possible) and have a few months of rest before embarking on PhD. On the other hand, I don't think my current profile is good enough to ensure admission. I want to consolidate my fundamental knowledge (like programming and physics) before I start my PhD. Besides, having one more year, I can publish one or two first author article and hopefully increase my chance to be admitted.

Avatar for rewt

You lose nothing by applying for next September. They don't go "we rejected you last year therefore we will automatically reject you now". So if you fail you can always reapply.

Supervisors are busy and funding is limited so don't be disheartened by the first pseudo-rejection. Keep checking university website and applying. There will soon be another batch of funded places advertised. This time of year is like a lull in PhD advertisements. (in my opinion).

About your experience. You have a paper and relevant research experience, that is a lot more than most PhD applicants. Get a good MPhil result and your CV will be even better. You sound demoralized but from here it sounds like you half a good shot at a PhD.



Thank you very much for your encouragement! It means a lot to me! I am now a lot more confident to apply for it.:)

My master years have been really tough for me for multiple reasons. My supervisor has been crushing me and unhappy with my productivity. However, I can never live up to his expectation, especially with the side effects I suffer with the medications for my mental health issues (e.g., poor concentration and fatigue). I guess that’s why I have been so demoralised. Regardless, I will give it a try and let fate (or the potential supervisor) decide the rest. Thank you rewt again for your support!