Selecting a PhD programme that best suits your needs and interest can be a long and exhausting process. Here are some tips how to select and approach the school of your choice
Where to apply The first stage of the application process ought to be shortlisting universities
How to apply Once you have identified the departments and professors that interest you, email the professors whom you think might be interested in the research you plan to undertake as a PhD student. This you should do around 2-3 weeks before the deadline.In the email, write very briefly what you are currently doing (in one sentence), your academic qualifications (also one sentence), what particular research questions you want to examine and why you would like to work with them. In sum, this email should not exceed 3 short paragraphs. The shorter the better.Be polite and to-the-point in such correspondence. Do not be overly flattering or wordy and at the same time, do not be boastful about yourself.The professor may reply and encourage you to apply to the PhD programme. Conversely, the professor may reply and discourage you from applying because his/her research interest may not match yours. In this case, you should not apply to that department unless another professor in it encourages you to apply. Lastly, there may be no reply from the professor in which case you should only apply to that university if you really want to study there or if you are very keen on working with that professor.If the professor does reply to you, do not needlessly contact the professor or ask him/her questions about the admission process.
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