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Rotten Circuits
April 28th, 2006
11:39 pm

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Crazyfool idea
Okay, so talking to people today gave me the idea that doing a doctorate (PhD) would be considerably less of a bad plan than I had initially thought.

So, to anybody with experience or knowledge of:

a) applying
b) what's involved
c) funding

in different locations, could you please let me know about it?

My main proviso is that I probably don't want to do it in the UK, because of the learning/research structure here - I've found it to be considerably too lax, meaning I find it difficult to take any of it seriously. Of course, if that's not the case for PhDs, then it's a different matter.

Comments, ims, emails, phone calls all welcome.

This isn't me radically revising my life plan - just researching an option.

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From:bernthewitch
Date:April 28th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
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Thought you had to do a Masters before doing a PhD? I was concidering doint that too, again not in this country. But my main concern is a conversation that could go like this:

Person x: Oh wow so you're a DOCTOR?
Dr. Bernadine Rogers: Uhh yeah...
Person x: So are you like a brain surgeon or something?
Dr. Bernadine Rogers: Urr no.
Person x: Oh ok a dentist?
Dr. Bernadine Rogers: Urr. No. Film and TV. Its a PhD...

Dunno yet aswell. Hell, I am still concidering whether a MAsters is a good idea.
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From:wererogue
Date:April 29th, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
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It seems to depend on the course - some places will let you go directly on to doctorate from batchelor.

See, my final line there would be more likely to be:
Person x: Oh ok a dentist?
Dr. Ian Davis: Excuse me, I have to go over here now.
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From:lyttlelucyfer
Date:April 29th, 2006 09:27 am (UTC)
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You could go talk to norasdollhouse, look for her on my friends list. Her name is Liz, she's just finished her masters in zoology and is preparing to do a doctorate. She has also spent some time studying abroad. I'm sure she'd spare some time to talk about it with you, she's a very nice girl.
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From:forthright
Date:April 29th, 2006 01:48 pm (UTC)
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Well, my own experience as a recent Canadian Ph.D is that international students always pay significantly higher tuition, and rarely receive the same funding opportunities since most of the major granting agencies specify that you must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. Having said that, individual Ph.D. programs may have a lot more money available - for instance: the University of Toronto (where I'm at now) guarantees its Ph.D. students funding, regardless of nationality. If your project is going to be related to your supervisor's project, you may get funding through his/her research grants, as well.

The actual application process is pretty simple. All schools have downloadable application forms for grad school and many of them have completely online application processes. You will need to have three people to write letters of reference for you, and be prepared to write a letter of interest explaining what sort of project you hope to do and why you think the university in question is the right one for you.

There are, as you note, schools that let you go right from a bachelor's degree to a Ph.D. That's fine, but you should know that a lot of them basically include an extra year of coursework or other degree requirements to make up for the lack of a master's. Others let you get a master's along the way, but just presume that you will be going on to the doctorate. Programmes vary quite a lot in terms of time required, depending on the institution and the field of study. You will want to contact the administrative assistant at a couple of likely departments to see what the estimated time to completion of the degree will be.
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From:norasdollhouse
Date:May 3rd, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC)
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Hey Ian,

I hope I can help in whatever way I can.

a) applying

you typically need to produce a student/educational CV (educational achievements highlighted) with 3 referees (sometimes 2 is ok but both will have to be from lecturers who can vouch for your accademic achomplishments). you will also need to produce a letter of application. alot of people fall down on this so producing a decent one will automatically put you down to the last few even without a decent CV! you may also be required to complete a form of application but usually supervisors are more interested in your letter of application where you should highlight your research interests and what you would like to do in the project your applying for.

good place to look for PhD's is a website called www.findaphd.com! which includes placements at universities and organisations outside of the UK (but not many). you may also try to ask lecturers if they have heard of any placements. If you are outside of education at the moment get back in touch with lecturers you were close to. They will have a better insight to what is going on.

applications to different countries may require different things. In the netherlands for example they will require photocopies of all your academic qualifications in triplicate as well as a copy of your undergrad or masters project. all by post! Very expensive!

b) what's involved

sometimes you do get the idea that there is no structure to a phd but that is completely down to the project supervisor you have and I highly recommend that if you want someone who is more hands on that you ask current postgraduates (at the interview you will meet them) what your supervisor is like!!!! THe first year of Phd level in this country is largely lecture based where you will learn the skills you will need as a postgrad and you will be eased into your role so dont turn your back on the UK just yet.


c) funding

Funding is sometimes but not always arranged inadvance of supervisors asking for applications. Sometimes it may be down to the applicatnt to arrange funding, go to additional interviews etc.. If you find a placement you are interested in and you dont know if it is funded or not you will need to ask the supervisor. There is no point wasting your time applying if there is no chance of funding and you cant afford it.

If you need tips on writing a letter of application or any other information let me know.

Liz
xxx
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From:norasdollhouse
Date:May 3rd, 2006 12:31 pm (UTC)
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P.S An MSc is an advantage but only a prerequisite if you want to do a PHD in the arts, i.e English etc. In the sciences you can go directly from undergraduate but be aware you will be fighting for places against others which will have a first class degree, or a 2:1 and an MSc. In the end it doesnt matter as long as you can convince the supervisor you will be working with that you are perfect, that you have the same interests and drive! that you are dedicated and willing to work hard. MOST IMPORTANT IS SELF MOTIVATION IN ANY COUNTRY!!!!

Liz
xxx
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