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Fresh eyes and wise words needed

funding from my MRes department, I will be up the creek without a paddle if I don’t have a plan B…

Do fresh eyes think that, that a 2.1 undergraduate with an MRes distinction in quite a specific research area (a specific Latin American country), is likely to secure funding after having applied for 7 or 8 PhD programmes in the UK? Just how impossible is it out there right now? Would I stand much of a chance jumping to another university for a humanities at PhD and still get funding? (generally do supervisors usually have an abundance of Masters students they like to keep for PhD, which makes funding for outsiders extremely difficult?) I wonder how much of a say supervisors get when it comes to who gets the studentships?

I have also looked into applications in the US to broaden my chances of funding success, and have identified a further 5 potential supervisors on that side of the pond. Do US universities offer humanities PhD`s from afar? Or are face to face interviews the norm? I am basically willing to go anywhere on earth in search of a funded PhD. Do people think that an applicant with my credentials stands much of a chance of a funded Humanities PhD after 8-15 PhD applications in both the UK and US, part. in todays funding climate? How hopeful should I be? Is there anything I am doing wrong so far, or is there anything I have missed?

Sorry for the length of this, I have waited quite sometime before posting my question to the forum and I hope that my questions have been clear. Maybe somebody with much more experience of the jungle of academia could offer a fresh pair of eyes on my situation and offer some wise words..

Best Regards

Fresh eyes and wise words needed

Hello all

I have quietly followed this forum for some time, and have really been impressed by the quality of information and advice that comes out of this forum on a daily basis.

I am just about to start my post graduate life and thought that it would be fantastic if some of the great minds of this forum could cast a fresh pair of eyes upon my situation going forward.

My background, 27 yrs old, graduate (2.1) in International Relations and Politics from a Russell group university. I have all sorts of motivations for wanting to get back into academia and specifically into the subject I am returning to research - the subject is something of a passion, some would say addiction ,). But the short version is - that since graduating four years ago I have taught English in two Spanish speaking countries, and have now decided that teaching is for me, even if teaching English is not. My ultimate goal is a career in academia.

I will be starting a Masters by research in an aspect of Latin American studies (Political History of a Latin American Country, it is a very niche topic) in September. I have quite an extensive background in the research area (I have lived in and studied the theme extensively at undergrad. level and achieved first class results for my research. I applied for funding for my MRes and only managed first reserve (postgrad funding has been slashed by 50% in my department to be). Self funding the Masters has meant enormous sacrifices personally and professionally, I am confident that I have the ability to get a distinction and I am therefore 100% committed to aiming for nothing less.

This is all being said, I am coming back to academia with the clear plan of securing a PhD place in September 2013. Whilst I have managed to self fund the Masters (just), the PhD will be unthinkable without funding. This brings me to my question…..

I would much rather continue with the department I will be starting my MRes, for which there are a number of reasons. However funding has been slashed, is very far from guaranteed and I need a plan B…. I have already identified eight other potential PhD supervisors in the UK, I have not yet contacted them and am waiting until I have worked with my MRes supervisor for a couple of months so I sound him out about my plan B after having worked and got to know him first. The community in which I am entering is small in the UK, and I would hate for my current supervisor to hear that I have been `shopping around` for a plan B without having discussed it with him first.. but I dont want to put all my eggs in one basket, and do need a plan B.. does anyone think that he might be hostile to the idea of me contacting other potential supervisors, is it accepted in academia that students do need other options due to the funding crisis? all of this baring in mind that I believe he is very interested in my PhD research proposal – we have been discussed my MRes in terms of a 1 + 3 programme. However, if I do not get fundi