How to prepare for a PhD interview?

Phd Interview
Phd Interview - Photo from pexels

You are invited for PhD interview congratulations. This is the first step towards your PhD. It means that the admission committee considers you appropriately qualified and academically capable of doing a PhD in their program. This next step will allow them to determine if you’re a good fit, and you have the motivation and drive to complete a PhD. The interview is your opportunity to show the committee who you are, what are your interests, why their program is the right place for you to explore them. PhD interview is very similar to a job interview. The interview can be done face to face and also via the internet for example by Skype. Interview committee considers face to face is better than the internet-based interview because no super modern means of virtual communication can replace personal interaction. 

Interviewers can be HR staff head of departments and also your future supervisors. Mostly the questions they ask from you during the interview are about your academic background, professional experience and experience in research. Sometimes it does not matter how much experience you have in research but the quality of research matters. During the interview committe also see your personality, so it is always better to answer such questions in the context of some specific activities that you have done in the past. 

Before going for the interview prepare the possible questions which committee can ask. For example, about academic background, research-related motivation, chosen topic, personality and about your research or career plans. Don’t speak too fast, speak clearly, be motivated, stay in the context and express your dedication with work from your previous or current work. Interview committee could also ask technical questions related to the PhD programs or your professional career, so be ready.

You can also touch with current PhD students who can share their experience. Remember that a PhD interview goes both ways. You are preparing to spend most likely four years of your life here. Think about what is important to you and what would make or break your decision to attend this university. Come to the interview prepared with some questions for the interviewer. Potential questions could include:

  • What do they do to promote work and social life balance?
  • What can your potential mentor or supervisor do to advance your career?
  • How does your potential supervisor mentor the students?
  • What is the program’s job placement record?
  • What sort of resources does the university have? (Libraries, lab equipment, software, hardware etc.)
  • What are their funding sources?
  • What is the program’s average time to degree?
  • Will I have the opportunity to teach and present mine work during the PhD?
  • How many publications I have to publish?

PhD Admissions

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