I am a last year student at the Moscow State University (I study maths). At our university there are two somewhat similar mathematical faculties: Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics (this is where I study at the moment) and the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics - CMC for short.

After almost five years of study, when the time came to think about what will my PhD research topic be and where to apply for PhD study, I started to investigate possible options and eventually found that all the chairs that are close to my interest are of the CMC faculty. So I started contacting professors from CMC, attending their courses, detailing my interests and asking them whether they are interested in teaching me etc.

To my disappointment, all three persons whom I've contacted so far said that my interests are close to theirs, that they may have been interesting in working with me but, unfortunately, they have many students of their own, they have many applications and it would be difficult for me to find a PhD student position at their chair.

I also want to mention that I consider myself a decent student - I have a top mark in absolutely every course I've attended during my 5 - year study. Still, no one seems to want to even bother taking a "foreign" student (or even recommending me to some fellow scientists who may be less busy with students). I don't know what is the reason for this and how to overcome this, and after several refuses I feel demoralised and close to abandoning the very idea of a PhD study. Maybe you can give me some advice on what could help?

Thank you very much in advance.

  • 9
    Have you considered studying at another university, either in Russia or abroad? If you must stay in Moscow for personal reasons, then you are going to have much more limited options.
    – Moriarty
    Dec 4 '14 at 13:38
  • 6
    @Boris The norm in applying for PhD programs in most countries is to move from your masters/undergraduate institution. Your odds may actually improve, and you would have so many more opportunities to play those odds.
    – Tim
    Dec 4 '14 at 17:16
  • 13
    @Moriarty Please excuse me for reanimating a relatively old topic, but I just wanted to say thank you to you, people, who gave advice - after some meetings, research and letters to different labs I was eventually awarded a full scholarship at the University of Sheffield! Seems odd to me that nobody was really interested in me here, but I guess that's just the way my country works...
    – Vossler
    Mar 13 '15 at 7:24
  • 3
    Congratulations! I wish you an enjoyable and successful time abroad.
    – Moriarty
    Mar 13 '15 at 8:22
  • 2
    @Boris, Great, congrats! Would you mind answering your own question and marking that as answered? Otherwise the question keeps hanging in the unanswered category ;)
    – A.S
    Jun 19 '15 at 16:23

Just in order to formally mark this question as resolved:

Thanks a lot to the people that showed concern in the comments! The things have worked out pretty good for me. The thing that I've personally learned from this struggle is that one should explore all the possible options, knock on every possible door and keep trying - if you are really interested in your subject, there will always be somebody who will be ready to share your interest.

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