Overview of HazyJane

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PhD Loan

I agree, I think it's a very bad idea to take out a loan to do a PhD. It is not worth the investment/risk.

If you haven't got a scholarship, probably the best thing to do is do the PhD part time while working and/or seek out small charity grants to cover some of the costs. But please do look into whether or not the PhD is worth your efforts before you start.

Warwick or Edinburgh

Quote From AbelDevers:

PS: I also received an offer from Lancaster and Kent, but I assumed these two are less interesting in that regard.

What do you mean by 'less interesting'?

I am under the impression that Lancaster has quite a big stats department - don't know how it compares with the other two though.

I would probably place department standing as more important than overall university standing - all of those institutions are well established. Also factor in quality of life or whatever other things matter to you.

Doing most of the research work

If you have any other options available to you I would probably avoid this offer. You need a supervisor who is interested in *your* development as a researcher, not merely how you can serve his needs. Sure, it's not uncommon for supervisors to set projects for students to work on, and that can have some benefits, but this sounds very much like he just wants a cheap research assistant to serve his own research ambitions. If, as you state, he has no useful guidance to give you then avoid him as a supervisor.

On the subject of papers, the requirements vary by country. In the UK there are no formal requirements to publish papers, though it is generally beneficial to your career post-PhD if you have done so (assuming you want to continue in an academic role). Personally, though, I'd favour quality of publications over quantity, and in the scenario you describe above it sounds like you could end up with a bunch of stuff that hasn't been well supervised, and looks good on a clinician CV, but might not be so great for an analytic/experimental scientist's CV.

If I were you I would try to find a supervisor who is genuinely interested in having a PhD student, and not simply to serve their own needs.

Support network for part time PhD

I agree with TreeofLife - there *are* common goals and hopefully a sense of community around those things with your fellow students. So broadly speaking, one doesn't have to feel completely isolated if one has contact with other PhD students.

But milestones rarely coincide, so most of the time the things you are working towards are not in line with other people's milestones, so those late-night/all-night sessions you end up pulling are a very solo affair. And at the end of the day, by necessity, nobody else will care about the content of your thesis as much as you yourself ought to, not even your supervisor. So I think it's worth emphasising that the PhD is far more of a solo pursuit than any taught course. That is most keenly felt during writing up I think, as it's a time when there is little opportunity for collaboration/interaction. The duration of the project, compared to Bachelor's/Master's projects also plays a part in the isolation.

The Thesis Whisperer blog has some posts that put across more eloquently what I think I'm trying to say:

Support network for part time PhD

Even if you do a PhD full time and have a desk in an office full of postgrads... the PhD is always ultimately a lonely experience. Whereas with a Masters there is shared camaraderie as you work towards common deadlines, study the same materials and finish at the same time, PhDs are always a different experience.

So, do take into account social/peer support factors if/when choosing a location to do a PhD, but bear in mind that there's a lot about the process that is inherently isolating, and you will need to work at both new and existing relationships to maintain the support you will need.

You say you're contemplating doing it part time. Part time with what? If you plan to work alongside, that might offset some of the loneliness issues in other ways, by giving you an external focus and stopping you becoming too reliant on the PhD as a source of amusement.

Leave job for PhD

Quote From pd1598:
It's a tough one - do you actually want to do a PhD? Don't do a PhD just because the Prof has offered you one. Sounds like you like your current job?

Agreed - I would not recommend starting a PhD without a reason for doing one. There are different reasons for different people, but they need to be personal (e.g. interest, career goal) rather than external (random suggestion, family pressures).

Two PhDs, same institution, same administrator. Two different cover letters?

If it is an administrator (rather than an academic) then they probably won't be reading your cover letter in any depth, as they won't be responsible for determining who to interview.

However, unless it's a brief 'please find enclosed my application' type cover letter, I would recommend that the cover letter should ALWAYS be different as it should reflect the post applied for. that applies whoever is reading it, and whatever institution you're applying to.

How do you keep up with the current research? Sciece related

Quote From cloudofash:
Hi guys,
What are the best journals to keep up with various areas of science (apart from Nature).

That is a terribly broad question - are you looking to keep up with all scientific disciplines (physical, life, medical...) or something more specific to at least your topic area? One shouldn't be too narrow in one's focus, but there is only so much one can 'keep up with'.

If there are specific journals or topics I wish to keep on top of, I register for alerts for their table of contents, or on PubMed (a medical database) for specific topic alerts. To cast the net a bit wider, I sometimes look at what people in my academic Twitter network are sharing. One could also use Mendeley or ResearchGate I think for similar purpose. buru's suggestion of following authors is a good one, though don't get hung up on ones you know at the expense of ones you don't. Still, looking at a good paper by someone you've heard of is a good way to identify related citations/authors/publications you might want to monitor.

Do be aware that sticking to specific journals will give you a narrow/potentially biased view of any given field, as every journal has it's own agenda, so you might not get a complete over-view if you stick to particular publications.

What notice does associate lecturer (UK hourly paid) have to give?

If you were on an annual contract I'd say 2-3 months. Not sure how it works for hourly rates. If you signed a contract it might be on there, but I realise that not all such positions are contracted. That being the case I'd imagine the notice period should be short.

However, this shouldn't affect jobs you've not yet applied for. Even if they say 'immediate start' there's usually a bit of wiggle room and also there can be up to a month between application deadlines and interviews/offers. So I'd just apply for whatever takes your fancy, but do check out the position with HR when they re-open.

some help in job application please

RA = assistant or associate?

Yes, I'd say your PhD counted, and even though your total adds up to 4 years, I'd apply, through be aware that I might be ruled out on that technicality.

Is this in the UK? I thought that these days they weren't allowed to ask for X years of experience as it basically is an indirect means of age discrimination (i.e. if you have all the relevant skills and experience acquired in 4 years rather than 5 then you should be eligible).

Research Assistant Jobs

It's good to brush up on new stuff, but for an RA job hopefully they won't be expecting you to have a full mastery of a wide range of techniques. Rather, be prepared to talk about any research experience you've had to date (e.g. third year project, summer placements) including the strengths and limitations. I fell fowl of this once in a PhD interview outside my main topic area - put all my effort into swotting up on the topic of the post but wasn't able to talk confidently about my existing experience. Needless to say I didn't get an offer!

Research Assistant Jobs

In general, academics are not the most efficient recruiters. 2 weeks on you'll be lucky if the PI has actually started reading the applications in some cases! So I wouldn't worry too much. Anything that has a deadline in the next couple of weeks probably won't be interviewed for until the new year.

Good luck!

Still unemployed after 18 months from finishing PHD

Sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds deeply frustrating.

Out of interest, what kind of non-academic jobs have you applied for? Do you tailor your applications/CVs for those or use the same one each time? With the non academic jobs, are you applying directly to employers or is it via generic job sites where applications are often first handled by recruitment consultants?

grave mistake in my dissertation

Quote From anks:
hi, I have submitted my MPhil dissertation in history and i realised while working on a paper presentation that the time period I have worked on is wrongly mentioned in my dissertation. the cover page is correct. but the content and the chapters title has wrong time period mentioned. it should have been 1504- 1605 rather than 1504-1605.

Apart from the space between the hyphen and 1605 in your first example, I can't see a difference. Can you explain to us what the mistake means? It is probably not as big an issue as you fear.

How to get into academia without a PhD?

Quote From lentax2:
IntoTheSpiral, I did not mean to irk anyone, I simply want to avoid this financially costly process if possible whilst securing an academic career.

Be aware that unless one is a full professor, rarely does anyone 'secure' an academic career. Whatever path you take, brace yourself for 10-20 years of career uncertainty, short term contracts, and having to continually adapt, in getting to the secure stage.