Student Voice: How I found my PhD Studentship


April-Louise tells us how she secured her PhD studentship and gives her tips on making the most when attending Fairs.

I attended the PostgraduateStudentships PhD Funding Fair in December 2014 and I found it incredibly inspiring and helpful. At the Fair I got to ask lots of questions and fully understand the different types of funding options, the process of applying and the benefits of certain studentships for career development. Subsequently, I was able to find a supervisor in my particular research area and have now began an ESRC 1+ 3 studentship at the University of Birmingham.

Firstly, I was able to talk to many universities that attended the Fair about the postgraduate research opportunities and funding that they offered.

Secondly, I was able to receive useful advice from talking to current PhD students at the event. This was most helpful as these students had received funding and were doing their PhDs at different universities.

I would highly recommend the Fair to people who are both deliberating about whether to continue onto further study, as well as those that need clarity about the types of financial assistance available and how to access it.

To get the most out of the Fair, it definitely helps to be prepared! Before attending the Fair, I would recommend having an idea of the area of further study it is you wish to pursue and which institution(s) you would ideally like to speak to. PostgraduateStudentships update you about the universities which will be attending - you are then able to research the institutions you wish to talk to and plan your questions.

In addition, the Fair has different times for specific subject areas. The Morning Session covers PhD funding in the Arts and Humanities, Law, Management and Social Science, and the Afternoon Session covers PhD funding across the range of Science and Engineering subjects. This is convenient as you can choose to attend the session relevant to your area of study.

Before the Fair, you are also provided with a programme for the day so you can plan which sessions and talks will be most beneficial to you to attend.

I strongly recommend the PhD Student Peer to Peer Advice Room where you are able to talk to students that have successfully obtained PhD funding. It is a great opportunity to ask them about many things, not just funding.

I was able to gain a detailed perspective about the challenges and benefits of embarking on a PhD and hear about more than one experience. It helped me decide that a PhD was something I wanted to pursue. Make sure you have some questions in mind to ask students and have a notebook and pen at the ready as they shared some useful advice and further things to go and research further.

More Student Voices- hear from more students about their experiences of looking for and doing a PhD or Masters

How is your search for PhD going? We'd love to hear your story - let us know on our TalkPostgrad page on Facebook.

Meet leading UK Universities with funding on offer at our annual PhD Funding Fair in December. Meet current PhD students, attend talks, chat to universities about how to apply, and find out what it’s really like to be a PhD student.