PhD Formal Offer, but still in the pool for 1st choice PhD. Help!

18-May-20, 16:01
Avatar for oxymoron369
posted about 2 weeks ago

I am need of advice for a tricky situation.

I have been offered a fully funded PhD at a great University in my home country, starting October. I have the formal offer with me now, which they have given me only 2 weeks to accept.

However, before the interview for the first PhD. I had been enquiring about another very similar PhD project in Australia. Australia being a country I have always wanted to live and study in (having travelled and worked there years before now). I had written the Aus PhD off as a possibility due to no tuition fee funding. However, the supervisor advised after I had informally accepted the first PhD that I had a very good chance of getting a fully funded scholarship, but I would not know if I had been successful until July/August.

I still have a formal application in with the Aus PhD, however apart from looking bad. What consequences could there be if I accept the PhD starting in October 2020. Then in August all funding and everything comes good with the Aus PhD and I withdraw my offer?
I have been completely honest with the supervisors in Australia out my offer here, and they understand but cannot speed up the process at their end.

I am very conflicted, I had never imagined 2 amazing projects would come along at the same time.
I see pros and cons to both projects, Universities and locations. I feel my interest and passion is pointing towards Australia. But I know I could go further in my career with the University and collaborations in my home country.

I had read this is quite common, but it's more the long time frame I am concerned about. Any advise would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
18-May-20, 17:30
edited about 18 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 weeks ago
I think it is quite common actually. In fact, sometimes it happens that a person leaves like a year in to pursue a different PhD project. Similarly, sometimes people accept a job (we need an occupation right...) - and then leave if their dream job comes up. It isn't exactly welcomed as it is a pain for the persons hiring. But usually funding is recyclable and so won't go to waste. I wouldn't say anything at this stage though in case the Australia one doesn't work out. Consequences... none I don't think unless you then want to work closely with them again in the near future - that probably wouldn't go down so well after leaving.

Ps. I understand the conflicting feelings. I was awarded funding for 2 PhDs and accepted one because I felt somewhat obliged to, when actually I should have accepted the other. It wasn't an identical situation but I think in hindsight it makes me think that you just have to do what's best for you sometimes (within reason of course - not at the personal expense of others). You could always make a decision once you hear back from the Aus one and just keep options open for now.
18-May-20, 18:16
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 weeks ago
Accept it and politely withdraw if you need to.

Thee repercussions of leaving a PhD are minimal and you funding can be recyled. The supervisor might be a bit annoyed but the academic world is huge and there is very little they can do, especially if it is another country. Although having a guaranteed PhD offer must be a relief and congratulations! Goodluck!


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