In a department I'm applying to (UK), some professors have 2-3 PhD students while others have 20+ current students.

Would my chances of admission be proportionately higher if I apply to work with the supervisor with 20+ students?

This is a CS department so I expect that decisions are made by a central committee -- how does one end up taking so many students?

  • I'm not in a CS department, but it would be unusal for decisions to be made by a central committee. Funding decisions perhaps, although not department level, very few departments have an funding for students these days themselves. Most funding comes from doctoral training partnerships/centres, which are independent of departments, and generally cover several different universities. But I bet in CS, there is a lot of funded and industry funded students. In these cases profs may take as many or as few students as they please. Oct 10, 2021 at 15:32
  • 1
    @IanSudbery Wait really? There are no admissions committees? So if the professor I contact is enthusiastic, that's all that matters (besides funding)?
    – Horse
    Oct 10, 2021 at 15:42
  • 2
    You'll have to meet some basic requirements - like meet minimum standards in your lower degrees. But yes, generally the final say rests with the supervisor if funding is available. Don't underestaimte how much of a hurdle getting funding in place is though. Oct 10, 2021 at 15:57
  • 3
    Equating more students to easy admission is wrong. A person may have a high number of students if he/she is a good teacher, and/or has lots funding. You should focus on finding someone that has a track record of graduating students. No point joining a group or university to find out later you cannot graduate due to poor supervision.
    – VitaminE
    Oct 10, 2021 at 18:15


Browse other questions tagged .