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Admissions European PhD programs aplication and admussion advice

  1. Nov 15, 2017 #1

    I would like to ask you all if you can five me some guidence on how to procede in following situatio . First i will give some context for my situation.

    I have finnished my undergraduate and my masters degree in institution that is outside EU, during my masters degree i had done research in string theory. Research that i had done is in really niche area and scince there were no other string theory teams in my country that was only area that i had an oportunity to do research in.

    Now, im planing on applying to EU universities for PhD, mainly German and British universities, and i would like to do my PhD in different subfield of string theory. In order to give my application i have to write research proposal, and this is where following problem arises.

    For subfield that i did my MSc i kow what could be good research topic, but for subfield that i would like to do my PhD in i just have general idea of what i would like to do. So im stuck in following situation, i think i knkw what my possible courses of action could be, and i would like if you could make me decide.

    Situation number 1: i get all posible literature on my interest topic and figure out what could be good research proposal. This would take too much time and i could end up that with somethin that is over my head or something that is of no particular interest for anyone exept me.

    Situation number 2: I contact potential PhD supervisor that work in field i would like to do PhD in and explain to him mine problem and ask him if he could give me some guidence on recomend me some research topic.

    Situation number 3: I just continue research i did for my MSc but at different university. This is a situation that i would not like to do, but if i must i will.

    I would like for you to say to me what would be my best course of action, i personali think it is situation number 2, but i dont want to make a fool of my self and ruin any potential chance to work with my future potential supervisor. Also, i know that for field of general relativity there is a site called Hyperspace where all posible predefined research topics are posted, if there is a similar site for string theory i would really like to know about it.

    Im sorry for any granatical mistakes, this is my first post ever and im posting from a phone. If you need me to expand on anything that i had wrote just ask and i will do it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2017 #2
    My advice would be indeed to follow route 2: contact potential PhD supervisors. In many European countries, a lot of funding for PhD projects is arranged beforehand. The funding is tied to a specific topic, although there is usually room for your own ideas. When the funding has been arranged, the vacancy will be announced and job interviews will start. So my advice is to contact the relevant university professors and ask if there is the possibility of doing a PhD research in their group, or if they know of a vacancy in another group. Attach your CV and your list of grades (I assume they are high), so they don't have to ask for it. Mention your supervisor, especially if he is well known in the field. Ask him if he is willing to recommend you (You usually need 2 recommendations).
    I know from some professors that they sometimes get several of such emails a day, so make sure your email is professional and to the point. Don't talk elaborately about all your ideas, just say enough about your interests to show that you have given it serious thought.
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