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Interview Advice for Prospective Research Students

The following advice provides prospective research students with guidance on what they should expect from the interview process. This will help both the interviewer(s) and the interviewee to get as much out of the process as possible. 


The purpose of the interviews 

An interview will be offered once the Director of Post Graduate Research and your potential supervisor have reviewed your application and wish to gather further information before taking a final decision. The interview is normally conducted by your potential supervisors. 


Demonstration of understanding 

Candidates should expect critical discussion relating to their research proposal. In general, you should be able to demonstrate understanding of areas that might include: 

  • Your project's (preliminary) central research questions
  • The gap(s) in the relevant literature(s) that your project will seek to bridge
  • The theoretical tradition in which you are hoping to work 
  • The research methodology which you will employ (where relevant) 
  • The empirical focus of your analysis (where relevant)
  • The ethical implications of your research and how you will address them
  • You will also be expected to make a preliminary assessment of the contribution to knowledge that your project will make


You may also be asked about your future professional goals. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and are encouraged to do so. One of the most important messages for prospective research students to convey in their interviews is their enthusiasm for, and interest in, their proposed research project.


Interview Format

At your convenience, interviews can take place in person, by telephone or via video-conferencing, depending on your location and facilities that are available to you. Interviews typically last between 30 and 60 minutes.


Advise from our students

University Interview Tips blog by Amelia