In search of a Ph.D. position, I emailed a professor and he replied me that I should recontact him next year as he does not have any available position right now. Also, he said that it will be too late for me as I will be wasting one year. Actually, deep inside, I do want to take a break of one year to spend some time with my family as I lived away from home for two years of my Master's study.

My question is, is it okay to tell professor that you want to take a long break before starting your Ph.D.? In other words, what is a proper reply to the professor who is saying that I should contact him next year?

up vote 51 down vote accepted

He hasn't made any commitment to take you on next year. I would simply write to thank him for his consideration and say that you will re-apply if circumstances at the time permit. You don't need to say more now.

Saying too much might be a mistake. But thanks should be expressed, certainly. Use the year to find another position or use it profitably otherwise. Reexamine your options if you are still available in the future.

  • 1
    ... because if you tell him that you intend to take a year off but you apply for another position, this has a tendency to come back to him (immediately or later) as it's a small world. Say indeed something positive about seeing yourself at a nonspecified future date in his project/group/city/... . – user3445853 Nov 19 at 16:27

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