Okay. SO here is the thing.

I got national overseas scholarship from my government. The scholarship almost covers everything. My question is how will professors view those who are admitted under scholarships, other than institute scholarship?

I heard that PHD guides always prefer to spend more time with those who are admitted under institute scholarship, cause there is always a pressure from institution to professors about the scheduled time.

In my case, my scholarship covers stipend for 4 years and the pressure is on me to finish it in 4 years. Will I be given the same importance by professors?

  • 4
    I'm pretty sure what you "heard" is wrong. The pressure is to be productive and to serve students well. In some fields your professor won't even know about your funding. Not universally true, of course.
    – Buffy
    Sep 7, 2019 at 22:48
  • It may be useful to explain that you have full funding for four years, and really want to finish in that time. Sep 7, 2019 at 23:07
  • In my experience, professors do not care much. We only discriminate based on abilities -- strong versus poor background. If your background is poor, most likely we will drop you regardless of your scholarship status. If you expect a professor to help you more just because you have a time limit or a scholarship, then dream on.... Sep 8, 2019 at 0:33
  • @Prof.SantaClaus: Can you explain what you meant 'We discriminate on abilities'?
    – Coventry
    Sep 8, 2019 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


The answer is based on my experience as faculty at a UK university (engineering).

Officially: There is no discrimination between institute or externally funded PhD students (either from the UK or their home country). There are strict rules and a logging and management system that ensures all students get the same number of guaranteed supervision hours.

Reality: Our school management actually is biased to support more students with international scholarships. The reason is that they bring a lot of money into the school directly through the huge amount of fees their scholarship pays.

Other info: Supervisors (incl. myself) tend to bias towards stronger students in the long-term (no matter their scholarship). When a student generates a lot of results and writes many high-quality papers, then I am inclined to support the student more than the minimum required (review papers, have more meetings, work more closely, etc.).

The first 1-1.5 year I support weaker students slightly more than the “guaranteed” to give them a chance to catch up. If a student is weak after the first 1-1.5 year, then I tend to provide them with the minimum required supervision while spending more time with the stronger students.

The reasoning is that spending 100 hours extra with a strong student might lead to 3 strong journal publications while with a weak student 100 hours extra might lead to an average journal at best. Since my progression is heavily based on academic track record, it’s natural to bias towards the most beneficial use of my time. Note that these are extra hours in addition to the “guaranteed” by the regulations supervision.


It's all good: You heard wrong, or the people you heard from were poorly informed :-)

From both the department's and the advising professor's perspective, students who come with their own money are the best of all cases: They don't have to work on anything other than their degree, and nobody else has to work to make sure they're paid either. As an adviser and as the department, that's great. You're likely going to be more productive than students who have a teaching fellowship (for example). Potential advisers appreciate that. There is no reason to believe that you'll be treated with any less respect or with less effort by anyone than locally supported students.

  • In my experience, students who come with their own money have very poor background. So no thanks. Sep 8, 2019 at 10:15
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    @Prof.SantaClaus Then, your selection process is not robust enough. Some of my best students have been externally funded. I was myself externally (international) funded doing my PhD. Got a tenure-track position offer at a top-10 in UK university during my PhD.
    – electrique
    Sep 8, 2019 at 10:32
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    @electrique Nothing to do with my selection process. I don't work at a university where such students show up :) So I never take such students. Sep 8, 2019 at 10:45
  • @Prof.SantaClaus I don't understand your notion. Well anyway, I got a scholarship from the Indian government and getting a national scholarship from Indian government is next to impossible considering the huge number of applicants.It is very competitive.I don;t really understand your notion, 'students who come with their own money have very poor background'.
    – Coventry
    Sep 8, 2019 at 19:16
  • I disagree with this as a general principle as well. Of course a school and an adviser has to do their due diligence with an applicant. Weak students come to us in a variety of ways. But once you've been accepted, your adviser shouldn't treat you any different than other students. Sep 9, 2019 at 23:41

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