What did you do to get this position? This is the question often asked by my juniors and others looking for a PhD position. After a long duration of laziness, I am finally sitting on my chair to attempt it. It is better to divide the procedure into the vital steps. I am not going into the philosophy associated with the choice of pursuing a PhD or not. I assume that the reader wants a PhD and that is what will be answered here, in the best possible way.
The first step is to go to the website of the University where you want to try. I often recommend the rankings published by Times Higher Education and QS Rankings. Once you find a University, then you should find a professor whose work interests you. Almost every University lists the details of its academic and scientific staff under the academic>departments>faculty/personnel tab. With some practice, anyone can easily zero in on a Professor or lab of choice. The next crucial step is to decide a format for mailing the concerned Professor. Generic e-mails have a negligible chance of inducing a reply. For reference, I have attached a sample which has shown a good success rate for applicants in Taiwan. Do not forget to attach your specifically made resume in the mail.
After you get the reply, review the admission formalities which are often available under the admissions tab of the University’s website. It is often given as a PDF brochure and it contains everything about the admission requirements. In Taiwan, the common requirements are the following:
- A proof of English proficiency such as TOEFL (requires about 70-90) or IELTS (requires a score of 6-8)
- Recommendation letters: Some Universities require your referees to fill up the online form while others just need a letter on a official letter-head (Sample attached in the following)
- A research proposal: This is just to prove that you can think of some scientific problems and ways to solve it. You have to prove your aptitude, which is the raw material of becoming a researcher (Sample attached in the following)
- Some Universities ask for a Study Plan which is similar to a statement of purpose (Sample attached in the following)
- Rest of the requirements vary from course to course and one can easily find them out in the brochure document
The following is a sample of research proposal:
The following is a sample of a study plan:
Usually, there is no application cost for the Universities in Taiwan. One has to send the hard copies of the application document to the University. I hope it solves the initial confusion of how to look for PhD positions. For further queries, you can ask your questions in the comments below or mail me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Good luck to everyone.