This post is written in both Chinese and English.
- 早做计划。这是一条普适的建议，针对博士申请仍然管用。在你准备寻找未来的博士导师之前，请先抽出时间思考这几个问题：你的学习兴趣是什么，你对未来职业有什么规划，你对未来几年的人生规划是什么样的，你是否准备好在接下俩的 3-4 年钻研一个特定的学科方向。心中有了答案之后，你就可以迈出下一步了。
First of all, I wish whoever reading this post a happy new year! Sorry for keeping silent so long, I was a bit lazy during the holiday.
Now back to business. Today I’m gonna to talk about PhD application. Quite a few have found me for help, and here are my pieces of advice.
- Plan early. This is a universal advice for everything, applying for PhD is no exception. Before looking for your future supervisor, please take some time to think through these questions: what’s your interest, what do you want as your future career, what’s your plan for the next few years, are you ready to dive into an area really deep for 3-4 years. After obtaining your own answer, now it’s time for the next step.
- Looking for your prospective university and entry requirements. Now you should have known which topic/area you would like to research on for PhD. Normally a university would be advanced in several areas. For instance, Surrey is in the leading position in multiple engineering areas, hospitality, tourism, veterinary, etc. Try to find the leading ones in your own area, take different university ranking tables as references if necessary. Don’t forget to check the entry requirements as well. They may vary.
- Choose a topic (or project) and a supervisor. Now you shall access to the target university’s website and look for the lecturers and professors that offer suitable topics (and look nice) to you. If you can’t find any topic that interests you, which is quite rare, just contact the relevant admin team and they will help you.
- Contact the prospective supervisors. Yes I use the plural form of “supervisor” here, because it is possible that you are interested in several supervisors and cannot decide which one is the best. Don’t worry, send them an email with a brief introduction about yourself, CV and research proposal. It would be better if you can read some of the prospective supervisors’ research outcomes (e.g. academic papers), so you can have a bit more to write in the emails.
- Keep communicating. If the supervisors are interested in you as well, they will reply your email and may ask for an interview. Be patient for responses, since they are usually quite busy and may not reply you until a few days later. You can talk about your research idea during the interviews, the more detailed the better. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, if you know everything you would not apply for PhD, would you?
- Submit application. Hopefully you have a pleasant talk with your supervisor. If you have found the one you like and he/she agree to supervise you in the following 3-4 years, then there should be no more difficulties in your PhD application. Just follow the instructions on the university website.
- Get prepared for PhD study. After submitting all the required documents, you may have several weeks before receiving your offer. It would be better for you to use this period to do some literature study, but it is absolutely fine if you don’t want to. After receiving your offer, please pay attention to the tuition fees and registration date.
- Congratulations, you are a PhD student now!
Hope this post can help you get a better idea about how to apply for PhD. If there is anything I haven’t covered, please leave me a comment. In case you are wondering what a PhD student’s life is like at Surrey, please click here for more info!