Signup date: 13 Apr 2010 at 11:20am
Last login: 22 Jun 2012 at 4:22pm
Post count: 144
It certainly isn't your qualifications or age. I have a 2:1 from the Open University and I am 39 in the first year of PhD.
With so many people now going to university the job market for graduates is very competitive and so more now consider PhDs.
Are you selling yourself sufficiently in your applications?
You are excellent at time management having studied while working. (Don't mention children in application - leave that for interview where you can explain your multitasking skills having family - in interview I then used the reason "I am returning to study as my daughter is older and needs me less: I can now devote myself to what I want to do")
As an Open University student you have a self reliance that undergraduates normally don't get because they have their tutors on their doorstep. This is like research where your supervisor is often very busy and so contact is often emails or the odd face to face meeting.
Working and studying can be tough. People I know who do both have a job at the university. I would contact the university and see what your chances are at getting work on campus.
Another friend of mine does private tuition in the evenings, in mathematics A level, so look on the internet for recruitment agencies for personal tutors. My friend does not have teaching qualifications (just a degree) therefore, with your experience of teaching, you certainly are qualified enough without having British teaching qualifications.
Well done for taking that step.
(I came out of my PhD this week, again like you not my undergraduate field, and am now looking for a different PhD to do: so can appreciate the tough decision you have had.)
There is more to life than trying to slog away at something that clearly makes you unhappy, and I hope you find something good to do soon.
I would not recommend doing the OU masters alongside a research degree. The workload of the two combined is likely to bring your mark down in both and not show what you are capable of.
The pass mark at my DTC from MSc to PhD is 65% in the Masters, and as the OU has a different grade structure to other universities I would push the percentage angle rather than the OUs grade boundaries.
Doing a Masters is good experience for a PhD which is why it is becoming the norm that people now have a masters before PhD study. However, I presume you are working as well as distance learning which also would show maturity and ability to cope with the different work conditions of a PhD.
It is COMPLETELY normal to feel you have less experience than you need. (Official name is 'imposter syndrome').
To overcome your 'weaknesses' take every chance you get to do a presentation, poster, group talk.
The university may have day courses on presentations, speaking. I have been on some and they are really good, improved my presenting no end.
(On a training day my group were surprised to find I am an introvert because I have learnt how to 'present myself' to others)
Confidence will take time and, although you are quiet, you will find a way to express yourself so you don't appear nervous or shy.
My group reports this year have varied from ok to awful - get feedback from your supervisor and over time you will learn how to do them better (I am still learning but I think I am gradually improving).
Your PhD isn't just research - it is still learning all the other skills to communicate science to your peers. You are not expected to be brilliant at the start, it is another thing you are expected to build on and improve.
Good luck with the PhD
If you have a large group that publishes regularly it boosts the academic's profile and reduces the time it takes to go up the promotion ladder. They are often assessed on how many papers they have to their name so it gives them increased job security when the university is looking at cut backs. They also get a chance to cherry pick the best graduates and try to keep them on as post-docs further increasing their chances of being associated with good research results.
Talk to the people who ran your course or the university administration department. Universities vary in how much credit you can transfer (if they do at all). You may need to consider redoing a masters from the start at a different university.
Your health reasons for not passing so far would be accepted as a valid reason to try again at a different place.
You may benefit from starting afresh as well because you could put this fail behind you.
Has your health improved? Will it stay that way?
Having an MSc is good for job applications but you do not want to try and spend too many years trying to get a qualification and not be in a job gaining on the job experience. You mention lots of experience working abroad which is a really good thing in your favour. You also have the problem solving skills a physics degree teaches you as well as your software writing ability: you have lots to say to sell yourself so go for jobs anyway even if they do ask for an MSc.
Have a think about things and don't rush into any decisions.
I suspect another university would want you to do the whole MSc again.
Was there a reason why you failed? E.g. poor health, family members ill.
Do you need an MSc for what you want to do next?
You have not failed badly (61% shows capability) so you still have employability with the diploma.
You future plans may have to change in the short term but if there is something you really want to do please don't give up.
Talk again to the Program Leader and see if they know if you can transfer credit.
Try and stay friendly and keen with them even though you obviously must feel sad about this.
If you can get a good reference from them it is a start to using the credits you have acquired.
Would you get the internship as a "person coming from the UK"? (Presuming you are currently a UK home student.)
Do you have family in this country? I believe that strengthens your case to be considered as resident here.
Are the 'places abroad' linked to where you have lived in the past? That could affect things if an internship is at a place previously called home.
Found this site: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/tuition_fees_ewni.php
Who may be able to help in your unique situation.
If you have not been given guidelines then I expect you cannot be penalised for this as long as you are consistent.
It doesn't matter what subject matter you have, use clear English. You are not a lawyer and so will not be expected to write like a lawyer so don't try.
As for any essay, make sure your essay flows from point to point and you don't fill it with more words when fewer words make the point just as well.
I am afraid I have no experience of law, however, I did find this link which seems good:
Congrats on your PhD place.
I found that going over undergrad/MSc material was good. I refreshed my memory of things I had forgotten, some things I understood better second time around and as it was all familiar it wasn't too stressful.
A small amount of study helps keep your brain used to thinking scientifically but like others have said you should relax too.
Your PhD direction may change over the first few months so it is hard to tell this early what would be worth preparing for. What journals have your supervisors/department published in? Make sure you have read anything your supervisor has written/been involved with and is related to your work - don't worry about understanding everything. You would just get a relaxed familiarity to the subject so it isn't all new to you in October.
Don't go mad studying. Have fun and make some memories to keep you going in the depths of that first winter!
If you have good grades already to an academic level of a BSc/BA you will not need the extra qualification. However you may find it an advantage to do an MSc/MA to increase your subject knowledge, this qualification would be good enough from an Indian University.
I know of at least one person with a BSc from an Asian country and who has got onto a PhD program. They appear to be managing very well.
Good luck in your applications.
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