I accepted a PhD offer but next I had to reject it due to family reasons that I explained to my supervisors and they understood. A couple of weeks later I have overcome these family hitches and the position is still open as I can see from the site, and of course I would like to join again but I am afraid for the response of supervisors.

What should I do about this?

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    Are those "family hitches" something that is likely to happen again during the PhD, and make you quit? (the advisor is likely to wonder about exactly that) Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


Be honest with your supervisor and let them know of the entire situation. Since you had to reject the position they might have given your seat to someone else. Let them know that you understand if they already gave your seat away, but that you would like the position if it’s still available. Also if possible make sure that you won’t have to cancel before contacting them again.


Contact the supervisor now, explain your situation and hope for the best. The worst that can happen is that your position has been given to someone else (so be prepared for this). The more you wait the less likely it is that your PhD offer will be renewed.


Just ask. Some supervisors might be a bit puzzled but would be unlikely to object strongly. If you are admitted then you can explain to anyone who asks what your situation is, assuming it isn't so private as to make that improper.

However, it is possible, if unlikely, that you aren't the top-rated candidate anymore, so act fast in case they are still looking. They may have other offers out, actually. But ask and do it quickly and politely, explaining as best you can.

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