I completed my Masters in mathematics in my home country (a developing country in Asia) in June 2020. I applied to 6 professors to do a PhD in the last semester of my Masters. I was rejected for 5 and funding couldn't be arranged for the 1 in which I was accepted. So I thought I would try next year in both my home country and abroad (Europe). I didn't apply earlier to any of my home country's universities.

So, I started studying for the qualifying exam in my home country while side by side studying some more to apply for PhD programmes abroad. I took the exam for PhD admission in my home country in December and received the result in early January. The result was lower than I had hoped for, although I don't yet know if I've been accepted.

My father is using this to make cruel comments to me, hurting my mental health. This contributed to me being depressed and missing several application deadlines for European universities. I completed only one application on time. Since then I have received medical help for my mental health problems.

How should I explain why I didn't apply to other programmes to the admissions committee of the university I did apply to ("university X")? Will it hurt my application if they know my father is against my decision or that I have had mental health problems? Should I lie (e.g. say I had COVID)?

If I get an interview call from university X can I request to be interviewed later than other students so I have time to prepare?

I am really passionate about research and also returning to academia after quitting would be really hard for me. I don't want to do a PhD in my home country because my experience is that the quality of teaching is low.

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    What makes you think you have to "explain" a "gap"? I can't imagine a Ph.D. application process asking you for a week-by-week breakdown of your whereabouts over the last year. Feb 11, 2021 at 14:28
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    1) there is no gap in your CV, you got your degree in June and then you had a look around and studied for your homecountry PhD exam. All while there was a pandemy across the world. 2) "they would come to know that my father is against my decision" How? financially, you will pobably be able to ask for assistance to the institution that would accept you in getting the flight paid. By the way, do you have a passport? do you need your father approval to obtain a passport?
    – EarlGrey
    Feb 11, 2021 at 15:34
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    @EarlGrey Yes I got a passport made in December 2020. Then he didn't said anything
    – user135061
    Feb 12, 2021 at 3:00
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    academia.stackexchange.com/questions/80655/… Might be useful
    – user135061
    Feb 12, 2021 at 4:58
  • @EarlGrey Can you please give some advice to me for this question also:academia.stackexchange.com/questions/162808/… which is somewhat related to the question asked above. Any advice you give me would be really helpful to me.
    – user135061
    Feb 20, 2021 at 3:13

1 Answer 1


I am handling PhD admissions for CS at a British university. None[1] of the information you mention in your post seems relevant for a PhD application to me. There is no need to say anything at all about how exactly you spend your January.

Similarly, preferences for interview dates should given in a far more generic way. For example, "I am unavailable on May 9th." or "I would prefer a later date over an earlier, if possible."

[1] Except that you got a MSc in Mathematics in June 2020, that is important of course.


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