I have applied to 6 funded PhD projects in fairly broad areas. I had an interview for the first one just over a week ago and it didn’t feel like it wen’t well and I never heard back from them. The second one was day before yesterday and they have emailed me this morning with an offer, asking me to get back to them by Monday. I am still waiting to find out if I have been shortlisted by the other 4, which are at two local universities. I am not sure what the etiquette is here.

In an ideal situation I would love to know which programmes wanted to make me an offer so I can pick between them but realise I have this time limitation and realise they need to make an offer to someone else if not to me.


4 Answers 4


It is hard to predict the outcome but one option is to see where you are on Monday and either accept the offer or ask them for "a few more days" to consider your options. This seems early to me to be asking for final decisions, however.

And, the world isn't an ideal place. On Monday you may want to settle it, especially if this place is desirable, which I assume since you applied there.

And, since they will take care of themselves and their own interests, I think you should do the same.

Also, there is a generally useful piece of advice that may apply here: "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."


You can explain the situation. It is perfectly reasonable for you to look at multiple options. They may give you a bit more time or maybe not, but if they would hold it against you you really would not want them to be your supervisor.


You don't say where you are, and the answer may depend on this, but from a UK point of view:

  • the first one may well still get back to you. The time between interview and offer could well be longer than a week, even if you are a first-choice candidate. (Offers may need to be approved by a committee, not just by the people who interviewed you.)
  • The second seems to be acting unusually quickly. In particular, I would expect you to be given more time to make a decision. Obviously it is good for them (particularly if you are going to say no) to get a decision as soon as possible. But quite possibly more time is available if you ask.

I think it is probably not feasible to wait until you get a decision from any of the later places. But if you would prefer the first position, I think it is worth asking the second place for a few extra days to decide and informing the first place that you have an offer from elsewhere but would consider an offer from them if it arrived before the new deadline. They may well be able to speed the process up in these circumstances (but doing that by Monday is very unlikely now, unless they were about to make an offer anyway).


I don't see an issue with asking them for more time OR agreeing to the current offer and then later down the line declining it when / if you get a better one. Just don't sign anything yet.

Just one bit of unasked advice: Do not accept an offer for the lack of a better one and "just to do a PhD". You will not finish it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .