I have recently been trying to create a shortlist for the universities that I might be applying for PhDs at. The projects offered by universities won’t be released until autumn, so now is the perfect time for me to start planning. Compared to when I was applying for my undergraduate degree when I was in sixth form, I have a lot more factors I want to take into consideration. These include:
- How far away it is from where my parents live. When I was applying for my undergraduate degree this was not a major consideration; I wast just excited that I’d be moving out and living somewhere new. However, now I want to live somewhere where I can fairly easily travel back and forth between Leeds and wherever I’d be living. Luckily, Leicester fits in this category compared to some of the other universities I had applied for in sixth form.
- What sort of research they do. I want to go to a university with a good reputation in astrophysics which does research in things such as: cosmology, black holes, galaxies, etc. To get a better understanding of the types of research different unis do, I have been reading their research pages and also reading previous PhD projects they have offered.
- Cost of living / accommodation. This is pretty much something I ignored whilst applying for my undergraduate degree, because: What did I know about money? Most of the universities that I am interested in luckily are fairly cheap places to live. However, I may apply for one uni in London, but I’ll only accept if I am offered a scholarship which makes it economically viable.
I have only just started my search for a PhD but there are three universities that stick out at the moment as very likely candidates: Durham University, University of Leicester and University of Nottingham. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but as it stands I would be happy to do a PhD at any of them. I want to apply for 5-6 universities, but I suspect that these three will be on that list.
I feel like I currently don’t really know what I am doing, but I have talked to PhD students all have said they felt very much the same when it came to applying for PhDs. Preparing for my application has made this all very real, however, I do somewhat fell ready to start this new chapter in my life.
“The black holes of nature are the most perfect macroscopic objects there are in the universe: the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time.”