I am filling in an application form for a PhD program and I am supposed to answer the following question:

"How do you intend to fund your studies for the entire duration of your stay in ...?"

Actually, I cannot afford any part of the living costs and university fees but I don't know how to mention it in a academic, polite and well-structured fashion.

  • 7
    It sounds like you're hoping to do an unfunded PhD. This is, in general, a bad idea. – Thomas Aug 3 '13 at 19:33
  • @Thomas, I haven't known much people that are self-funded especially for PhD. – AAMIDI Aug 3 '13 at 19:59
  • @Thomas, I think you're right, and it does not really matter where you do a PhD, there has to be some funds coming in. – user7130 Aug 3 '13 at 21:35
  • 4
    If you can't answer "You will pay me," don't go. – JeffE Aug 3 '13 at 21:57
  • @JeffE, Do I supposed to say this much clear and .... ? – AAMIDI Aug 3 '13 at 22:00

Maybe I'm missing something. But if this is a US Ph.D program, this question is really "Do you want us to fund you" and the answer is always yes. As JeffE says, you should not consider entering a Ph.D program unless you're being funded. Apart from the financial constraints this puts on you, the funding creates a commitment (by the department or advisor) to look after you. If the funding is from a research project, then you're even more sure that your work will be linked to something fruitful.

While there are many caveats to what I just said (and they're ringing in my head right now), they're not relevant at the time of applying to grad school.

So please always answer "I expect you to fund me".

  • 2
    In some cases a PhD applicant may already have a scholarship or fellowship, e.g., from one's government or from a research agency such as the National Science Foundation in the USA. But in general I agree that you should say "please fund me" if you need funding. – debray Aug 4 '13 at 17:58
  • That's right, and if you have such a thing you should surely mention it because most departments will jump at the chance to get a good student for "free" :) – Suresh Aug 5 '13 at 5:35
  • Is this really true in every field? – Nate Eldredge Aug 6 '13 at 3:34
  • 1
    Probably not. I should have clarified that it's for CS. – Suresh Aug 6 '13 at 4:05

I see two possible ways to interpret your question, so I'll give two answers:

  1. If you currently don't know how you will fund your studies, but you honestly think you will figure it out: just write down your best educated guess (“I will sell shoes by night”)

  2. If you think the cost of life is too high and you probably will not manage it: please reconsider your arrangements. The happiness in life that might results from a successful PhD experience requires to have the mind free enough for science, which cannot be achieved if you worry day after day about how to eat. It is a very bad idea to make that gamble.

  • @fx Thanks for your response. My case is almost the second one. How I can put the aforementioned intend in a academic structure. Besides, I would like to know whether I am supposed to ask a financial support in the response to this question or not. – AAMIDI Aug 3 '13 at 21:08
  • 1
    @aliamidi, I think you would need to make the sustainable financial arrangements before you apply for the PhD. – user7130 Aug 3 '13 at 21:37

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