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Tell me about planning for PhDs timescale etc
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Theas18 · 26/09/2014 13:36

Dd is v good at her subject- prize winning etc and doing a fees funded MA. She has already had an article published in a scholarly journal.

I tell you that not as a boast ( though I'm v proud!) but to fill you in.

She sees her career path in academia. This seems realistic actually.

But.... She's a true blonde airhead if it not academically exciting stuff lol. I think this year in non student rented accom with teach her a lot ...and she's also applying for jobs.

I am not at all taking over and arranging stuff for her, but I can see if she doesn't get a wriggle on she's miss the boat applying fir PhDs starting oct 2015 after her MA ends. So a few questions...

So PhDs follow academic year timetables? Or do you start when ever it's sorted? Does funding application run with the academic side or is it separate?
Is she likely to end up taking a gap year and applying when she has completed her MA ? Is this better both for her settling an area or study and going in with a proven track record?
Anything we might neither of us think about in this situation ?

Thanks for your help. We have no family experience to call on!

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DragonfliesDrawFlame · 26/09/2014 14:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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crazymum53 · 26/09/2014 14:33

It may be a bit different for MA compared to Science degrees but it is possible to start a PhD after a MSc. You would probably apply at the same time as undergrads, but you can defer until you have completed writing up your Masters thesis. A post-grad could start any time during the academic year, depending on the funding but in practice most would start in October.
As a starting point, I would recommend her to tell her supervisor (or head of department) that she is interested in doing a PhD in the first instance and see what they suggest. A lot of PhD students are recruited by personal recommendation.
HTH

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CaffeineDeficit · 26/09/2014 14:49

Our uni (large, RG) has four start dates for PhD students and runs its induction courses several times during the year. That said, October start dates are the most common. However, there are some funders (I certainly know of one research council) who won't release funding for a PhD studentship until the Master's level award is confirmed. For example, I've had Master's students who handed their dissertation in on time in September, but because of the time it takes for the MSc results to be ratified by the university bureaucracy, weren't able start their PhD studies until January.

Your DD needs to figure out who the likely funders are in her field (if any - as Dragonflies says, funding for arts/humanities PhDs is a lot rarer than funding for science ones) and what their expectations are in this respect.
If she were thinking about wanting to start in October 2015, I'd say she should be thinking very seriously about her applications by February 2015, as a lot of scholarship deadlines are in Spring.

She should definitely talk to the academics teaching her course about her ambitions, and also join any relevant email lists or groups in her area. Following relevant academics and learned societies on Twitter is another way to keep your ear to the ground for PhD places being advertised. Finally, in addition to jobs.ac.uk, she might want to look at findaphd.com. Its advertising rates are cheaper, so more PhD places get advertised there than jobs.ac.uk. The flipside is that more PhDs with minimal funding get advertised there.

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DragonfliesDrawFlame · 26/09/2014 14:50

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Theas18 · 26/09/2014 20:42

Hi it's ancient history with a particular lean towards the role of women.
She's alwady let her supervisor know she's intersted in progressing. Interesting what you say about what if you can't get a job. I totally agree. She's a very " eggs in one basket " view. Unfortunately she can't see herself doing anything else.
Since she chose ancient over modern history it just lights Her up like nothing else.
You know how thru say " only do medicine if you can't not do it"? Well she's like that with her subject !
Wears very aware however , that the point at which she can't get at least fee funding is the point where she should give up

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DragonfliesDrawFlame · 26/09/2014 21:34

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Parietal · 26/09/2014 21:41

just to add - the most important thing in finding a PhD is getting the right supervisor. Someone who is expert in the right field AND is a nice supportive person who doesn't neglect their students. It is not always easy to find the right option, and it is worth searching widely. Talk to other people who have worked with supervisors to find out who is good. And try to find a supervisor who is part of a strong network of other academics and will help the student get into that network, rather than a loner.

second most important thing is getting funding - don't start without it. a self-funded PhD is 10x harder than a funded one. part-time with a part-time job is a feasible option if you have to be self-funded. but full-time self funded just doesn't work unless someone else is paying the bills.

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DragonfliesDrawFlame · 27/09/2014 09:13

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Booboostoo · 27/09/2014 09:53

I'd also stress the importance of a good supervisor, not just someone who is well known in their field but also someone she likes on a personal level and who is likely to give her the time and attention she will need.

As for an academic career she needs to approach this strategically now. She needs to identify what is needed for an academic career (usually strong research, e.g. papers in top peer reviewed journals and monographs, that contribute to REF) and plan to meet these targets through out her PhD so that she is ready for the job market in 3-4 years' time. It's also a good idea to keep informed about all research grant giving bodies and initiatives as an initial post as a research fellow post PhD is a much better step up the ladder to a permanent post than a teaching fellowship.

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UptheChimney · 27/09/2014 15:57

Oh dear, there's a lot I could say here. Most of what's been said to you already is really sound, although there are substantial changes in the way humanities PhDs are funded that no-one's really spelled out here.

But ... frankly, either you are overinvolved, or your daughter is really not ready for PhD study. I think if my mother had had to ask for advice on my behalf, I'd have been furious, and also, it would have been a sign that I wasn't ready or committed to further Doctoral study.

I know that sounds harsh (but that's what you can expect from me Grin ), but just as we've been advising in another thread that a Masters isn't just an extension of an UG degree, a PhD is something different again.

I'd advise that she takes at least a year out after her Masters.

And during that year, she should reflect on what really drives her, and what she wants to research & write about for 4 long difficult grinding lonely years (to put it at its worst).

And she needs to find out about funding. Some pointers:

  • funding is scarce: government funding for PhDs in the arts & humanities has been cut by around 50% over the last decade.

  • best to go to a different university than her UG and PG taught courses

  • look for both university studentships, and a Arts & Humanities Research Council studentship.

    The AHRC funding for PhDs is now very very different from anything that's been before. She needs to find out how it works now and start preparing her application. Generally applications for October 2015 start are due in January* 2015, and she'll need to have been in conversation with several likely host Departments before that. (February, as suggested above, is now too late).

    For either kind of funding, she'll need a cogent and extremely well-thought through & written research proposal, of around 1000-15000 words. She'll need to know what research questions she'll pursue, by what research methods*. And how her research will make an original contribution to knowledge -- so, she'll need to know the shape of the existing field of knowledge, and how her work will contribute.

  • She'll need to know "person, place, project": why she (person) wants to do this research (project) in a particular department, or several departments (place), which means she'll need to know who's doing what, and where.

  • That's why I advise a gap year.

    And she should be doing this, not you. If this is all news to her, she's really not ready, nor suitable now. She needs a bit more time to mature.

    Detach, detach, detach. She's theoretically an adult.

    And frankly, if she's not, she's not suitable for Doctoral study. Doctoral research is too hard, and we need the best. And we need people who are not just driven by their subject, but who will be excellent teachers, good colleagues who will be team-players when necessary, and able to act sensibly and normally doing all the admin stuff we have to do. PhD study helps train you in all of that, but your description of your daughter suggests she has quite a bit of maturing to go before she'll be ready to be trained for that.

    So let her do her Masters, and then spend at least a year letting it all cook in her mind. If she's as driven & brilliant as you say, that will only make her PhD application better, and she'll be a far better Doctoral candidate.
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PiratePanda · 28/09/2014 19:02

And you are asking all this for her....why exactly? Plenty of women are mothers twice or three times over by your DDs age and have been living independently for years.

All I can do is reiterate what Chimney says: either you're too involved or she's not ready.

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Theas18 · 16/10/2014 11:26

Just an update. Met up with her last night. She's set her MA dissertation area and has investigated and found possible funding options if she says put ( to persue that same area in more depth and would have her supervisors backing).
I have suggested a gap year and maybe earning some money too!
Thanks all

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