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Applying for a PHD - very confused

(11 Posts)
OvaryAction Sat 12-Oct-13 13:00:31

I am finding it really confusing applying for post grads. I have a vague idea of two topics I would like to do and I know what university I want to go to. I'm just worried about writing the wrong thing or cocking up in some way. Also concerned that I haven't got time to trawl through loads of previous research to come up with a watertight proposal as I'm finishing up my degree and working and a single parent.

Would anyone mind talking me through the process of applying for and getting accepted for a PHD? I feel like I have no clue what I'm doing and my university is very small and don't really seem to have any support for applying to post grads.

TIA flowers

Rosencrantz Sat 12-Oct-13 16:44:44

What's your educational background?

What degree do you have already? Do you have a masters? Have you been research trained? Have you looked into funding?

OvaryAction Sat 12-Oct-13 19:07:54

I'm in my third year of a social science degree, I'm on track to get a 1st. The course encompasses research training so I was thinking I'd be ok skipping a masters and going straight to PHD.

There are various scholarships etc and there's a chance I might get a job at the place I currently volunteer so hopefully I'd manage financially.

Rosencrantz Sun 13-Oct-13 14:49:20

As a social scientist myself, skipping the masters isn't the done thing. Not unless you get a specific invitation from an academic, rather than applying. Any decent university will not let you do a social sciences phd without the masters.

I recommend speaking to the postgraduate coordinator at your university - who will have a much better idea if this is even possible than strangers on the internet who are not members of your university.

Rosencrantz Sun 13-Oct-13 14:51:46

Ahh... Is this sociology or social work? Seem to remember those disciplines follow different rules.

OvaryAction Sun 13-Oct-13 16:59:16

sociology. The university is v small and there isn't a postgrad coordinator or anything like that really

The courses I was looking at say you can do it with a degree, obviously doing this would save me time and money, I just wondered if this is sensible or not?

Rosencrantz Sun 13-Oct-13 19:02:07

If there are postgraduates at your university - there will be someone looking after them. Go and ask. They might have a different title - or be responsible for all students - but someone WILL be looking after the postgrads. Postgrads don't just go it alone - someone sends them emails, deals with their queries and guides them in the right direction!

As a political scientist, we need masters degrees. I've got mine. I couldn't do a PhD without. I simply wouldn't understand my research area with enough a postgraduate focus. The standard route is the standard route for good reason.

However, if your course says you can go straight there, you probably can. It might be a bigger jump than undergrad-masters-phd, but not impossible.
The website should indicate which tutor/staff is responsible for PhD applications. Talk to them.

It might be worth approaching the ERSC too. They often don't consider funding PhDs for students without masters degrees.

OvaryAction Sun 13-Oct-13 19:57:14

There aren't any post grad courses at my uni. I'm planning on going to a different one, I'll see if I can find out who's in charge of the course and try and speak to them.

thanks for your advice smile

LEMisdisappointed Sun 13-Oct-13 20:00:24

I would have a look at the university website and identify a potential supervisor. Go and see them and possibly write the proposal between you. ARe you applying directly to the university, who will you get your funding from?

LEMisdisappointed Sun 13-Oct-13 20:03:02

I did my PhD straight from my degree, you needed a 2:1 or a masters in the relevant subject area. I applied specifically for the project though, they were having a recruitment drive, as it were - it might be worth looking in industry relevant publications. Mine was in biochemistry, and lab based. Thats how it tends to work in the sciences, i understand its different in other subject areas. Good luck - its such a brilliant thing to do, best years of my life without question x

OvaryAction Sun 13-Oct-13 20:14:32

I don't know about funding, I have a silly dream that I'll be the one person to get the fully funded phd grant scholarship thing but it's not v realistic to pin my hopes on that. But I don't actually know how people do fund them and if I could.

That's a great idea about seeking out a potential supervisor, I didn't realise that was an option, thanks

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