2

Let's say I want to embark on a PhD in Europe, but I still have to find good positions to apply for. What steps do you recommend me to follow to narrow down the possibilities? What steps do you recommend to select some good options?

Should I think first a viable project, or should I stay flexible? Should I just look online for some position in the research fields I like most, or should I maybe focus my attention on professors, institutes, or should I even select the country first? Should I rely on the contacts of my bachelor and master universities professors, or should I try by my own means?

Note for moderators: this should not be considered a shopping question, as I'm not asking for a tip about an individual program or university, this community post shows quite clearly that that policy doesn't apply to this question.

  • 3
    The first thing to think about imo is "am I prepared to put in the time to really learn the language". Because if you don´t you will very likely be lost socially (i.e. alone, or stuck in the local expat group from your own country), and there is a real danger this also has a significant impact on your work. P.S. Be prepared having to force people to speak to you in their own language. Many like to "practice" their mediocre English, at your cost. – Karl Mar 8 at 18:08
  • I wouldn’t consider this a shopping question, but it is probably too broad...the best strategy will depend on many individual factors. – cag51 Mar 10 at 1:56
  • I didn't want to ask a question too individual... what factors do you think matter most? – carlo Mar 10 at 10:06
4

Every country in Europe is different when it comes to PhDs. What exist at most is the recognition of a PhD delivered in one European country as nearly equivalent to a PhD delivered in another.

France, Germany, Italy, Poland have more or less different notions of PhD and a huge lot of facilities delivering PhD (in France, be aware of our Grandes Écoles: some of them, like École Polytechnique or ENS, deliver PhDs). French CIFRE is pretty unique, even if of course you have near equivalent in other European countries.

I've got a French PhD in AI (in 1990). The formal title is Docteur de l'Université. Stricto sensu there is no PhD in France.

Should I think first a viable project, or should I stay flexible? Should I just look online for some position in the research fields I like most, or should I maybe focus my attention on professors, institutes, or should I even select the country first? Should I rely on the contacts of my bachelor and master universities professors, or should I try by my own means?

A PhD is mostly a human adventure. Not all PhDs get a job in academia (after it). Not all PhD graduates are paid for their PhD. A good PhD depends upon the people you are doing it (more than the institutions you are doing it).

You forgot to explain the most important.

why do you want to start a PhD? In what scientific domain?

In France, rules are different for a PhD in philosophy of science (or in medieval history) and for a PhD in computer science: in practice, you are required to get funded in computer science, but not in philosophy of science. I guess the rules are also different in Italy or in Germany (even the formal title is different).

The german Doktoringenieur title has no exact equivalent in France. Of course you do find near-equivalent.

The European research funding programme like H2020 have hard time defining what approximately is an European PhD. In practice they are funding many PhDs.

My opinion is that you should look for PhD advisors (so persons and their scientific work and reputation, not institutions).

| improve this answer | |
  • Why the downvote? What did I say which is wrong. Please comment – Basile Starynkevitch Mar 8 at 15:29
  • I think your first sentence gives the impression that you're saying not to do a PhD in Europe. It might be clearer if you said "Every country in Europe is different when it comes to PhDs." – jmite Mar 8 at 15:59
  • Right: I am not a native English speaker – Basile Starynkevitch Mar 8 at 16:05
  • nice answer, although it leads to another question, this one. – carlo Mar 8 at 21:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.