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I am an EU citizen currently working in a field completely unrelated to academia. I have been interesting in returning to academia for a number of years now, and finally plan on applying for a PHD. My interested topic is counter-extremism and re-integration of combatants.

My plan is to start a PHD anytime between September 2023-December 2023.

Right now I have an idea of a topic - counter-extremism and re-integration of armed combatants -. but I first have to do my own literature review to identify gaps and knowledge.

I am also planning on doing 2 months of travelling between February 2023 - April 2023.

Right now my plan is this: To begin the literature review this week ,to quit my current job by 1st January, to finalise the literature review and research proposal by mid-end of January. Then to go travelling for 2 months..... then to return in April and go 'all in' with applications with the hope of securing a programme that begins in September - December.

My fear is that I am taking a risk by going travelling in February and March and significantly decreasing my chances of getting into a PHD by the fall, simply because April will be leaving it too late.

I know that PHD application's in Europe have much more random dates and deadlines than the U.S., but would appreciate any thoughts or guidance here. Thanks.

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    I think that step one would be to find a supervisor who could and would be willing to supervise you. With this time scale you could think about acquiring your own funding.
    – Dirk
    Nov 20 at 19:13
  • I agree with @Dirk, about the supervisor. You are probably spinning your wheels (wasting effort) unless you find a supervisor who will guide you and an institution that will accept you. You don't need to take all those steps to find a supervisor. Presumably you have a masters, which is probably required.
    – Buffy
    Nov 20 at 20:02
  • To add to the other comments, there really is a big difference in finding a PhD position in the sense of finding someone to supervise you (which is doable in the time frame) and finding a paid PhD position or stipend or other type of funding (which will be much more difficult). Would just a position (whithout funding) do? Nov 21 at 7:43
  • Don't quit your job until you have a funded PhD offer in hand!
    – astronat
    Nov 22 at 14:38
  • Thank you for the replies. Norway and Denmark are the countries I intend on applying, and my understanding is that PHD students are paid like full time employees.
    – Brian C
    21 hours ago

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