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Applying For and Completing a PhD as an International Student

A Ph.D. is an increasingly popular degree for students around the world. This is not only because of the fact that a Ph.D. widens the employment horizon, but is also due to the prestige and honour that is usually associated with such a degree. The UK is one of the preferred destinations among international students looking to pursue their Ph.D. because of its multi-cultural background as well as its high standards of education. There are many universities across the UK that offer Ph.D. programmes. The process of applying for such a programme involves multiple steps which will be discussed in this article.

Step One

The first step in applying for a Ph.D. is to understand your own needs. The student must be clear as to the subject which will be chosen and also have a fair idea about the approach he or she is likely to follow. Thereafter, it is important to create a shortlist of universities which are offering Ph.D. programmes. Since the UK has a large number of universities and most of them have an online presence, it is advisable to look at their websites online and shortlist 5 or 6 most suitable ones. Some universities also require the students to identify and interact with a Ph.D. supervisor. Choosing the right supervisor is also important since this will be the person who will guide you in the entire study. Another requirement of some universities is that you need to submit a proposal beforehand. Such a proposal is nothing but a summary of your research topic as well as the proposed methodology that you plan to adopt in your thesis. Choosing the university can also be done on the basis of the type of Ph.D. you wish to pursue. The most common Ph.D. is the full-time research-based degree. However, there are other options such as studentship. This is nothing but a type of Ph.D. in which the university shares a portion of your costs, funding them using the grants they receive from the government.

 

Step Two

After this, the next steps involve choosing the final university for yourself. Although you can apply to as many universities as you like at the same time, it is important to focus on one university for your research. Once you finalise the university, it is also advisable to visit the campus and to meet with your potential supervisor as well. Once the university approves your application, there is a need to establish contact with the institution in order to understand any other requirements pertaining to the degree. For instance, there may be a case wherein the university wants you to alter your proposal in order to make it more suitable. Most universities demand that the proposal is concise but at the same time covers all the key aspects of the topic. This could be a potentially tricky procedure, and hence students should look to approach the university with 4-5 different topics rather than just one.

 

Step Three

Once the Ph.D. begins, there are a lot more steps needed in order to complete the degree. Firstly, it is important to sit down with your supervisor and finalise the scope of the study. In collaboration with your supervisor, the aims and the objectives of the study need to be established. These aims should be specific and measurable. Secondly, it is important to conduct a thorough review of the existing literature in order to understand the topic better. Often, previous research studies not only help you in getting a better perspective but also help in developing new idea streams. Additionally, literature reviews are helpful in justifying the theories pertinent to the topic. Next, it is important to choose the right methodology. The research conducted as part of a Ph.D. may be quantitative or qualitative. This depends on the topic as well as on the availability of data. If you feel that data analysis forms a key part of your study and will help in achieving better results, then you should choose a quantitative approach. On the other hand, if the topic is more theoretical in nature and does not involve data collection, then you can go for a qualitative approach. At every step of the research, it is important to share the progress with your supervisor and take his or her to advise regarding the study.

Once you have collected the data or the facts, then you need to analyse and discuss these. This section of the study is critical since it helps in achieving the final conclusion. Once the discussion is complete, you need to summarise the findings. Additionally, it is important to note the limitations of the study as well as the scope for future research. This section should also encompass the contributions of the study and its implications. These implications may be theoretical as well as practical. It is also critical to give the due credit to your sources of information by making the use of correct referencing techniques. This is a key component of any Ph.D. study. Finally, you may like to add any appendices that are relevant to the study.

 

Step Four

Once the study is complete from your end, it needs to be shared with your supervisor. Then it needs to be proofread and finalised. Once this is done, the study needs to be submitted to the university. There are certain universities which prefer online submission whilst others also require a hard copy of the thesis. Once the university has reviewed your study, then you need to make any suggested changes and then submit it as your final thesis.

 

To sum up, a Ph.D. process is comprised of a number of steps that need to be completed, and at every phase, it is important to make use of the experience of your supervisor and implement his or her tips into your study. This will not only ensure a better understanding of the topic but also make sure that the quality of the final thesis is high. Our writers specialise in PhD proposal and thesis writing, so if you are stuck at any point during your PhD studies, then contact us for more information. 

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