At 56 years of age and not having been involved in academia since I attained a Masters in 1994, I have a Skype interview with a Senior University lecturer - on Monday.
Submitted a pretty basic (and short) proposal as part of the application process
How should I prepare? What am I likely to asked?
And, equally, what should I be asking?
Any help much appreciated!
Congrats! Know your own proposal inside out. Questions... why you want to do a PhD, what skills you think you need to have to do a PhD, what will be the impact (e.g., change in practice, development of theory etc - as relevant) and output (e.g., publications, dissemination to x, y or z) of your PhD...
I am struggling to remember what else they asked me! Specifically, in your case, I think they might be keen to ascertain whether you will be able to successfully get back into academic work (since your Masters was in 1994) and how clued up you are about how things are now in your field compared to then. Something I would want to ask you about if I were on the panel is why now? What is driving your desire to return to Higher Education now and do a PhD? This is potentially a very good question as it could give you the opportunity to really convey your passion and interest in the topic.
Re your questions to them. What do you want to know? About the support/resources available? Will you be funded to attend relevant conferences (it would be a plus if you could name one or two that are relevant in your chosen field)? Are there departmental seminars where you will have the opportunity to hear about related research and present your own?
Just treat it like a job interview.
well done for getting the interview. As Tudor Queen says, treat it like a job interview. I too am a "mature" PhD student, and the one stand out question I remember was being asked what my post PhD plans were. I laughed and said it was a high class problem, and that today I was focused on being awarded the place to study! I then did add that I was interested in lecturing etc. I must admit I've always hated this sort of question in any job interview, but it often comes up, so have an answer ready.
Good luck, remember to see in your experience as a benefit.
Had the interview and was politely told that the proposal was not of the required standard.
Since then I have had two more Universities email me and say that I have been rejected as my proposal is not of doctorate standard.
I have been recommended to read some books which discuss research and how to write a PhD proposal so it's back to the drawing board1
Sorry to hear about the disappointing interview Nige. I'm wondering whether your proposal needs further references to the literature of the field. For example:
@Has your proposal identified a bit of a gap in the research and provided a justification as to why this topic is worth exploring?
@Have you included references to the research out there that back your claim or proposal?
@Have you identified your major players?(The handful of experts in this area whose work has a strong influence on your field).
@Have you included information about the methodology you propose to use? (Again, not in detail but just given some indication as to the type of methods you are interested in and matched these to the type of questions you are asking).
Good luck with it all, P.
I am 54. Just finished my masters with a distinction, after over 25 years out of education. I have found a supervisor in another department willing to take me on and is giving me feedback on how to polish my proposal in order to get funding. I think the idea is to do something that they are passionate in. My advice is to keep searching online for potential supervisors, and tailor your research to their area of interest. Good luck with your quest.
Thanks for the comments. It is not over just yet as the people who interviewed me did make some suggestions as to changes etc that I could make - and how to make the proposal acceptable by taking it in a different direction.
I have found lots of new material and am starting a re-draft. I have also acquired a book which I am hoping will help generally with the format etc for a proposal.
Will keep everyone posted.
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