PhD Funding/Application Advice

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  • #1
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I have a first class honours degree in maths and physics and have just completed a masters degree in theoretical physics. At the beginning of my masters I was fairly sure I didn't want to do a PhD and so didn't bother applying. However, as the year went on, I have decided that I really am keen to pursue a PhD. As far as I'm aware, the main problem now would be funding. Am I too late to get funding to start before October 2012? I was looking at the ERPSC funds and they seem to suggest that I am. But I have heard of people starting PhDs in January. How do they get funding?

Thanks for your help.
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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But I have heard of people starting PhDs in January.

I have never heard of such a thing. Maybe it's a non-US thing.

I'd suggest you talk to them and find out how they did it.
 
  • #3
cristo
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I have a first class honours degree in maths and physics and have just completed a masters degree in theoretical physics. At the beginning of my masters I was fairly sure I didn't want to do a PhD and so didn't bother applying. However, as the year went on, I have decided that I really am keen to pursue a PhD. As far as I'm aware, the main problem now would be funding. Am I too late to get funding to start before October 2012? I was looking at the ERPSC funds and they seem to suggest that I am. But I have heard of people starting PhDs in January. How do they get funding?

Thanks for your help.

It's certainly possible to start your PhD outside of the usual window, but it's more an exception than the norm. Their funding is likely some extra left over money, or a grant that came through at a weird time from a non-research council source, or the funding of someone who quit after a few months.

Depending on your field, there might still be some funding available in some departments, but I imagine most studentships for this October have been filled (at least in the UK: there might be some other European countries whose deadlines are later).
 
  • #4
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Also, could someone either put a sticky topic here or have a FAQ to some other source (like wikipedia) where someone explains how Ph.D.'s work in Europe (particularly UK). It seems to be a very different system than US, and I'd like to understand it more.
 
  • #5
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Everyone starts at the same time in America because they make you go through courses to begin with I think. However, over here they just through you straight into research and assume/hope you already know everything you need to I think.
 
  • #6
cristo
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Everyone starts at the same time in America because they make you go through courses to begin with I think. However, over here they just through you straight into research and assume/hope you already know everything you need to I think.

That's not true either. While you may have a good grounding in physics, you will not know everything you need to know in order to get your phd. What is assumed is that you are mature enough to read around and find something out when you don't know!
 
  • #7
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It is certainly still possible to start earlier than Oct 2012; indeed, in my department there is at least one spot for this October left. As cristo has said, there are many reasons why supervisors might find themselves with odd pockets of funding, but in any case these are likely at this stage to be in academics' hands rather than available via a central body. So get networking. Ask around to find prospective supervisors in your field and with a little detective work you may well turn up a place. And your initiative in seeking one out will look impressive, too (provided you approach people with whom you have a genuine overlap of interests rather than spamming whole departments) which may help in persuading them to give the spare cash to /you/. Good luck!

Incidentally, cristo's advice about expectations of UK PhD students is also spot-on IMHO.
 

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