I have contacted a professor about the availability of a PhD position. And I got the following responses:

I would be interested to explore the opportunities for you to come and complete a PhD in the Precision Livestock Management group that I lead. I have attached a formal application form for you to complete. One of the issues that we will need to address is funding. I do not have any current direct funding, however, it is possible that depending on the project area I could seek some indirect support from the University to waive the overseas fees. We would still need to find funds to cover your living expenses. Do you have any opportunities for funding to support your PhD?

I would also be interested to hear what areas of research you would more specifically like to focus on that might relate to precision livestock management?

My Response:

Thanks for your message and consideration.

Actually, as you may know finding the financial support is not simple, usually. Honestly, I am not so optimistic to find one. However, I will keep eyes to find any financial support.

Herewith are the topics that I would prefer to do the research on them: . . .

Besides, in the case you have any suggestion about a topic please let me know.

To complete the application form I have to attach the research proposal. Thus, I would be grateful if I could have your confirmation for the topic.

Then, I sent him a required information and got the following answer:

I will give some thought to possible project areas. In your initial application you will need to say that you are applying for a full fee-paying place. We can then explore options for securing funds for a project.

Actually, it is my first serious contact with a professor. Does his response include any sign that I may get the position? How serious is the position? Should I count on this position? He asked me to fill in the application form. Am I supposed to send the application form to him or the admission office? He told me, he will give some thought to possible project areas. One of the required documents for application form is the research proposal. Should I wait for his thoughts and write a research proposal based on that? Should I follow up his thoughts? Within which timeframe should this procedure usually be completed?

  • 7
    Do you have any opportunities for funding to support your PhD? — The correct answer is "Yes. You will pay me."
    – JeffE
    Aug 10, 2013 at 23:32
  • 2
    Usually, "I do not have any current direct funding" should be read as "I do not have any current direct funding FOR YOU".
    – Suresh
    Aug 29, 2013 at 17:20
  • What country is this professor in? In some countries, being paid to get a PhD is more often the exception than the rule.
    – Pere
    Dec 24, 2017 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


This doesn't look very good. The guy is happy to take you on, but requires that you pay full tuition fees for your studies and is only willing to “explore options for securing funds” after you do so. This would be expected at undergrad level, but for a PhD it means either he is not very interested in you, or he doesn't have funding but is not willing to decline a potential student. In any case, it doesn't look good.

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