1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Programs Criteria to consider when choosing PhD institution (research)

  1. Dec 4, 2009 #1
    I'm currently in the process of deciding where to go for my PhD studies (in Europe, i.e. I already have a masters, PhD is then just research).
    I wonder what are the criteria I should consider when making the decision?
    Of course active research in the area I want to study is in the first place, but what else? I guess having a lot of seminars/workshops/conferences is also a vital thing.
    Is there anything else I should look at when I make the decision?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2009 #2

    Choppy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    In no particular order:
    - potential supervisors - spend time talking with/interviewing them, find out: how often they meet with graduate students, whether they meet formally or informally, how many students they supervised in the past, expectations of student performance (it's surprising how many people sign on without considering such things)
    - PhD program itself - course requirements, candidacy and/or comprehensive exam, examination format, thesis format
    - the city where you will be located
    - renumeration/financial support - availability of TAs, RAs, scholarships
    - opinions of graduate students in the department
    - university facilities - both research related and recreational
    - where recent graduates of the program are going
     
  4. Dec 5, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the advice!
    So how should one interview potential supervisors? Should one do this before applying or after having obtained a decision?
     
  5. Dec 5, 2009 #4

    Choppy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Ideally, you should visit a potential graduate school before applying. Make sure that people know you're coming and try to book some time with professors who will be accepting graduate students. (You can figure out who those my be by emailing the graduate advisor or the associate chair in charge of graduate students).

    When you have time, be polite and professional and find out as much as you can about potential projects they have. As I said, try to ask what they expect from graduate students so far as time committments, what is required for a PhD thesis (ie. some will say you require n publications, others will be more project specific), how many students they've had in the past, general outlines of potential projects, sources of funding, how much time they have for graduate students (ie. a professor with ten grad students of her own on five different departmental committees and who regularly teaches three courses will have less time to devote to individual students than the professor who has a single student and minimal other committments).

    They will interview you as well, but it's important to remember that the process goes two ways, even if at times it may seem a little intimidating. Keep in mind that you're trying to find the best match for the both of you. Essentially, in a supervisor, you're looking for a mentor.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Criteria to consider when choosing PhD institution (research)
Loading...