I have applied (on February 17th 2020, GMT +1) for a PhD position (in Australia) starting the latest in July (so, no application deadline). It has now (March 7th 2020) been nearly three weeks ago since I emailed my application. I did not receive any confirmation email of receipt from the professor. It is something I really loathe, because I do not know what the status of my application is. Contrary, I can image that reading applications and making inquiries with the funding organisation in respect to the applications can take up a lot of time. Thus, I do not want to appear impatient. I wonder, however, if further patience is prudent. In short, should I email the professor about the status of my application or should I wait a few more weeks?


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    A few questions come to mind: What was the application deadline? Was there an official process, or did you just email something to a professor? Does the university website say anything about when notices go out?
    – Jeff
    Mar 7, 2020 at 14:49
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    Australian universities to not accept admissions applications by email. (Does anybody anywhere?) Mar 7, 2020 at 23:54
  • 3 weeks is a very short time... Mar 8, 2020 at 2:56
  • The question is not clear. What stage of the application process are you in? The first step is to email a potential supervisor with your cv; he/she may not reply. After lodging your application, it usually takes at least four weeks or longer before you receive a reject or acceptance. Also, if you have lodged an application without a potential supervisor, then your application will go from staff to staff, meaning it will take much longer to process. Lastly, due to Covid-19, all Australian universities are busy with more pressing needs. So I would be patient. Mar 8, 2020 at 5:29
  • My application was a response on vacancy posted on the well-known website EvolDir (for evolutionary biologists). It is stated in the vacancy that the PhD candidate should send the application with an email to the professor. It was also stated that the candidate would start no later than July and that they would keep looking for suitable candidate until then.
    – ECHO One
    Mar 8, 2020 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


It is fair to enquire about the status of the application. If it is done via direct email to the professor, which is rare, there may well be no confirmation. The people involved will email if the application is to progress further.

If you are interested in a PhD, take a look at www.jobs.ac.uk. There are many thousands of PhD places on there across Europe to apply for. There is a huge amount of funding for this academic stage, not necessarily requiring the best marks, which may seem surprising but it is true. There are also equivalent sites in other regions.

Also, there is no reason to assume you are not still in consideration. I once emailed and it took more than two months to receive an interview offer. Besides this, it regularly takes many applications before one of them comes back with an offer of an interview.

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    Thank you for answering; I think I will wait another while.
    – ECHO One
    Mar 8, 2020 at 8:42

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