Student news

Your top 10 questions about studying for a PhD answered.

Student news

Your top 10 questions about studying for a PhD answered.

Photo of PhD student Naki

Hi, my name is Naki and I’m a current PhD student here at the University. In this blog I’m answering some of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received during the course of my PhD study. These queries cover several areas including course duration, finding a supervisor and postgraduate accommodation.

1. How do I apply for a PhD program at the University?  

Prior to submitting a proposal for a PhD, it’s important to find a supervisor whose research interests are compatible with yours. This way, you can discuss and finalise a convincing proposal for a successful application.  

2. Are there any arrangements made for postgraduate students to participate in Fresher’s Week?  

Yes! Many of the activities organised by the Students’ Union are open to all new students. There is likely to be several opportunities specifically for postgraduate students to socialise before they start their degrees.  

3. Is there accommodation allocated to postgraduate students? 

Postgraduate students can apply for University student accommodation, however, it is not guaranteed. The majority of postgraduate students take up private accommodation to suit their needs.

4. What are you expected to achieve within the first year and how is this assessed?  

The first year of a PhD involves thorough literature study of your research area, which may be used to produce a review article. You will also be expected to optimise your research methods and start data collection if possible. There is no formal assessment at this stage but you will be expected to produce sufficient material to support your upgrade from MPhil to PhD within 18 months of study.  

5. How many contact hours do you have with the supervisors?  

You will have approximately two contact hours with your supervisors each week but this could be more or less depending on your supervisor, and also on your own personal needs.  

6. What are English language requirements would I have to meet in order to join a PhD program at the University?  

The English language requirement differs between departments. For the most accurate information on this, please contact an academic within the department of your research interest.  

7. Do I have to do a master’s degree before I can do a PhD?  

No. Many students embark on a PhD without having prior research experience or a master’s degree. However, these may assist your PhD journey by providing a foundation of knowledge in known research methods for your chosen area of study.  

8. Are the grants or scholarships available for PhD study?  

Yes! There are research grants awarded by governmental agencies such as the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) but there is also non-public research funding awarded by private companies and organisations. These can be discussed with your chosen supervisor prior to your studies. 

9. What is it like living in Canterbury city?  

Canterbury is a popular and vibrant city with many students and a lot of activity. There are popular tourist attractions like the cathedral and near-by beaches. It’s great for enjoying the best of student living. 

10. How long does it take to complete a PhD?  

It takes approximately 3 or 4 years to complete a full time PhD and 5 to 7 years to complete a part time PhD.  

Want to know more about studying for a PhD?

Book onto our upcoming open day.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me via Unibuddy.