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!

Admissions From British Undergrad to PhD abroad

  1. Jul 4, 2016 #1

    Larry Gopnik

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hello all,

    I presume that this is the best place to ask.

    I'm currently doing my undergraduate degree in Physics. I'm in the UK and taking an MPhys(Hons) which is a four year course of an integrated Bachelors and Masters instead of the conventional Bsc of 3 years (I understand that they are 4 years abroad). They're normal here and accepted for PhDs here. However - I want to do my PhD abroad. All the universities (mainland Europe) I have looked at don't mention MPhys (I understand why - they don't even do them). Has someone else been through this problem?

    I've sent a few emails out and they're relatively unhelpful, I've even been forwarded to some countries government as the university has no idea what to do in this scenario.

    What's the best way of doing this - do I just give in and do a separate Masters? Do I send grovelling emails asking them to take me on?

    I don't know...

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2016 #2
    Wow Larry, I missed you. Where have you been?

    As for your question, in mainland Europe, it is most important to find an advisor. If an advisor is willing to take you on, then they can walk you through the rest of the process and it won't be a problem. It doesn't surprise me that the administrators don't know what to do. They likely don't care either. You need to find an advisor first and they will smoothen the rest of the process. I don't think it will be much of a problem though.

    Notice that this is very different from the american system, with which I guess most of the subsequent posters will be familiar. There you get into grad school first and choose an advisor later. Very different system than in mainland Europe.
  4. Jul 4, 2016 #3

    Larry Gopnik

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Nice to see you, missed you too! Yes - I'm back. Now half way through my degree and on placement in a laboratory - time flies! Now that the UK is leaving the EU I want to flee to the mainland.

    I see. This information helps a lot - yes, I assumed you applied to the school and THEN got your adviser. (I think the European way that you've described is more sensible)

    Do you have any advise on how one would approach a potential advisor? Would you say that they'd be forthcoming to potential students with a slightly different degree such as myself?

    Eternal thanks
  5. Jul 4, 2016 #4
    Disclosure: I'm from Belgium and I only describe what happens in Belgium. I do believe a lot of mainland Europe is similar.

    So, the most important issue is funding of course. And there are several ways to get funding. One way to get funding is to ask it from the government. Since you are a foreign national, that might be hard. Another way is to get employed by the university as an assistent. Again, the advisor will need to tell you about this. Another way is that an advisor might have a special project where they can employ people. Again, this is something the advisor should tell you.

    I don't think the specifics of the degree matter a lot to the advisors. If you have the knowledge and some kind of degree, that'll be just fine. A problem though might be how to meet advisors. I met my advisor because I took classes with that person and I asked about PhD possibilities. I actually checked a lot of PhD possibilities, but a lot had problems with funding. The one I took was one of the very few that were available.

    So how would you meet an advisor? I think it is important to make a lot of contacts with people, even English people, who can refer you to somebody else. This seems to be the best route. Maybe think about going on Erasmus to another country to meet other professors. The more people you know, the more who can help you. And a lot of people will love to help you.

    Another way is to check job listings at universities. A job listing for a PhD student is often listed here, and it is something you can react to. I'm sure there are a lot of websites listing academic jobs. Subscribe to some of them.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted