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After a Skype conversation and several correspondences with an Irish professor, the professor wrote that he will take me as PhD student.

Although we had agreed on which project to work on and we planned to discuss about research questions, we have yet to discuss about research questions and proposal. As I feel that he was really busy, I wrote him research questions to ask for his comment without having any prior discussion and mentioned that I need to make a decision if I am going to his University end of this month. Following that, he mentioned that I can put in Online application, will direct HR to advise me on Visa application, and maybe we would have another Skype conversation last Friday. In the email, he also sent me two papers and mentioned one research area of particular interest to be included as research questions.

However, the research area is really very new to me and so I told him in the last correspondence and ask him about time to have Skype conversation last Friday. I didn't hear from him since.

I really interested to go to his university. Now, Should I put in online application first or I should forget about this opportunity and move on?

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Don't panic. The fact that you haven't heard back from him shouldn't be interpreted as a sign that he has lost interest in working with you. It's summer, and academics often take vacations or travel to conferences in the summer. It often happens that they take much longer to reply to emails.

Go ahead with anything that you already know you have to do, such as submitting the online application. It doesn't sound like any urgent action is needed from the professor - you just want to chat with him about research when he has time - so just wait for him to respond. If you don't hear anything within another week, send another email.

  • Thank you for your comment. I am wondering if he has lost interest because I expressed the research area is really very new to me and he wanted to catch up but then went quite. – user38020 Aug 4 '15 at 11:11
  • @user38020: That's unlikely, unless he's a huge jerk. You are far enough along that if he had changed his mind about working with you, he should say so directly. – Nate Eldredge Aug 4 '15 at 11:29
  • Hi, Nate Eldredge, I proceed with Online application but then realised that I cannot complete the application without research proposal. It was planned to discuss about research questions (and hence research proposal) last Friday but I didn't get to discuss with the Prof at the end. – user38020 Aug 12 '15 at 4:29
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Last Friday is not too far away from today and you haven't done anything to clarify the situation to throw the white flag. Persistence is IMHO one of the most valuable traits for a researcher, if not the most.

You professor simply might have been busy, out of the office or out of town or similar. I suggest you to make at least several attempts to contact him, preferably using different channels. Even better, before bombarding him with phone calls or e-mail messages, simply contact the secretary at his department and inquire about his work schedule. Hope this helps. Good luck!

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While I know several people, some on this site, who rejected an offer after having accepted it. I'm not aware of any professor who rejected a student after having agreed to take him/her for PhD. So I guess it still happens, but very very rare.

Since that professor already agreed to take you as student. Unless, you do something really really crazy, there is nothing to worry about.

One week is nothing, there was a lecturer in my old group, who often replied my emails after one month. Luckily he was not my PhD advisor.

  • Thanks. I hope I can get the offer. If a potential supervisor replied emails after every one or two months, is it a sight that I should look for other supervisor? – user38020 Aug 4 '15 at 11:37
  • @user38020 As Nate've said, it's summer now, so even 1 month is not very uncommon. What I mean is professors often keep their words. However, having a plan B is always good, and maybe you can get offer from a better school :) – qsp Aug 4 '15 at 14:10

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