Lizzy A.

Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Lizzy A.
International Relations
Taught Postgraduate
United Kingdom

My employment

International Security

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PhD Candidate

Why I continued studying

I've always wanted to do a PhD despite my preferred career path (working in Government) not requiring one. Having a PhD however can assist in moving up the career ladder in the long-term.

What my course is like

3-3.5 years studying on a research project.

How I have funded my studies

I was awarded 2 scholarships for the duration of my PhD studies; one a living stipend and one covering my international student fees.

What I like most

I am surrounded by like-minded people who are eager to keep on learning.

What I like least

It can be quite frustrating at times when you experience barriers in your own research! Also, it can be quite an isolating experience working on your own research for such a long time.

What surprised me most

There are a lot of opportunities for PhD students to do things alongside of researching. I have also tutored, lectured and conducted seminars for undergraduate modules, and work as a research assistant on an ad-hoc basis. With good organisational skills, you can certainly develop your CV alongside conducting your studies.

How I looked for postgraduate options

I moved to Australia with the intention of eventually pursuing a PhD. Once I arrived, I got a tutoring role at the university which allowed me to network and form positive relationships with staff which I think really helped in the application process later that year.

How I found out about the postgraduate place

Personal contacts

The application process

I really think networking is key for a successful PhD application, especially if you wish to gain funding or scholarships. I met up with several possible supervisors face-to-face to see if they were interested in my research proposal, and found suitable people who wished to support me. In some cases, supervisors while good on paper, were not a good fit. This was really useful to find out prior to applying for the PhD as the prospective supervisors have to make a case for supporting your application.

The actual application process involved writing a research proposal, refining this with my potential supervisors, and then filling out the actual application. I truly believe for the PhD, good supervisors are much more important than the university you are affiliated with. Effective supervisors will open doors for you and ensure you complete the PhD within a good timeframe which is important for post-doc applications or working elsewhere.

My advice to students considering further study

Look carefully at which university you want to pursue your education at, as it is at least 3 years of your life in one place. I considered a few universities, but in the end, chose the one with the best support and where I felt I could personally grow as an academic- this actually meant applying to a university that was academically not as prestigious as other options I had available. I am still really glad I made this decision.

Once you have found a suitable institution, network and form relationships with the department as best you can so you have support throughout the application process.

Contacting me

Happy to answer any questions about the PhD, life in Australia or practical questions.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Lizzy’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Lizzy a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Lizzy to be your mentor.

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