My proposed PhD supervisor told me the department is currently working on my offer.

Does that mean my admission is guaranteed? And what can they be doing?

  • 3
    They are working on your offer... Nothing is guaranteed until both parties sign and even then there are clauses... – Solar Mike Apr 16 '19 at 9:01
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    Hey Michael, I proposed an edit to take out the Greetings, please and thanks. This is a Q&A, so it's mainly about the question, not the personal interaction. – sgf Apr 16 '19 at 14:32
  • It means they don't want you to run of and commit to somewhere else, but that they can't give you that guarantee until a bunch of paperwork and approvals are done that are out of the supervisor's hands. – A Simple Algorithm Apr 16 '19 at 16:32
  • I have seen some of your other questions. Is this a Chinese institution you're dealing with? In such case there might be cultural factors at play. – Scientist Jun 24 '19 at 14:07

Nothing is guaranteed until you have a written and signed piece of paper.

(this advice applies to all parts of life!)

Your chances are possibly really good to get it now but there can always be something unexpected (clauses one of the parties does not agree to, financial implications, something wrong in the paperwork, change of mood, etc).


It should generally mean that they have decided to offer you something. If you applied for a PhD, don't be surprised (but I guess you will be) if they offered you an MS admission because they thought your credentials or prerequisites were not at par with their requirements. Other thing that can happen is that they just offer you what you are hoping for. But unless everything is written on the paper in an official capacity, nothing is certain.

I was once offered an admission at a US university for a PhD which was funded by a National Science Foundation fellowship. After several email exchanges, and a phone interview, my potential supervisor thought I would be a good fit for his lab and that project. So he sent me an email on Friday congratulating me on my success and all that pleasantries. Over the weekend, I went out with my friends, we partied and I paid for all the beers and food. To my surprise, I got one line email on Monday asking if I was the citizen of the United States. To which I replied, no, I am not. And couple of days later, I got an apology email saying that only a US citizen can take part in the project. Hence, shattered my dream and expectation of an offer.

So, what I am trying to say is, nothing is certain until it is officially done. You can relieve a bit that it might be a good news but save the partying for later date. Good luck!

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