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Programs Just wondering (concerning PHD Studentships).

  1. Feb 25, 2009 #1


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    I'm hoping for a UK perspective on this; though perhaps there is little difference between that and a US one.

    The details of and difference between Studentship PHDs and Non-Studentship PHDs are vague in my mind - so, i'll offer my current understanding for you to annihilate.


    You self-fund (or find funding from elsewhere) research in a subject of your chosing (provided your University has a research interest in a closely-related field?).

    You are expected to (always do?) teach a few classes each semester, and are paid a little for that.

    You may allow yourself up to 7 years to complete the PHD (paying an annual fee for each of those).


    You (generally) have little choice of research area - rather the University faculty specify a research interest, advertise for research staff (i.e. you) in that field, and if you share that interest you might apply.

    Generally a set time-scale of 3 or 4 years.

    Do NOT lecture undergrads at the University (strictly?).

    And - to generalise - those who attain a non-studentship PHD are those who either; can not find a suitable studentship/are not accepted to any, or; those who desire to research a very particular area and can find funding with relative ease.

    A few direct questions:

    How many applicants is a University likely to have for any given studentship?

    I have very little data, but i must presume there to be many more PHDs attained than Studentships available - therefore the majority of PHDs are attained as non-studentships?

    Are Studentships held in lower regard by Institutes/business? (I'm trying to find downsides of Studentships, relative to non-studentships, other than possible restrictions on research topic).

    That'll be all for now - thanks in advance to anyone willing to share wisdom
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2009 #2


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    On this topic, there is quite a big difference between the US and the UK.

    Students can't, in general, give lectures in the UK. As a PhD student, regardless of whether on a studentship or not, you can run tutorials and undertake marking (i.e. be a TA, to coin an American phrase), for which you get paid an hourly wage.

    I don't know of a time limit, but I would advise one to finish a PhD well within 7 years!

    I don't know that this is true. At least in my field, the department advertises for PhD students to work in the general area of expertise of the department, and a successful student will obtain a studentship (if the department has any to give, and the student is sufficiently qualified). If you're looking to work on something that doesn't match the research interests of the department, then you have to ask why you're applying there!

    You get a stipend and your fees are paid for 3 or 4 years. After this time, you will have to start paying fees and will not receive a stipend, so it's advantageous to finish before this time.

    See above.

    Depends hugely on the field. I think there were ~12 applicants for my position.

    I don't think this is true. In my department, I'd estimate around 80% of students were on a studentship of some kind.
    No. If anything, winning a competitive studentship should be held in a higher regard.

    To sum up, the only real difference between someone on a studentship and someone who is not is that the former gets his\her fees paid for by the studentship and receives a monthly stipend. There is no academic difference.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  4. Feb 25, 2009 #3


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    That does make sense.

    Thanks cristo, cleared some stuff up.
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