PhD project you are not sure about because it is funded?

posted
12-Jun-14, 22:00
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for dancingqueen
posted about 5 years ago
Just wondering do you think it would be better to take a funded PhD that you are not entirely sure about or take some time out and reapply next year for a project that you feel is more in keeping with your interests?
posted
14-Jun-14, 00:18
Avatar for Magdatrix
posted about 5 years ago
I'm not sure what the answer is to this - in fact I am currently in a similar position in that before actually applying, I am attempting to decide between two studentships in the same department. Both meet my interests to a certain extent, but there are also concerns for each that make me wonder whether I'd be more suited to a different topic.

Have you already been offered yours or are you just at application stage?

I'm going to apply to one anyway (afterall there's no acceptance-decision to be made unless they actually offered me the place) but the question is heavily in my mind about whether it would be the 'right' thing...is it possible that something else could actually come up next year that we would rather be doing?
posted
14-Jun-14, 07:30
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for dancingqueen
posted about 5 years ago
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I was offered two funded PhDs at two different unis and accepted one and declined the other. Now I feel I made an error of judgement in choosing the project that I did. I'm not sure whether to go ahead with it or to take some time out and reapply next year. Funded studentships in my area aren't that common but three years is a long time to work on something you are not sure about! I imagined my PhD was going to be a labour of love not a means to an end!
posted
14-Jun-14, 10:58
by tatjana
Avatar for tatjana
posted about 5 years ago
I have often seen that proposals written by students and post-docs are “adapted” so that they agree better with the interests of the supervisors. This makes somehow sense, especially if they spend a lot of time helping their students. And they will also probably be able to provide more help when they are interested in the topic and therefore know more about it.

On the other hand, supervisors have often good suggestions and if they think their topic has a higher probability of succeeding than the topic you are suggesting, that is definitely something I would consider.

What I want to say is that often people do not work on their original topic even if they have their own proposal or funding. It is also often the case that you start with one topic and end up doing something very different, because the original topic does not work, you find something more interesting, you find out that you topic does not make sense ...

So I would try to be somehow flexible in the selection of my topic.
posted
14-Jun-14, 16:00
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for dancingqueen
posted about 5 years ago
Thank you that is a very useful insight.
posted
16-Jun-14, 10:26
edited about 29 seconds later
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 5 years ago
It is more common for you to apply to a funded scholarship with one research proposal but find that changes along the way in conjunction with student and supervisor input. It is more likely that you will adapt the original proposal in some way within the first year to something more suited to you. I haven;t come across one student in my dept that on first year upgrade has submitted the same proposal from application without modification, even ones who applied to a specified project! There are ways to bend the research to something you are more inclined to get along with. Similarly, i know plenty of students who started with a love and passion for their project and now hate it so it's swings and roundabouts. I suppose what I am saying is, in the end it;s not really the subject of the PhD that makes it any more or less enjoyable maybe you should think more about what you will get out of the projects in terms of connections with other academics, the types and quality of research training afterwards and future job prospects once completed. It's a good decision to have to make though having choice :D
posted
16-Jun-14, 13:55
Avatar for dancingqueen
posted about 5 years ago
Thanks wowzers. This is very reassuring and I guess I should just be thankful for the funding. Something made me choose that project in the first place so I saw merit in it then. As far as connection with other academics goes academic positions in my area, as probably most others, are very limited and I perhaps didn't choose that wisely in terms of my long term prospects but I do like my supervisors very much and they are experienced in working with PhD students so that is all very positive.

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