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I have applied for a PhD position in October 2015. I was not informed about the result since then.

Is it appropriate to send a mail to a member of the hiring committee (with whom I have contacted before applying) to ask about the process? Or should I wait for them to contact me?

The university is in Sweden and I have contacted with the member prior to the application since he is the head of the research group that I intend to work in.

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Which country have you applied in? The answer to this question really depends on the country (e.g. in my country you wouldn't contact any committee member, but the PhD school's secretariat). – Massimo Ortolano Mar 19 at 13:35
I guess an even better question would be when and how to ask the status. – Ébe Isaac Mar 19 at 16:10
If the department concerned has staff whose job it is to coordinate admissions process it is better to start by contacting them. – Michael Hoffman Mar 19 at 18:40
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It depends. What does your acknowledgement say when you had submitted your application?

If you were told something like "you will be informed your result by XX month/year" and you have not received anything in that regard by that period, then you can write an e-mail to inquire the status of your application.

If you were told something like "only successful candidates will be informed by XX month/year" and you have not received anything in that matter, then you can write an e-mail to your contact person to know the status.

In any case, you can write email politely to know about your application status if you think it is already too late. There is no harm to inquiring application status.

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In my prior application to the same university, they have sent me an e-mail for notification of rejection. However, the interval between application deadline and notification was not so long. – cagirici Mar 19 at 14:06

I don't think it is inappropriate nor rude to send them an email. It's your right to be informed with your result as time is passing.

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If you're waiting 6 months for someone to write you back, perhaps that reflects poorly in their eyes on your skills as a researcher... seriously, though, you have to be more assertive about these things. If you feel it would be rude, try to make it as un-rude as possible: Ask about applications in general, not just your own; say you want to make sure you haven't missed a reply by mistake; ask whether they can estimate when a reply can be expected (rather than asking whether you were accepted); etc.

But don't just wait for it to happen!

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