At what stage do you approach potential supervisors?

22-Sep-19, 21:05
edited about 19 seconds later
by Bronin
Avatar for Bronin
posted about 11 months ago
I've got a couple of ideas for phds. At what stage do you start emailing supervisors? Should you have a fully worked up proposal before you get in contact? As I'm not currently in academia I need soundings to see if it is feasible. Also more complicated as it is probably 'interdisciplinary'...

I've identified one potential supervisor.. or they might be able to put me in contact with others. Being self-funding and part-time I also don't know if this makes any difference..
23-Sep-19, 08:48
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 11 months ago
Being self funded is a great advantage. Funding is the most important. You do not have to have a full proposal. Just contact potential supervisors directly.
23-Sep-19, 22:15
by abababa
Avatar for abababa
posted about 11 months ago
If you are self-funded, you will probably find many doors are open.

The best advice I could give would be to treat the whole process as a two-way interview. You don't need to be too afraid of rejection or sending a bad proposal, what you do need to worry about is paying a small fortune for a supervisor that doesn't engage with you leading to a drawn out, isolated part-time PhD.

That said - strategically - consider sending the proposal to a few places that you're the least interested in first. If you get no answer or negative feedback (or even positive suggestions), you can take this onboard before sending it to the places you're most interested in.
25-Sep-19, 10:59
edited about 1 second later
Avatar for Sicily91
posted about 11 months ago
Hi Bronin,

I went through this process last year although I was only looking for funded opportunities (of which there are many, if you are willing to put in the work to apply!). My field of study is biological and psychological science.

Timeline for me went something like this:
October: I wrote down about three paragraphs describing a potential research area and one paragraph regarding potential methodology (left very open to development). I emailed about six experts in the field at uni's who a) had funding opportunities/ were part of a DTP b) I would be willing to study at.
Nov-Jan- Developed a full proposal with input from two separate supervisors (same concept but different methodologies based on lab resources etc.)
Jan-March - Funding applications
May-Jun- Outcomes

I guess that if you are wanting to study part time and have the funds, many more supervisors will be open to working with you from the get-go, as the development of the proposal should be in collaboration with the supervisor so that they can add their expertise to this but also requires some time and effort on their part!

Hope this helps


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