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I recently completed a MSc. I would like to start a PhD. I would like this to be at an institution that is different to where I did my MSc. I have reviewed the academics in my area (London) and several are doing research in the area I'd like to focus on.

I would like to send a "Thank you" email to my MSc supervisor. Would it be appropriate to mention that I'd like to do a PhD with supervisor X or Y at institution A? Or would it be expected that I'd ask my MSc supervisor for PhD positions with him first etc.?

In the same email I'd also want to ask him if he would be interested in getting a paper out of my MSc thesis - me doing most of the work there. Would this be appropriate too?

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Congrats on getting your MSc! This is a great achievement.

  • I would definitely suggest to write a thank you email to your MSc supervisor (if you truly mean it of course). It will be gratifying for your supervisor and it is always good to maintain these connections. Networking is an important part of research/academia and you may be collaborating with him/her in the future. I still communicate with my MSc supervisor 15 years after I graduated. Here is a blog post with useful networking tips for scientists.

  • I would also encourage you to tell your MSc supervisor about your PhD plans. He/she may have good advice for your PhD application and may even be able to write recommendation letters for future scholarship applications etc. My MSc supervisor was happy to write recommendation letters for several PhD scholarships I had applied to. It is often recommended to do your PhD in a different institution than your MSc., so changing supervisor/institution is almost expected.

  • If you can, I would also definitely mention to your supervisor the paper you want to write. It will be good for your CV and it is also good for your supervisor, so I don't hesitate to push that through if you can. Having a MSc. publication can make a big difference when you apply for scholarships or for your career in general.

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All of these things are good to do. You are not expected to stay at the same institution for your whole academic career, it is normal to move around.

Definitely send a thank you, tell them about your plans for the PhD and paper. If they have other ideas for your future, they can certainly share their thoughts as part of their response if they have anything they want to share. There is no harm in asking about the paper. If they are not interested, you can always see if there are other ways to pursue this.

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