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PhD Offer Dilemma - Advice Needed!

Delta, as much as I admire your benevolent attitude, I can't help thinking that in the "real world", one has to do what is right for oneself and one's family. I'm sure many have doubts about doing a PhD before starting and go on to be good PhD students who manage to last the course. I feel your advice "then don't do it" is far too simple for such complex situations.

As far as implications for other people, this shouldn't be a variable in your mind when doing or starting a PhD. All that will do is add further pressure and divert attention - the PhD is yours exclusive of imaginary and non-imaginary "others".

PhD Offer Dilemma - Advice Needed!

Hi Garry

To add a bit of balance, venturing into the unknown is difficult at the best of times. You seem to be looking at all the "cons" and haven't mentioned the "pros". This is common when deep down you don't feel like the change, which is a natural thing to feel. However, there must be reasons why you said you want to do a PhD "eventually" (whatever that means!). This may be a great opportunity for you, and you don't want to miss it for a few rather mediocre reasons (e.g. "I'm happy as I am"). I would see the PhD application process through to the end - perhaps you won't get the funding and therefore your decision will be made. When you have the full official offer - then you have a real choice to make - remember to look at the pros as well!

Whatever decision you make will be the right one.

Had an interview and got a reaction back but is it positive or negative?

Hi Alex

If I read correctly, you had not finished your Masters at the point where the PhD originally started? There are rules regarding this - you can't be studying both your Masters and your PhD at the same time.

I personally would knock on the supervisor's door and ask politely what the situation is. I can't imagine this would contravene any social airs or graces, or harm your chances.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

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As a dad with a fairly new baby, I appreciate the choice, but personally I think baby's mum will want all the time, and will most likely get it. She certainly won't want to be sharing her precious maternity leave with me, and I am very happy to accommodate her wishes - after all, she did 99.999% of the work!

As an addendum: baby's mum absolutely loves it when we're both off work - anything that gives both mum & dad the right to be at home together for at least a little while is a good thing. But this isn't about that, so I'm rather indifferent about it to be honest.

Acceptance into PhD program

I imagine you would receive a formal and official offer by post and also possibly by email from the University's Admissions/Recruitment department.


Just fell into it after returning to University to do a Masters. Did well, was offered a scholarship and it felt like a good opportunity.

To be honest, I have very little idea what I am doing, or why I am doing it, but most of the time I enjoy this bizarre existence.

Do all Universities in the UK offer distinction?

I would imagine you would be hard pressed to get the answer "Yes" to your question, as (probably) no one out there is knowledgeable about the nature of Masters awards in every University in the UK (and the world).

The answer most likely is no, some Universities will offer a pass award only, but others award Pass/Merit/Distinction.

Furthermore, my experience (of UK Universities) is that you must get an average of 70% ... that is, your average grade for every piece of graded work must be 70%. BUT, there is another thing, if there is a taught unit part of the Masters you must average 70% in that, and then get 70% for your dissertation as well (so getting 100% in your taught units, then 50% in your dissertation isn't good enough for distinction - you would receive only a pass!).

Hope this answers your question somewhat.

Help - How can I improve my chances of studying at PhD level and securing funding to do so??

Your MSc should be enough, combined with your experience. I didn't do an undergrad and took an MSc in a field where I had industry experience - I ultimately had no problem finding a funded PhD.

You may have to excel in your MSc though - getting a Distinction certainly wouldn't hurt.

Good luck!