Signup date: 18 Jul 2007 at 10:04pm
Last login: 07 Jun 2020 at 3:42pm
Post count: 738
i think a combination of good grades and lab experience and well as having a clear understanding of why you want to undertake a phd is paramount. This will make you stand out in competition for phd places. most people who apply for phds are likely to have good grades: at least 2.1 and most would have a first so its important that you have something else which makes your application stand out. i would suppose most people's research experience extends to what they have done in their final year project which is quite limited. an undergraduate research placement is looked upon very favourably. i did one and got a paper published. i was offered 4 phd positions and i think my undergraduate research experience was a big contributing factor
i go to one of the oxbridge universities in the uk. from talking to students at this university, they genuinely belive that undegraduate courses at this univeristy are an order of magnitude harder than any other "normal university". i dont agree with this point and i think the same is thought about graduate study at this univeristy. recently i found a web page on the graduate union website, which claims that as a research student you are expected to work so much more independantly than at other universities, having said that, ive seen a big contrast in the level of support that students are given by supervisors in my own department. im very interested to hear from students are oxbridge and other universities on this point
some very interesting comments on this post. i think an interesting way to reflect on a phd, is not to lament at a wasted few months or first year and saying what if i could do it again. a phd is training for research in which case you are likely to know the mistakes made during a phd project. These are valuable lessons for future research projects i.e you are so much better prepared for research in the future ( in theory).
as regards doing phds in a research institute rather than a university: from my own personal experience, research in an institute would be more preferable. i worked at a research institute as an undergraduate and found the people there to be honest,hard working and professional. these are attributes which i dont find in the people i currently work with. any thoughts on this would be much appreciated
like any league table, its a comparision based on figures of merit which are not an absolute measure of how good a university is. in an ideal world the reputation of the institution shouldnt matter so much, so long as the department you apply to has a good repution in their respective feild. however in the real world it does matter. i effectively chose my phd position on the basis of the reputation of the univeristy. there are lots of good univeristies in the UK but few that will stand out at an international level. for example having cantab or oxon in brakets after your phd on your cv is likely to enhance your employment chances a lot and ive been told as much be people who should know
hattie gives great advice. i understand your position exactly. im pretty sure research is for me although ive found my first year rather boring and de-motivating. i have to drag myself out of bed to get into the office every day.
ive found going to the gym is a great stress reliver or just even going out to the cinema/pub. spending all day thinking about you project is enough to stress/bore the hell out of anyone.
my supervisor sent me to a conference( its about all he has done for me) and it did me the world of good to see what other people were up to around the world
its also importnat to think about your reasons for doing a phd. if its a case that youve made a bad desicion and choosin a wrong phd topic, maybe there is a chance of doing a masters instead. it also might me worth looking at the kind of research areas you could work in after getting a phd in this feild. ive been told people can end up working in very different research areas
hey boys and girls. its so conforting to hear the words of support people give on the website. all ive ever wanted to do was resrach as a career. i did student placements as an undergraduate and published a paper. i enjoyed it so much. The first year of my phd has been so depressing, stressful and unproductive. ive very little results and am not too sure about the research direction. i agree that the most important thing to ask is do you love your subject enough to go through another 2-3 years of this? can you see your self having a career in this feild? having thought about it for a while im certain i do want to do research, but i think i made a bad choice of phd project. preferably id like to take a masters, take time out and have a second shot at a phd.
i do believe that picking the right phd project and supervisor are as important as each other. depending on a persons academic backround and experiencee they may need little or a lot of support, espeically in the beginning. if he is pushing you to accept a position he obviously thinks you have what it takes to do the phd. bear in mind. my supervisor offered me the position knowing i had no backround in the field and has offered very little support to date. motivation is of prime importance but i dont believe that motivation alone will get someone through a phd. it sounds like a big positive that this supervisor is in the lab all the time. in 9 months ive probably seen my supervisor step in to my lab to have a look around three times and its usually only on a social visit. i would also consider what you plans are for after the phd. how is doing a phd going to enhance your career? its not likely to add much to your pay scale and competition for academic jobs can be fierce.
ive had a chat with my tutor today and given some great advice about what i should do. i am going to try and resolve the situation first. but i have a feeling that it will be thrown back in my face. if it doesnt work out i was told there is a good chance that i could change project and supervisor. i was more than a little bit amazed when i heard that, but was told that the department loses funding if students drop out. im thinking this time around ill be more cautious. despite my first year not going well, i think ive learned a lot about the research world, what im interested in or not. a second chance is not nothing short of a gift from god. if i get one i will most certainly make the most of it.
did you find another masters project or phd? i would of thought its quite hard to convince a potential project supervisor that someone should be taken on for a research project when they have dropped out of a phd?.
for me it would be a case of either dropping out and not mentioning my first attempt at a phd or sticking it out to get an mphil. ive got a good degree and a paper to my name, so im not sure that i would have too many problems getting another position, but it would be kind of embarrassing going back to my undergraduate univerisity looking for more references and maybe funding would be an issue in the future.
i was kind of thinking that if i pass first year, wait a few months until i write a paper and maybe my tutor/advisor could write me a reference. i would leave the university with evidnece that i am cut out for research. any thoughts?
from what i understand. the amount of people who fail or drop out of phds in most universities is quite low. if that does happen it must reflect very badly on the supervisor and department to a certian extent. certainly in my department its almost unheard of. i found that talking things through with some friends stopped me walking out the door and leaving. we all know who are friends are when we need them. i think the real dilema for me now, is that ive never failed or dropped out of a course before. i would think it wouldnt look very favourable at future interview if i was just to give up, hence why i would prefere to do an mphil. also a lot of money has gone into this project and a lot of other people are relying on my research, so although my supervisor said i am easily replacable, im pretty sure that dropping could really mess things up for the project as a whole ( which is not my intention )
thanks for the advice. i do have people i can talk to , in my group and in my department. my supervisor has a bit of a reputation in the department and is not well liked by all accounts. im not likley to drop out unless i get some kind of qualification ( mphil or phd). ill fight tooth and nail to get it. i had done a number of research placments before doing a phd and i knew that a phd was going to be very hard work and require a lot of dedication. i think the advice i would give to anyone is to choose the phd project and supervisor very carefully. i think i choose a famous university over anything else. i know the feild of study quite well but accepted the position without knowing much about it( foolish). i knew i was taking a risk, but i thought it was worth it. im inclined to think thats it has been a combination of poor project choice, lack of support that have soured my interest in this project. the question is what to do next.......
ive found my first year depressing and have questioned my abilties as a researcher, would it be any different in other projects? im very interested in the field of research in general. but my phd project isnt very stimulating. has anyone found that the kind of reseach opportunities they have had after phd had been closly related to their phd topic? i think i havent dropped out because of fear of failure. i dont like being told i dont have what it takes and there is the question of will people question my attitude and committment at future interviews is i where to drop out? has anyone ever dropped out of a phd and done another one? any thought on my post would be much appreciated :)
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