I had a chance to present the SOCIAL CDT to the students of The Data Lab involved in a Master Program in Data Science. It was a good opportunity to learn what PhD applicants worry about:
- The proposal: most students do not feel comfortable in writing a PhD proposal (not surprisingly because it is something they never did before);
- The skills: there is uncertainty about the skills to be developed in order to obtain a scholarship;
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: there are questions about possible biases in the recruitment processes.
In all cases, the best solution is to get in contact with possible supervisors. In most cases, academics are happy to answer the questions of prospective candidates and to show that applying for a PhD is not such a major challenge. The proposal is typically written in collaboration with a potential supervisor (no need to do all the work alone), the only necessary skill is openness to learn (a PhD is about acquiring new skills and not about using previously acquired skills) and all Universities are equal opportunity employers. So, if you really think PhD is what you want to do, just contact academics you like to work with and involve them in your application process!