I had an interview at a European university. After half an hour in the interview, they told me, we are positive to give you this position. The position starts in February however, the earliest time I can be there is in March.

I would like to ask, is it possible to defer a Ph.D. position for a month or two in Europe?

In the description of this position, the start, and the end of the position along with monthly salary is clearly stated and the fund comes from a national energy utility.

  • 2
    It might be worth asking them, PhD's are significantly are a little more flexible, compared to undergrads where a strict timetables are followed.
    – 3kstc
    Sep 23 '19 at 3:11
  • 7
    You have to ask them - none of us can tell you. They may need you at the beginning of Feb or not, so ask.
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 23 '19 at 5:53
  • 1
    Something which may be useful to you is the advice that Europe is really diverse. So it would make sense to more specify your location.
    – User
    Sep 24 '19 at 6:56

Whether it is possible or not can depend on all sorts of things. The only people that can answer that truly are the people that offered you the position. You should ask them.

This is not an unreasonable thing to ask, and I can't imagine starting a month or so later would be much of a problem for a PhD (but again the only people that can tell you that are...). Negotiation of the starting date is a normal part of the hiring process.


It happens often enough so it's really not that big of a deal, in general. If you are the best candidate, then they are likely to wait for a month or two.

That being said, there are circumstances where this may be an issue. If the project is on a tight schedule with clear cut deadlines and deliverables, then they might not want to delay things. The only way to know is to contact and ask them.

Another interesting aspect of it is the reason why you can't be there at the project start. If it is out of your hands, for example due to visa or otherwise official paperwork, thats one thing. On the other end of the scale, if you don't want to move due to a concert coming up or you forgot to cancel your apartment lease in time or something, they may not be as understanding.

I am mostly surprised that you got an offer, before you and them agreed on a possible starting date. Was this not mentioned during the interview at all?

  • Thanks for the answer. It was mentioned. However, I expected to finish the paper works early. But it is impossible now as I start the administrative process and learn that it takes a lot of time. @posdef
    – Masan
    Sep 25 '19 at 19:21

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