How To Get Your PhD Application Right

By Subodh / December 3, 2013

If you’ve got as far as considering applying for a PhD, then you will probably have a good idea of how you are positioned academically. In other words, you will be intimately aware of your interests and have a good idea of where to apply them. In this brief article we will provide some general tips on how to make the PhD application process easy and manageable.

Create your own PhD topic

Working under someone else’s topic is potentially the easier route, if you consider boredom not to be an issue. As inspiring as it might be to have someone guide your studies, by the time you get to the stage of a PhD, you will more than likely have many things to want to research. The best thing to do is to have confidence in your ideas and try to work under your own research question where possible.

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If after a good amount of consideration, and after speaking with supervisors, you find that your topic is not strong enough, you will have two options: to go back to the drawing board in order to find something slightly more pertinent and innovative or to temper your ambition slightly and start to ask about to see how best to fit your question within somebody else’s research parameters. If you are struggling with the choice of your topic, there are a variety of essay writing service websites on the internet which can offer useful tips and suggestions free of charge.

Choose the right university

In the process of enquiring whether or not you have an interesting enough ideas to pursue as a PhD, you will probably also start to get a good idea about where you might best be able to work towards it. There are many things to consider, but one thing to be sure of is to take research rankings more seriously than university rankings. You are at the stage research excellence takes precedence over teaching.

Alternatively, you could always decide that a nascent and as yet unrecognized field is for you. In that case, you should research the subject matter well.

Don’t be afraid to approach your favourite author

Professors and authors of seminal texts are not an unapproachable as you might think. There might be someone that you listened to during a conference, or have read many of their books. The best scenario is to utilise the opportunity during the conference to introduce yourself in person.

If not, try to find them through social media or contact them with email. Especially if you have a good question to ask. You never know, a question could lead to a conversation, and could eventually lead to you studying under the teacher’s guidance.

Present and publish

You should, where possible, publish and disseminate your work wherever possible, especially once you get to post-graduate level. The power of the internet means that you can reach people that you couldn’t reach before. Academic careers are like any other and require you to connect with like-minded people. You should consider the potential community that your ideas can reach. It is more than likely, for instance, that it is smaller than a strand of ideas that has popular appeal.

In needing to find the little pockets of those that might like your ideas, presenting and publishing is very important, not least because it could lead to finding an affinity with a particular institution, or group of other researchers. And in this way, social media, the Twitter and Linked In are excellent tools.