doubts about applying for a phd, any chemistry phd students here?

posted
08-Jan-20, 13:16
Avatar for chemistrystudent2401
posted about 3 months ago
hey all

a while ago i posted about whether it would be worst applying for phds in the chemistry field given that i'm most likely going to achieve an 2.1 mchem this year
i decided i would but i'm having doubts because of other things
the only research experience i have is from my masters research project, i dont have research experience outside of uni, i have other work experience from internships but theyre not related to chemistry, do you think this would be a setback?
I was thinking of applying for other jobs this year, hopefully chemistry related and do a phd next year rather than start this year, would this be a good idea? taking a year out doing something else?
are there any chemistry phd students here? if so could i have a chat with you directly?
posted
08-Jan-20, 13:32
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
I've done plenty of both practical research lab Chemistry (almost 2 years between summer breaks and a years industrial synthesis placement) and theoretical Chemistry during my PhD so I can advise.

What would be the purpose of the year out in industry?
If it's to get lab experience I honestly wouldn't worry about that.
I'm not a big fan of doing a PhD without gaining a 1st or a very good 2:1 because having a solid theoretical background really is essential but that's just my own view. You should have few problems getting a position.

Personally, I think that if you really want to do a PhD you should go ahead and apply. If you agree to start in September you have a few months to fill any gaps in your knowledge and do some literature reviewing before you really get going.
posted
10-Jan-20, 14:14
Avatar for chemistrystudent2401
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From pm133:
I've done plenty of both practical research lab Chemistry (almost 2 years between summer breaks and a years industrial synthesis placement) and theoretical Chemistry during my PhD so I can advise.

What would be the purpose of the year out in industry?
If it's to get lab experience I honestly wouldn't worry about that.
I'm not a big fan of doing a PhD without gaining a 1st or a very good 2:1 because having a solid theoretical background really is essential but that's just my own view. You should have few problems getting a position.

Personally, I think that if you really want to do a PhD you should go ahead and apply. If you agree to start in September you have a few months to fill any gaps in your knowledge and do some literature reviewing before you really get going.


a break from academia really, i’ve never taken a gap year and i feel like this year would be a good time to take one. I want to do a phd but i’m not 100% sure i wanna start a few months after graduating. So would you say that i wouldn’t need to worry about getting more lab experience? i’m confident in the lab but i’m just worried any supervisor would look at the amount of lab experience i have and say i’d need to get more.
posted
10-Jan-20, 17:04
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
What are you getting out of the year in industry? I don't think you will gain that much other than a year of life experience. You can learn most lab techniques with a small bit of effort and there is no guarantee working in industry will give you the relevant lab experience. PhD application processes look more for ability than experience, as they can teach what you need. So if you want to do a PhD, I would apply now rather than gaining experience beforehand.

Also, if you want a gap year, take a gap year

PS: Experimental Chemical Engineer
posted
11-Jan-20, 06:04
edited about 29 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Wanting to take a break from academia is understandable but you'll be giving up a £25k job for one at £14k when you come back to the PhD so bear that in mind.

If you go for industry you should try and find a job which gives you the skills you think you are missing.
PhD supervisors are less interested in you having this experience and more interested in your academic record and availability.

You can make this decision knowing it's going to make no difference to your chances of securing a PhD position a year or two down the road.
posted
21-Jan-20, 22:26
edited about 14 seconds later
Avatar for chemistrystudent2401
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From rewt:
What are you getting out of the year in industry? I don't think you will gain that much other than a year of life experience. You can learn most lab techniques with a small bit of effort and there is no guarantee working in industry will give you the relevant lab experience. PhD application processes look more for ability than experience, as they can teach what you need. So if you want to do a PhD, I would apply now rather than gaining experience beforehand.

Also, if you want a gap year, take a gap year

PS: Experimental Chemical Engineer


sorry should have been more clear in my original post.
I might take a gap year, whether i want to work in a chemitry related job while taking that gap year i'm not sure, for the most part i just want a break from education and then jump back in after a year, i'm not sure what my plan would be, probably work for a bit in some part time job and travel maybe but would this look bad on an application?
posted
21-Jan-20, 22:29
Avatar for chemistrystudent2401
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From pm133:
Wanting to take a break from academia is understandable but you'll be giving up a £25k job for one at £14k when you come back to the PhD so bear that in mind.

If you go for industry you should try and find a job which gives you the skills you think you are missing.
PhD supervisors are less interested in you having this experience and more interested in your academic record and availability.

You can make this decision knowing it's going to make no difference to your chances of securing a PhD position a year or two down the road.

thanks.

ok thanks for the information.
Would supervisors look down on a low 2.1? Its where I am at currently however i'm confident i can pull this up to a high 2.1
posted
21-Jan-20, 23:37
edited about 24 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
A 2:1 is not ideal but it will depend on the number of competing students who apply for the same post but you should get something without too much trouble. You might struggle to get the ideal position but you won't know until you try applying.
posted
22-Jan-20, 00:05
edited about 3 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
To add to pm133's point, a good mark in your dissertation can partially make up for 2:1 grade.
posted
22-Jan-20, 13:32
Avatar for chemistrystudent2401
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From pm133:
A 2:1 is not ideal but it will depend on the number of competing students who apply for the same post but you should get something without too much trouble. You might struggle to get the ideal position but you won't know until you try applying.


Quote From rewt:
To add to pm133's point, a good mark in your dissertation can partially make up for 2:1 grade.


thanks. Any advice on making a good dissertation?
posted
22-Jan-20, 18:55
edited about 10 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Others will have differing views on a good dissertation but my method is to split it into 3 main sections each about one third proportion.
You are telling a story of your research, why you are doing it and how it fits in with the current state of the art and how it advances what is known.

So a literature review is the first section, telling the history of your area of interest.
Then a description section of what you have done and how you have done it.
Then a results section with full analysis and conclusions.
Finally, a few pages of ideas for future work.
posted
24-Jan-20, 11:15
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 3 months ago
2.1 should be fine, go for it!

The only way in which the classification is likely to affect you is in comparison to other applicants - the application process has to be fair in recognising academic grades when releasing funding for scholarships. So this will be more of an issue for very highly sought-after scholarships.

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