Proposal help

15-Jan-13, 10:13
edited about 7 seconds later
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 7 years ago
So after my inital delight at getting an interview for Phd it has been cancelled as they don't think my initial proposal is up to scratch to get a studentship. Thing is my course leader will not even give me a reference, let alone help with a proposal. I feel I need proper advice on how to go about this. Can anyone point me in the right direction? BTW I have no idea why tis person will not give me a reference other than saying I can't apply to Phd until I get my final grade in March but I have found other people at the same uni applied and were accepted before finishing their MA. I was also top of my class last year, got grant funding for my own small project and complketed 9 months early so it's not like I'm not a hard worker?


15-Jan-13, 21:14
edited about 6 seconds later
by XJR
Avatar for XJR
posted about 7 years ago
Sounds incredibly unprofessional for a university to decide a proposal isn't up to scatch after they have invited someone to an interview and then withdraw the offer of the interview. I would be furious to be honest and I'd give that department a wide berth in the future.

Certainly when I was applying for PhDs the course tutors and lecturers were happy to give students references prior to finishing the MA. If this person won't give you a reference there is little you can do about it. All you can do is politely ask them again and expalin you want (or need) to apply for PhDs now, not in March, and so if they are willing to give you a reference based on what they know about your academic performance over the year, and not your final grade, could they please do so. If they say no again you your only other option is to ask other tutors/lecturers on your course - you have no other option. These tutors may also be more receptive to helping you with your proposal, or at least reading it over once before you submit it.

I assume from the fact you have to submit a propsal you are applying for a social science/humanities PhD. Whether you are applying to your current univerversity of a different one it is (in my experience) essential to have contacted a specific supervisor who is interested in supervising your posposed PhD and will 'fight your corner' and try to get you funding - 'blind' applications (where no potential supervisor has been contacted or epressed an interest in supervising the proposed PhD) are rarely successful.

Good luck with your application.
15-Jan-13, 21:28
Avatar for CtSilver
posted about 7 years ago
Hi wowzers,
I'm sorry about your situation. The only thing I can suggest is going to your other lecturers or contacts within the university and asking them for a reference instead. If you have/had a personal tutor then this person would be ideal. From my experience I find that students can apply for PhDs without their final grade, usually their course grades so far are considered, so it really shouldn't be a problem.

I also agree with what XJR said about 'blind' applicants. In order to really secure your place, you have to contact your potential supervisor beforehand and discuss your proposal. It was exactly the same for the third year 'self proposed' projects; you had to get in contact with someone in your interest area, go over your project proposal, and if they were interested then they agreed supervise you.
15-Jan-13, 21:35
edited about 7 seconds later
Avatar for upthedowner
posted about 7 years ago
Yikes - this sounds like a really crummy situation ... it really does ... and I'm really sorry that my commiserations don't help your cause very much!

I agree: this is quite possibly NOT the school to be considering seriously. Unless you have the option to revise your proposal, but it's likely they have someone else in mind and that they will just not support your application and this is the way they think they can drop your application quietly.

Go somewhere else, if you can.

This just sounds like a lousy experience all round.


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