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PhD Scholarship funding interview - 5 months pregnant

(6 Posts)
mmmminx Fri 26-Feb-16 11:29:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notagiraffe Fri 26-Feb-16 17:57:46

Is this your first child? If so, don't underestimate the effect of 24/7 demands, no sleep, hormones etc.

I know someone who had a 1 yr old when she started her PhD and gave birth to another child during the 3 years. She had full funding and completed on time. I think she is a superwoman. Couldn't have done it myself.

In terms of how you approach it, I think it would be prudent to outline childcare plans, making it clear you have some in place. The advantage will be that your child will be turning three as you approach your final year, so can start nursery when the pressure is really heavy.

Bear in mind anyone given full funding is supposed to treat it like a full time job and put in a 40 hour week. You need to prove you are fully aware of all this entails. They're unlikely to fully fund more than one candidate a year, so shine.

disquit2 Sat 27-Feb-16 16:50:55

Bear in mind anyone given full funding is supposed to treat it like a full time job and put in a 40 hour week. You need to prove you are fully aware of all this entails.

Indeed. Nobody would ask you directly about childcare plans (as this would be discriminatory) but they would have to be convinced that you have plans in place and know how hard it would be.

Very few people return to full time work when a baby is 3 months old as yours will be. Many universities aren't really set up for mothers of 3 month old babies coming back to work e.g. there may not be lactation facilities for breastfeeding mothers to express. If you end up with a c-section or complications you may not even feel like working 3 months after the birth.

Being completely honest, I would be quite reluctant to offer a funded full-time studentship to somebody in your position. It's pretty common for mothers to change their plans after the birth: not return to work at all or want to work part-time or want to delay coming back to work. But most studentships simply don't have this inbuilt flexibility i.e. it's often not possible to postpone the studentship or switch it to part-time. For some projects it might not even be possible to do them part-time, as the research has to be completed by a particular deadline.

While it would be illegal to reject somebody just for being pregnant, it is clearly not illegal to offer to a similarly qualified applicant instead. (If the pregnant applicant was far better qualified I would however look into ways of making the studentship more flexible, checking whether it could be postponed if needed, look into the possibility of the applicant deferring until the next year etc etc.)

Foginthehills Sat 27-Feb-16 21:11:11

It's tough, but universities are under intense pressure (from government and funding councils) to ensure that a PhD candidate is able to complete in 3 years.

So I think it's actually really important that you are clear about arrangements - child care, maternity leave and so on. We can't ask you directly, but it would show you are realistic and professional to explain how you will manage with a new born. Tbe first 6 months of a PhD are very tough, as are tbe first 6 months of a baby.

A PhD is usually at least, if not more than 40 hours a week. You're really not going to be able to do it if you also are tbe main carer if a new born.

Frankly, you might be better to leave it a year, so you know how you will cope. As others have said, you have no idea how you'll feel in October, with a 3 month old.

But there will be differences depending on disciplne and field.

mmmminx Sun 28-Feb-16 13:29:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Foginthehills Sun 28-Feb-16 16:08:11

Check the university nursery asap - they're usually oversubscribed fir staff, let alone students. Font assume a place for a very young baby will be automatically available.

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