Start the journey by asking Why Ph.D.?

When I was in 7th grade, I was introduced to DNA and gene. I was fascinated by just those terms but wasn’t aware of what exactly they are. With time, I learned what is DNA and its importance and the subject of Genetics. Since I wanted to do a PhD in Genetics, I decided to do Bachelor in Genetics and Master’s in Biochemistry for better comprehension of the concepts. I heard from my seniors, doing summer internships and projects, learning new techniques, publishing papers and being the top student will fetch me Ph.D. easily.

I had a dream to pursue a PhD abroad and hence listening to my seniors, I started my journey in my bachelor’s degree. I was the 2nd topper in both bachelor’s and master’s and I did internships and learned new techniques. But did my efforts were fruitful immediately, No. Since, right after master’s, I didn’t get the Ph.D. position, I applied for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for Ph.D. in India without any full preparation. And I couldn’t crack the CSIR entrance exam five times. In the meantime, I worked as Research Assistant for 3 years in the Centre for Human Genetics, Bangalore, India and Molecular Biotechnologist in Medical College at Wardha, India for a year. Basically, I got a PhD position after consistent four years of efforts.


Things to keep in mind:

  1. First and foremost, you should be clear Why you want to do Ph.D.? Is it because my classmates are doing, so I also want to do it? I just wanted to do a PhD in genetics, but I didn’t have my clear Why. I applied more than 5000 applications (Applied University Ph.D. programs+ Individual Ph.D. positions+ mailing to professors with similar research interests) in four years. I gave lots of PhD interviews, but I couldn’t crack them because I didn’t know what exactly I want from my PhD. Once I was clear why I want to do PhD and how that can help the society in the coming years, I could attract the desired PhD positions. And this time, I didn’t have to put much effort.
  2. Even if you face the rejections and fall flat on the face, don’t quit. I have gone through more than 5000 rejections, I cried, I vented my emotions and started freshly every time. I started to self-analyze my applications and make changes and apply again. I used to show my applications to my friends, seniors who were doing PhD abroad. Everything works out with consistent and persistent efforts.
  3. I would recommend enjoying the process instead of thinking only about the destination. I used to think that once I get into PhD, I will be happy, and all my dream will come true. But I forgot to enjoy the moment and the process of applications. Embrace the rejections and move forward.
  4. I would also recommend talking to your seniors, connect with people with whom you can vibe and take their suggestions. Learn from other people’s experiences and their mistakes. I thought I knew everything, and I repeated the same mistakes repeatedly thinking I would get different results. I realized later that following the paths of people who have already accomplished the results I wants, why not to take their help and learn from theirs and my mistakes.
  5. In interviews, be who you are. If you don’t know the questions, let them know that you don’t know, and you will read about it. Being authentic and honest is the key.

So, applying for PhD applications is like first understanding yourself, your research interest and why PhD is your dream and how will that impact to the society. Hence, starting with Why can lead you one step closer to your dream.

Good luck with your future endeavors!



7 thoughts on “Start the journey by asking Why Ph.D.?

  1. Hi, I’m from India. I’ve completed my Masters’ degree in Environmental Science in 2018. After that I pursued to do a job in a private Environmental Consultancy. I actually wasn’t happy with things going around professionally as well as financially. So I quit that job!! After that I tried very hard to get a good job to fulfil my research perspective plus healthy earnings. I’ve given tons of interviews but all I faced was disappointment. Right now I’m jobless and clueless where to go and what to do further. Should I go abroad to study another Masters or start my thesis writing for PhD?

    Please guide me through

    1. hi Jayendra. It will be your personal decision if you want to study abroad for masters or PhD. Usually students who are interested in academics and research pursue PhD. But some who have doubt or have no clear idea can choose masters depending on the economy to get better job opportunities. I have create a playlist of videos explaining the complete process. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions

  2. Thank you for reverting.
    The thing is I want to get more of a research and practical experience which I think I’m lacking!!!
    So, will you suggest me if I go for a Masters by research? or PhD? Because like you I am in a situation where I cannot think of a particular topic to make a thesis on!!

    1. Hi Jayendra! As Nikunj mentioned its personal choice depending on what you want to achieve in life. I understand from your replies that you are not clear about your interest. I would suggest to search for Research Assistant job (Helpbiotech and Biotechnika websites) and simultaneously apply for either Integrated PhD or PhD abroad. Due to COVID situation, international students are not admitted. So it’s better to have research experience till everything is functional. I would highly recommend to ask following questions to yourself:
      1. Do I really want to do PhD?
      2. If yes, then why?
      3. What am I interested in?
      Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
      Good luck!
      Prajakta Deshpande

      1. One last question,
        Is it a better option if I go for Masters’ by research rather than go for a research assistantship?

      2. That’s also a good idea: Master’s with research. Integrated PhD is also a good option where you can do Master’s and then PhD from the same Institute. But till you get into the program, I would suggest you to get some research experience.

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