Are you a student looking to take your studies to the next level and start a PhD? If so, the key to finding a suitable PhD is being pro-active in advance and networking. Here are a few tips from someone who has been there and done that!
Speak to other PhD students
It is important to establish what you are letting yourself in for. A PhD is tough, and supervisors will expect 100% prod can be hard work. Some are nice, and others are not so nice, you need to be resilient and prepared. If you are interested in a particular group, talk to other members of that group. Ask questions and be sure to establish how well the group works together.
Lecturers and course leaders
Speak to course leaders or lecturers of the modules that you are interested in. Ask about their current group research projects; areas of interest and whether any opportunities are coming up. There may be grant applications in progress, if the grant is awarded get your foot in the door and note your interest.
Reach out to other Universities
When you are networking, ask about other research group leaders from other universities that may be of interest. Make contact with them, if you are not sure about contact details you can usually find email addresses on university portals. Email and ask whether it would be possible to meet with them and discuss their research and any future opportunities. Before you go, read some of their papers and make sure you are familiar with their field of research.
Leave your details
Leave your email and contact details with whomever you speak. When I was still undertaking my Master’s degree, I contacted the Professional Investigator at a hospital; they collaborated with the University of Bristol. I expressed an interest in their research, and they agreed to meet with me. Some six months later, I received an email asking why I had not yet applied for their current vacancy for a PhD student. As it was, I had already accepted a PhD position, but it goes to show, networking does work!
Universities will advertise positions themselves, but I also found findaphd.com very useful. In the meantime, please visit Tracey Evans Writing Services should you require help with your PhD covering letter or CV.
I wish you every success!
Dr Tracey Evans