I have applied for a PhD position at a university in UK at the end of January (in time before the deadline, which was also at the end of January). Shortly after, I was invited to an interview, which (in my opinion) went quite well. However, since then I haven't heard anything. So, it is now approximately 12-13 week since I submitted my application and approimately 9-10 weeks since I had my interview. There is also a online system where one can check the application status, but it hasn't changes since I firstly signed up.

This is my first PhD-application, so I have no idea how long it usually takes and I also have no idea about the university system in UK. However, on the homepage of the university they wrote that it usually takes a "few weeks", so I am beginning to worry a little bit.

After how much time is it not too impolite to write an email to the admission comitee? At their homepage, they wrote that one should not ask questions like "How long does it take?" or "Do you have already a decision?", which I of course totally understand, but at some point I think I should ask in order to check if nothing went wrong with my application...

2 Answers 2


I think it would be very appropriate to send a follow up email directly to your potential advisor at the University after this amount of time. In my experience Professors and admission committees are often extremely busy and it is not unusual for these admission decisions and processes to take multiple months before being finalized. In my experience a politely worded follow up email has never been poorly received and often serves as a good reminder to the admission committee that you are an eager and interested applicant. I would avoid being pushy or frustrated about how long the decision process has been taking and instead use the follow up email as an opportunity to remind the committee of your interests and skills and update them on any new accomplishments, projects, publications, or courses you have been part of since you applied.

I recommend sending a polite inquiry to the primary professor you are hoping to be working with. I would keep the follow up email fairly short. Reiterate your interest in the position, ask if they need any additional information from you, and attach any updates you have like new publications or revised versions of your CV that might be relevant.

I have always found that consistent and polite communication with potential advisors is an important part of the process of finding a good fit between yourself and a supervisor. If you do find that your follow up email is poorly received or if you don't hear back from your potential supervisor it's probably a good sign that this wouldn't be a good fit for you in the long run. When selecting a PhD position it's important that you enjoy working with your advisors and feel comfortable communicating with them or it will make your PhD experience very long and uncomfortable overall.

Additionally, I think a follow up email restating your interests is advisable even if they have already filled the position as you never know when another unexpected opportunity might pop up. Often times you will not be selected for a position you originally apply on but a Professor may recommend you contact someone else in the department who has an interesting project or opportunity that is a better fit.

Overall, I think a follow up email is an excellent idea at this point, you never know what might come of it! Good luck!


There has been plenty of time, actually, assuming the deadlines for application has passed.

It is appropriate now to ask for an update on your application. You can also ask if there is anything more you need to provide.

But you might also consider waiting unless there is a reason for wanting an answer beyond anxiety. If there are other offers you need to consider or planning for attendance, then you have a need to know.

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