Applying for PhD Schools
What do I need to prepare?
How will I be evaluated?
Where (area/country/university) should I have PhD training?
Whom should I be supervised?
Apply during the master training or after this?
Information of PhD student positions can be found in the following links:
You can also register professional mailing lists of your research field to receive information of PhD openings (and some other information). For example:
● Computational Neuroscience (http://www.neuroinf.org/mailman/listinfo/comp-neuro)
● Vision science (http://lawton.ewind.com/mailman/listinfo/cvnet; http://visionscience.com/mailman/listinfo/visionlist_visionscience.com)
Additional information of PhD openings will be shared via email.
Common materials of a PhD application:
● Transcript. It is especially important to get high scores in courses relevant with your current research topics and research topics that you are interested in studying in PhD school.
● Curriculum Vitae (CV). It must include your research achievements (e.g. awards, publications, conferences) and skills for research (e.g. programming languages, devices). Your description of the skills should be specific. What have you done and can you do using these skills?
● Motivation Letter. You need to show that you are interested in and ready for studying at a PhD school you are applying for. Professors there want to see your potential. Did you check papers of professors there? Whom do you want to work with and why? How their researches are relevant with your current research? What do you want to study? If you change your topic/field, why?
You can also talk about your current/past research but it should not be too long and should be described with your achievements (e.g. conference presentations, publications).
● Recommendation Letter. There is some common format of a recommendation letter: relation with a candidate, main contents, and personality (and ranking).
Note that you may be asked to help your references writing the main contents of their letters. You should remind them of what kind of works you have done for/with them. What kind of intellectual abilities do these works need? What did you learn from the works? How do the works differentiate you from other students? (Remember that everyone works hard.) The letters should emphasize your potential as a researcher.
Usually, you need two letters for PhD applications. Ideally, different letters should say different aspects of you. The first letter should be from your supervisor. Depending on which aspect you want to emphasize, you can decide whom you will ask to write the second letters for you. For example:
• Class teacher if you think you are the no. 1 (or one of the top students) or a TA
• Senior colleague (with PhD) if you work on some team project
• Collaborator if you work on some collaborative project
Note that you want additional letters more than enough only if the additional letters are excellent.