Signup date: 08 Feb 2008 at 10:07am
Last login: 27 Dec 2008 at 3:00pm
Post count: 640
I am not aware of the Australian rules. I can only advise you as a British citizen who has done a PhD in Britain, and am now working in the US so I know some of their PhD rules. Also my background is science, so their may be some differences if you are in a different field
Obviously in the UK you would require to get funding whether it be through the university, most assign a number of students a year and these are not based on your nationality (I believe) or independant funding board. In the US you would have to be admitted to a PhD programme which would fund you.
The UK PhD program has a tranfer after the first year - so basically you are always enrolled on an MSC/PHD program - after a year if it is not for you you can write your transfer report and be awarded a masters. Yes your supervisor would not approve (mostly) but usually if it comes to that i.e. stopping after a year - it will be because both of you will be in agreement that it is not working.
In the UK a masters is not necessary, if your undergraduate degree grades are either a 1st class or 2i class (this obviously varies is Australia, but they will take equivolents). Usually a 1st is top70% and 2i is top 60% (roughly). In the US its based on GRE scores - I don't know if foreigners are required to take this, but I kind of imagine you would - basically the higher the GRE the better chance of acceptance (I think above a 1200 is good?). BTW the GRE is just a separate test you have to pay for and sit here in the US
A complete change of labs in the UK would really not be possible without restarting the PhD - except I'm sure in some very rare circumstances. The nice thing about the US system is that you are admitted to a PhD programme, not a project. You then rotate through 3 labs (of your choice) for the first year and do classes for 2 years to get you up to speed. In the second year you will have chosen the lab and the general project. and the aim is to get published and done in about 4 (ish years). This very very much depends on the lab, but good ones, with an attentive supervisor will get you out ASAP with a bunch of publications.
As for the learning curve it is the same no matter what you do, it is going to be difficult! you are going to get upset, no matter where you are or who you are, you may cry, you'll probably shout at people (and regret it later), you will complain a lot (more so as the years go on) and you'll probably wanna quit and throw in the towel several times - but I really think thats just part of the process, no matter what country you do it in. Everybody goes through it (except one or two lucky buggers I'm sure!)
In my experience the six (ish) years here in the US doesn't make that much of a difference - also it is possible to be done if 4 or 5 here. You will find (in most cases that I'm aware of) a British PhD is rarely completed in 3 years, and you will only be paid for 3 years. You just have to struggle through the write up phase with no pay or find another job. In the US the fund you till you are finished. If you get a crappy supervisor (PI) then it is going to suck, so that is very! very! important to pick the right person and not just take the first thing to come to you.
As for changing of ideas - Topics in science at least (my field) are very fluid. as long as you stay within the rough parameters of what your lab is interested in then you can pick and choose experiments - although this usually occurs after the first year. There is no set point for this, but its about becoming independant and being in charge of your research - at the end of the day you will defend it as YOUR work, that you did, based on what you wanted to investigate.
Now I feel I've made the UK sound like a bad system, but its not - its just very focused, there is less funding (at the moment) and less room for manouver. The US is more of a taught process, particularly for the classes for the first two years. But! you'
Hi I don't know your particular department - but the University of Cardiff is a good one for the sciences - lots of good research going on there
I spent about 4-5 months of my PhD working in collaboration with a lab there and enjoyed it
Cardiff is a great city - it is quite a university town ao there is always plenty going on there
The accomodation is well priced, but I would take a look at any potential flats first as quite a few of them are a bit shabby
Why do you need a discision now - I titled mine the day before I handed the bugger in
I had a rough idea because it was along the lines of all the talk titles and poster presentations I gave - but no-one ever really cared what it was called until it was in??
Don't chuck away the TV yet you are going to need it on the days when you just can't do it
But there is no substitute for forcing yourself to get it done - do whatever it takes, make unrealistic submission deadlines, whatever - accept that you'll spend most of the time feeling sorry for yourself But always keep in mind that one day it will be done and then you can get on with your real life
its going to be hard for the next wee while but soon enough you'll look back and it'll aaaallll be over
I think my best advice is just to sit there and do it - I don't mean that to sound so harsh - but what I found was that even on the days that were so slow and boring I still got stuff done
I may have struggled through some chapters but at the end of the day those days helped get it done.
The hardest thing is getting the plan of what you want to write and first drafts done - once you have the basic outline it does become a little easier. I think most folk waste time because they can't see where its going.
I would say in my experience 1000 words (that will stay in) a day is a good achievement.
That was the pace I wrote up at (but I was in a bit of a rush.
I guess you could possibly write more, but if you sustain that level of writing, with quality material and keep at it consistantly, you will be done in no time
Just to add my comment having done it - I wrote it up full time in 3 months - that was after the final data analysis was complete - but that was incredibly hard graft - however it is possible.
it really depends on the person - althougha Major part of it was my supervisor, she would take a draft any time and turn it round in a day - if you can get that you can get powered through it. that said even if they take a while there is always more that can be done i.e. hand in one chapter start on the next and just don't stop until its done.
So basically it is possible to write up in 3 months but don't expect it to be easy - on the plus side it gets it over quicker which is a major bonus
Good luck, clowning I'm sure you'll do fine - I know that probably doesn't help.
my only advice is to not over think what they are going to ask you, have confidence inwhat you know because you already know everything and you only submitted a short while ago.
Try and distract yourself from it as much as possible until the time comes - as someone said to me do what you want at this stage if you wanna work fine, if you don't then don't.
You'll do great - and make sure and give us a run down on how it goes
All the best
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