The secret to winning a PhD scholarship in the UK

Doctoral degree requires a high research ability, Hoang Ngoc Quynh said that candidates must have an English background and a good outline if they want to win a scholarship.

Hoang Ngoc Quynh , born in 1990, alumni of the National Economics University, graduated with an excellent master's degree from Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, UK in 2017. Last year, she won a full doctoral scholarship of Lancaster University, UK is worth £ 89,000 (about VND 2.6 billion) and co-founded a chain of English centers. Ms. Quynh shares some experiences and notes when writing research proposal and preparation process to be able to compete for scholarships.

Lancaster University's acceptance of a PhD program with a full scholarship is a recognition for my unremitting efforts from entering university until spending nearly a year writing research proposals, find scholarships. Looking back at what I did to today I could study for a doctorate at one of the UK's top universities, I realized that it was a long preparation process and it took a lot of determination to do it.

TRAINING been solid foundation in English

Right from the stage of preparing your doctorate application, you will be required to write a research proposal, about 2,000-3,000 words in length, clearly stating the topic, scope, and research method for the school to review. This requires you to have an extensive specialized vocabulary, combined with a minimum of correct grammar, clarity, and coherence so that readers can understand the research content you want to do.

Besides, the characteristic of the doctoral program is research, so you will need to read and understand a lot of academic documents and books to find the theories, arguments and arguments for your research. If you do not have the necessary English skills, your study will be more difficult.

After submitting the application, the school conducts a review, if your topic matches the scope of the school's research, you will be scheduled to meet. The interview will be an opportunity for you to clarify the potentials and challenges of your research, thereby proving that you are qualified to complete the program and compete for scholarships of the school with other candidates.

The interview usually involves a topic instructor and a number of academic committee members. The content of discussion will revolve around the research outline and you will have to answer clearly and specifically the questions posed. Good English will help you feel more confident in the interview, combined with careful preparation, your chances of being accepted to study and a scholarship will be higher.

Personally, since I started in the first year of university, I have identified English as one of the most important goals that needs to be completed in the learning process. Like many other A students, my English starting point is also quite low. So I spent at least 6 hours a day in my first year at university to focus on improving this foreign language,

In addition to trying to study well in school subjects and working part-time to improve social skills, from the first year, I have set a goal of at least 8.0 IELTS when I graduate from university, have a degree. excellent. This is a solid foundation for me to be able to apply for a master's or PhD scholarship later.

For those who intend to apply for a scholarship abroad, I recommend that you focus on studying at a school well to get the highest possible university summary score, and at the same time, you should aim to learn English clearly and persistently invest time and effort to achieve it. Working part-time, taking part in extracurricular activities is also important, however, you should not prioritize it over studying.

Ms. Quynh on the campus of Lancaster University, UK.  Photo: Character provided

Ms. Quynh on the campus of Lancaster University, UK. Photo: Character provided

Start with a good research protocol

As mentioned above, in your doctoral application and scholarship review, the research protocol is a deciding factor. According to my experience, a good research protocol must have at least the following three factors: research topic, background theory and research method.

Research topics include asking what your research questions are going to solve, showing the potential of the research gap you will do. Literature review is the designation of convincing and logically documented and scholarly theories based on previous studies, relevant to the topic you are studying. Research methods specify which methods you use (e.g. qualitative or quantitative) to perform data collection, analysis, and finding answers to research questions. that you set out initially.

If the syllabus matches the scope of the university's research, having an instructor accepting the topic guide you plan to work on will be a big plus for your scholarship application. Through the outline, the school will evaluate the candidate's capacity, the potential that your research will contribute to the school. These factors help you score with the scholarship committee.

I have spent at least six months from forming the idea, contacting the instructor for comments and completing the lesson based on his comments, before submitting to the scholarship review committee.

Academic achievement and recommendation letter

All schools have certain standards for research students, which often require a master's degree with good results or higher. Some doctoral programs also have specific requirements for a subject at the bachelor's, master's or must complete certain compulsory subjects. Having a good academic record will make your application more competitive, increasing your chances of receiving a scholarship.

Letters of recommendation are comments about the academic, research, or work capacity of the person who taught or worked directly with you. From there, the referrer makes an assessment of whether or not you are likely to continue doing research at the doctoral level. There are no specific requirements for a referral so you just need to find a teacher who has taught and understands your learning process to apply for a letter. In addition, you should also provide some information about the research topic or program you are going to study so that the recommendation writer can make good and relevant reviews for you.

Really persistent

The process of preparing the application and applying for the doctorate scholarship will take a lot of time and need a lot of persistence. For those who are working and want to study for a doctorate, please arrange a reasonable time so as not to affect your current job and still ensure the preparation of your application on schedule.

During the time of writing the research proposal, I still do academic work and teach English at the center during office hours, only spend evenings and weekends writing articles and preparing documents. Besides, not all doctoral programs have scholarships, you should take the time to research carefully on the school's website before making a profile.

While the number of scholarship applicants comes from all over the world, the scholarships are limited, so the competition is very high. If you don't get a scholarship, don't be discouraged. Find out if your research proposal is more complete or not, to apply to another school or find scholarships from the government or other organization.

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