I was wondering that when there is a call for application for PhD candidates, how much of theory on a particular field does the professor usually expect the candidate to know?

I have seen situations discussed here itself, where the professors were interested in hiring applicants who already are well versed with the theory behind the project they are applying to. Is this universal? Or is that a particular case and there are others who allow the applicant to get used to the theory in the field in, say, 0.5-1 year or so.

Also, does it matter in terms of whether the candidate is a international applicant?

Edit: I narrowed the field I'm most interested in to be Computer Science. My target area for sending the applications is EU countries. With respect to the international applicant part, I am from India.

closed as too broad by Johanna, scaaahu, Shion, jakebeal, Mad Jack Jul 22 '15 at 3:13

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Seemingly some people like downvoting before a question has been answered without leaving reasons. – Roy Jul 22 '15 at 1:22
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    They are probably downvoting for the same reason I'm voting to close. The question is too broad as it stands. The answer depends on the subject area, the country, the funding source, and the particular professor. There is no one right answer. – Johanna Jul 22 '15 at 1:35
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    I narrowed down the field and prospective country - although I thought a more general answer existed. If it still remains unanswerable then by all means suggest what I can add more to improve it - or go ahead and close it. – Roy Jul 22 '15 at 2:09

When you apply for a Ph.D position, you are in competition with other applicants. Obviously, if another applicant is already familiar with the topic, it is an advantage that he has over you. However, this should not be the only criteria for choosing who will fill the position. For example, if you have better publications than another applicant even if you are less familiar with the field, one may prefer you because you may have a higher potential for publications. To summarize, it is an advantage if you are familiar with the topic. However, whether it is a requirement depends on the professor. Personnally, as a CS professor, I would still be open to hire top students if they are not exactly working in my field. And conversely, if a student has a weak profile but is related to my field, I would probably not hire him.

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