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Programs PhD interview at cambridge

  1. Feb 2, 2006 #1

    I applied for a phd and have an interview next week on the 10th. To say I'm nervous would be a huge understatement as the last time I had an interview there for undergrad admissions it didn't go so well.

    My research interests are solid state quantum computing so I'll be interview by the semiconductor physics dept and also the microelectronics dept. I also have an interview with the graduate admissions board who decide who gets funding. I sort of know what to expect but was wondering if anyone had any advice. The interview with the admissions board will probably be the most difficult as I have no idea what they will ask.

    Any comments?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2006 #2
    I was in a similar position a few months ago. I also do a PhD on quantumcomputing in solid state physics. My suggestion is that you really must convice the jury why they should hire you as a PhD student. Make sure you have vision and show off your knowledge. Convince them that you are a great manager and that you are able to work on your own. Just show them that you take innitiative by, for example, illustrating them the latest difficulties in the field and how you wanna contribute to them. What problems do you wanna solve and why ? What is the relevance of your work ?

    Really, emphasize on the "vision" and "management" aspects. I did the same and was successful in it.

    Good Luck

  4. Feb 2, 2006 #3
    thanks, that's good advice
  5. Mar 7, 2010 #4
    I too have an interview at Cambridge for a PhD on 12 March.
    I had applied for the 4 year Doctoral Training programme at the Nanoscience centre but got a rejection. Consequently, my application was forwarded to individual departments at Cavendish and i now hold an invitation for an interview by the Semiconductors and the Microelectronics group. I am scared(as everyone else who need to sit the interview).
    Any advice on how to go about it would be appreciated. I am currently pursuing a masters in physics.
    I went through the astrophysics deptt website and it said that u dont need to prepare for PhD interviews, for its just a lab visit and an informal discussion about the current projects available. The current PhD students and post docs show you around.
    Would it then not be the same for semiconductors and microelectronics group??
    Do tell me how your interview goes on 10!!!

    Many thanks,
  6. Mar 7, 2010 #5
    Just noticed. did your interview take place long back?? :-p
  7. Mar 7, 2010 #6

    Yeah my interview was a few years ago, in fact I'm finishing my thesis off right now. I'm apart of the Semiconductor physics. I wouldn't worry about the interview at all, they're more interested in getting to know the student's interests. You'll be given a tour of each group and meet with the various faculty staff who will describe to you the kind of work they do. They will ask you what your research interests are so if you're interested in say quantum cascade lasers then do let them know. They will ask you about your masters project so make sure you can give a clear concise overview of that. I don't think they will ask you any technical questions but if they do and they see your struggling they will guide you to the answer.

    If you express interest in the work they do (even if you have no clue what they're talking about) you'll do just fine. Also for the semiconductor physics group you may also have an informal interview at Toshiba (that's where I work most of the time). They have a close collaboration with the semiconductor physics group, and is a very good place to do your PhD.

    Lunch will also be provided.
  8. Mar 7, 2010 #7
    Hi Baggio,

    Many thanks for your reply.
    I am much relieved now.
    Just a quick question: How many members would the panel comprise of?
    Also being an overseas student, I had applied for the graduate school funding but i havent heard from them. Would I have to again sit the interview to receive the funding, or is it that if I get a place for a PhD in the group, I am granted funding automatically?
    Looking forward to meeting you on 12!

    Many thanks,
  9. Mar 7, 2010 #8

    There are really only two people that decide whether you're given an offer, the head of the group and the supervisor. Once they decide they would like to make you an offer they make the suggestion to the Board of Graduate studies. If the supervisor wants to make you an offer the BoGS almost certainly will make you a formal offer whether it be conditional or unconditional. Bottom line, if you impress your potential supervisor you stand a very good chance.

    As for funding I don't really have that much experience as I'm a British citizen, our funding is quite straight forward. However even if you're granted a place in the group that doesn't necessarily mean your funding is covered. You'll have to chase that up your self, or ask the group head/supervisor who'll be able to point you in the right direction.

    Good Luck!
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