Things to Consider before Applying for a Ph.D. Place

Now you have decided to spend a few more years on a subject you are passionate about. This is not a light decision to take, as it is going to involve substantial amounts of time, dedication, and money. Depending on where you study and the structure of your program, it is likely that you are going to spend the next three to seven years for the degree. While it is affordable for some students to change their studies once enrolled, for some, it is a tough problem. At least, they should pass the exams again. As everybody knows this process is stressful for most applicants. In this case, getting help writing a paper is the best option. It can help get rid of annoying tasks and succeed in any study or course.

It is therefore sensible to think carefully before you apply. What do you have to consider before applying for a doctoral place?

Where to Study

Would you like to study abroad or in a local institution? No doubt studying abroad would enrich your life and broaden your horizons. This might also give an extra advantage to your CV, as most employers like to see candidates with diverse and international experience. However, if the subject you are going to study focuses more on local issues – for example, you might want to research your local government policies and local educational issues – it may be more worthwhile to study in a local institution, as research resources would usually come in handier.

Some other issues that could affect your decision on where to study include:

Long-Term Career Plan

If you plan to pursue an academic career, you might wish to consider the job opportunities offered locally and overseas. Questions you might want to ask yourself include: is what I am going to study a hot issue or sought-after knowledge in my local country? Or would I be better off in a foreign place? Some subjects, such as medicine or scientific research, might lead to promising job prospects both locally and abroad, but the range of research support available can be vastly different. Some countries are more willing and generous to invest in research than others, and this is something you need to take into consideration.

Length of Study

The Ph.D. programs in some countries, such as the US and Canada, are usually longer, as students are required to take courses for a few years before embarking on independent research. In other countries, such as the UK, Ph.D. students do not have to follow a structured course program and can start research straight away. Those programs are relatively shorter. If the amount of time you have to spend on the study is a concern, you have to think carefully about where you should go.

Which Institution/School

Whether you plan to study locally or overseas, there are several good institutions you would be able to choose from. You shouldn’t apply to all schools that you are interested in – you have to be selective and target the ones that are most suitable for you. One key thing you need to do is to do your research on the schools as in-depth as possible.

The followings are some areas you can look into:

Research Interests of Staff Members

Look at the department’s and the staff’s profiles on the website and see if you can find academic staff whose research interests and knowledge fields are similar to yours, as they might be your potential advisers. Once you have identified those academics, approach them and send in your research proposal to see if that sparks some interest in them. Usually, you will get a response if they are interested in your proposal. Make a list of the schools whose academics have responded, as you generally have a higher chance of being accepted by those schools.

Ranking and Reputation of the School/Department

What is the reputation of the school in the field you are going to study? How is it going to affect your study and your career prospects? These are questions you should think about.

Funding Issues

Needless to say, financial aid can be an important issue for Ph.D. candidates. If you are unable to fund yourself fully for the entire course, you must look at the funding opportunities offered. Different institutions operate different funding programs for their Ph.D. students. Do they offer fellowships, research assistantships, full scholarships, or loans? What are the criteria for getting these grants? Do you have to work for them in return for the funding? Is funding guaranteed or competitive?

Before applying, ensure you think about all the above areas so that you can minimize the amount of time and preparation involved. Hopefully, you would be able to get an acceptance from a school that is most suitable for you.