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I am admitted to a UK university for my PhD and I am supposed to submit a proposal for the PhD topic. I reached out to a professor and he responded saying that he is interested in discussing it further and asked if I had funding. Since I am already a student there, I replied saying I am funded, however he hasnt replied to me in 2 weeks. I am getting anxious as the deadline is nearing for the submission of the proposal. I sent a follow up email (in-case my previous mail was lost).

Should I consider this as a rejection, or wait for him to respond (considering he is one of the top scientists in his field and he might be busy) or move on to another professor?

I dont want to be rude by showing up in his office or calling him.

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  • It is always advised to reach out to multiple prospects that you've selected early on when you started preparing. Now that one of those haven't replied has to do with a lot of factors including the one you mentioned. You should also move ahead with your mailing process to your next prospect. You'll have options to choose from if you happen to get positive replies from multiple professors. A side note: Even a rejection means a lot in the process. Its a part of the whole process. Feb 7 at 9:39
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    I am puzzled how can you be admitted to a PhD position without an advisor? If you have funding regardless of the subject, this is a big thing. Contact multiple professors or administrative staff for guidance. Are you on site? If yes, visiting and asking questions in person might help. Usually, professors are glad to receive a Phd student who already has funding. Feb 7 at 10:07
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    "Since I am already a student there, I replied saying I am funded." - That is not how it works in the UK.
    – Arno
    Feb 7 at 15:05
  • I'm part of a CDT (centre for doctoral training, and in my MRes year. And yes, i'm a student and dont have an advisor yet Feb 10 at 2:20

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There is nothing rude about showing up at his office for a conversation. If he has posted office hours, do it then.

Also, a follow up email, pointing out the deadline and asking for as status update isn't rude after a couple of weeks with the deadline approaching.

It would be unwise to make assumptions about rejection or acceptance, however.

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  • Thanks for your reply! I did email him again, but there has been no response. I have to travel to a different city to meet him. He is a well renowned scientist, so obviously he will be busy. But Imo, after 3 reminders over 3 weeks if he doesnt reply, then it is a reject, (after mailing, he is interested in proceeding), so i need to move on to next prof Feb 10 at 2:28
  • He might be on a long research trip. You might show up to no one. My PhD supervisor went from Texas to California one summer for a long workshop and some serious collaborations. My advice would be to contact someone in the department administrative office and ask if the professor is out for an extended period.
    – Bill Barth
    Feb 13 at 17:28

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