PhD life?

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Hi all

Just looking for some advice as I am currently considering a PhD in history. A really good opportunity has come up so I feel I should go for it but I also have some reservations at present.

I would like to know what PhD life is like, as in the typical stuff you have to do and the workload etc. How much input do you get from supervisors, do you teach, how many conferences do you go to/present at.

Also would welcome funding tips. This is a funded student ship with a stipend of £15k. Is that yearly? Or for the duration of the PhD? Also if you get this can you apply for the government grant.

Any info is greatly appreciated, thank you!
I can't give you any answers, but good luck if you go for it. I'm doing my MSc right now and equal parts love and hate it 🤣
Hey :) I'm a first year PhD English Lit student. Congrats on the opportunity - have you been offered a place? :) it's so hard to get funding!

PhD life is good but hard work - be prepared to do a LOT of writing and reading, it's very intense! However, I find it helps to treat it like a job and set really clear days/times for work otherwise you'll go crazy (I study Mon-Fri 9-6pm). You'll also be expected to be super on the ball with recent research and developments in your field; as you know, a PhD is about making a new, original contribution to knowledge :)

I have 2 supervisors (1 main, 1 co-supervisor) and I have a meeting with them once a month to discuss written work, ideas, progress etc. They will be on hand to advise, but otherwise it's completely up to you - I don't hear from mine at all unless I contact them first, so you have to be super independent and productive without help. I've been told that students can teach in second and third year (it's prohibited to first year students at my university). On the conference front, it's good to attend as many as you can but they are pricey (I've only been able to afford one event, and I started 4 months ago). Fees, travel costs and accommodation costs all need to be accounted for, as unless you're a presenter it's seldom that you'll get financial help.

15k should be annual (usually split into 3 payments over each year, I believe) but you won't be able to apply for the doctoral loan as well - it's one or the other. Hope this helps :) xx
Hello - ten years since I finished mine.
I would say what are your career ambitions, as a PhD can be a millstone round the neck as employers don't always understand and can make you overqualified for most jobs. It can be highly stressful, tearful, and awful at times, but the sense of achievement once you almost give birth to your thesis is amazing. By the end you're the expert in that small area of work you have chosen.

Workload - my supervisor told me from the start she expected the equivalent of a full time job, how and when I did the work was upto me. So if I wanted to start at midday and work until 8pm each day that was fine. I worked weekends often, and when in the field I only took one day off as so busy and maximising my time.

When I did mine I spent the first six months doing a literature review followed by another six working out what techniques and direction my research would ultimately take. I spent the next 18 months or so doing my research and then writing it up. Although my supervisor and team (which were at another university as part of a larger project) were invested in my research, I was left on my own to do so but giving regular feedback to them. My university had an annual day where PhD students gave an update to the department and anyone else interested a chance to come along like a mock conference. We also had to do the equivalent of thirty days training over three years, so could be a CPD course or method you wanted to learn for your research for example.

As above I had two supervisors, but my second had no interest after he was told he was not coming to Italy. I had regular meetings with my supervisor, the university I did it at made it a rule you had to have 12 meetings per year (emails did count if overseas doing fieldwork). We also were expected to live within 10 miles of campus, and they were cracking down on it as many of my peers were not!

Teaching depends on the university and department, I taught every year of mine on different modules but not always related to my research and had to claim the payment back, so wasn't a reliable source of income. Payment of studentship (if research council like mine was) could be quarterly or monthly, mine tried quarterly as was tradition but went over to monthly (which helped with budgeting). 15k could be a research council (ie studentship) so government funded, or could be from your department.

Anything else, please just ask :).
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