A PhD is a degree awarded to people who have done advanced research into a particular subject. . As we approach towards 2021, the number of applicants for part time PhD are increasing day by day. Also, with increase in demand, the number of vacancies under PhD guides is being filled. Doctorate is no longer a negative thing unless you have thirst for it. Once you know the reasons behind doing Ph.D. and the basic terminologies of PhD specially in Science and Engineering, you can easily get stable in PhD phase. This has also increased number of dropouts because…
Pursuing PhD is no more the matter of choice, its a matter of need these days
Higher education has created its own special place in India. The new rule of all the university assistant professors to have PhD till July 2021 in India, has left Assistant Professors striving for research. This, has turn out to be very exciting for 10% of the Assistant Professors to pursue part time PhD. Moreover, may employees, these days, are looking forward to pursue PhD. Craze for writing a paper in SCI indexed journals is rising in India day by day. People are happy doing research in order to make some un-conventional changes and improvements in society. With increase in global warming and popular innovative Facebook pages like INSIDER, there is increase in number of volunteers for doctorate.
There are few very common queries and certain facts that I come across these days. One of this is about the research areas. The research areas related to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the most widely explored field these days. Next comes Internet of Things projects which graduates and bachelor students from good universities are taking up. Annual challenges like those of Hackathon are sowing the seed of Data Scientist in youth of India and beyond. Indian Information Technology industry has potential to rise in terms of product based firms from solution based firms. The core team of several new startups and existing multi-national companies are into research domain these days.
Conventional Approach to Search for Guide
For many academic degrees, we tend to follow the conventional path to apply for admission in those courses. However, in PhD, many candidates try to apply via entrances and by sending email to guides. The usual and ideal measures to apply for part time PhD are
Apply for PhD entrances and get selected to interview. Appear in interview. The interview committee shall as you if you have spoken to any of the committee members regarding your research work. If your answer is no, you will be straight-away rejected.
This is one of the most common approach followed by aspirants to qualify entrance and reach till interview. It is good to go via conventional channel. But even if you are top scorer, your application won’t have that kind of influential factor which, on the contrary, the other candidate may have by spoken to one of the professors. This, in no way is partiality. See with 30 minutes of interview, no one can judge if you would be strong enough to handle the pressure of PhD or not. Beyond conventional practice, there are other measures to judge the candidate for pursuing PhD, those are the thought process of the candidate, the will power, do circumstances allow you to pursue doctorate and many more.
Practical Approach to Search for Guide
In PhD, you can pursue research in one domain (it may be multi-disciplinary), under that you have to find the problem domain in which you will get some recently focused challenges. You need to find solution for this problem domain. No one can guide you for completely different research domain in which he may not have worked till date. So, this is the fact that no one will take you blindly for PhD even if you are topper of the entrance exam and have no targets or research domain.
Send Email for PhD Positions to Professors
With reference to this, many candidates send an email to professors for part time PhD positions…
Write an email to the professor. Ask for PhD positions. What is they refuse and say “There is no vacancy”
This is again one general approach and the aspirant get dishearten by listening them. Think about this. Say you have opened your Facebook ID, 10 people pings you on Facebook and you chose to speak with 1 or 2 of those.
Its because they interests you. You are looking forward for good information or entertainment if you are communicating with selective people. Similarly, when you email professors, they could have received the same email from many other aspirants and why would they choose you?
It has been observed that 60% of work of every intellectual person is done by emails.
It is always a good idea to send and email to professors, get appointment and speak to them regarding your application for PhD position in their institute under them. But the question is will they give you appointment? Will they take you seriously? How can you influence the professor and create good impact?
We chose not to leave these questions unanswered….
What to Write in Email for PhD positions
Take applications for PhD very seriously. One of the most influential factor for applying for PhD is your M Tech/ M E guide. If you are directly applying for PhD after B Tech, you may do so. But for that your CGPA should be >7.5 or 8 in some departments/ universities. Your M Tech/ M E guide influences your application and there could be certain references who may refer you if they have ever worked with you.
Another important factor is your link with research. Be it in M Tech, your current job or in B Tech, what kind of research papers are you following and what kind of research areas are your targeting. You should target only those areas which are chosen by you and not by guide. You should choose to apply to only those professors who have same interests as that of yours irrespective of department or university. At PhD level, the best university, the best IIT, the best IIM’s, matter less than choosing the best guide. Follow following steps
- Target good institutes
- Check the proper channel and the admission process
- Shortlist those professors who’s interests match with your research interests
- Find their current projects and related recent research papers and read one or two
- Check if this interest you and try to understand atleast two to three research papers before you apply.
This is because in interview, people are more concerned of your skills and research aptitude than your knowledge.
Once you read the research papers, try to connect your say with their research work. Because once they give you appointment, it is more likely that they will be looking forward for some intellectual insights from you during discussion. Never embed complete research paper in summary. Always give your inferences in two to three lines. Include all your achievements like those of GATE, UGC NET, CSIR NET or any other national level exam, your experience, current jobs/ postings.
Problems with part time aspirants for PhD positions
There is a common myth that part time research fellows are not serious about their PhD positions. This is because they are pre-occupied with their current job activities. It is always good to apply for part time PhD positions but one should realize the intensity of the responsibility which you may have to face after starting with part time PhD. You may connect with professors on the same criteria as discussed above. You may also ask for appointment with respect to the reference of your mates. During appointment discuss following
- Convince them that you are ready to dedicate good amount of time for research
- Understand the basic terminologies of research before you apply for PhD in Science and Engineering
- Plan your free time accordingly.
- Give less priority to your family liabilities and other responsibilities in your mind and during discussion
- Choose the research domain and try to find significant research papers related to your research domain before your proceed. This is because there are already many candidates who are in research and who have already published research papers. To present yourself better, you may also choose to write a research paper for some good journals.
Though it is good practice to approach professors individually, but you may also choose to go via references. Here, by reference, we do not mean by doubting your skills and capabilities. It just means that your academic professors may link you to the professor and you may appear for interview. But, your capabilities will decide if you are suitable candidate with whom they can proceed further.
For all Science and Engineering background candidates, I would recommend you to go through the good engineering coursework on statistics and probability. You are expected to have good knowledge about these subjects if you are from engineering background. This is because and engineering branches have been evolved from mathematics branch.
With this, we hope you must have obtained some useful insights about how to apply for PhD positions as a part time candidate. Do comment and let us know your thoughts about this.