I have contacted a potential PhD supervisor and he sent me back that I appear to be a motivated and interested student but his funding does not allow him to supplement a student at PhD level. However, I have my own funds, and I intend to fund myself through my PhD studies for 1 year. How do I raise this issue formally with him?

  • 2
    What do you plan to do for the second and subsequent years? Can you self-fund all the way through? Nov 16 '16 at 7:35
  • 1
    Did you tell him that you had funds for one year?
    – Davidmh
    Nov 16 '16 at 8:04
  • The best option would be to seek more for another funded PhD positions.
    – Nikey Mike
    Nov 16 '16 at 13:44
  • Perhaps the poster already knows this, or it's not relevant in their field, but it's worth pointing out that "funding" implies more than just the grad student's salary. Depending on the field the additional costs may be large. For example, a straightforward PhD in biology involving animal work and molecular biology might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the graduate students' stipends being a drop in the bucket. Be sure you know what you are getting in to with "self-funding"
    – iayork
    Nov 16 '16 at 18:14

If a professor says "my funding does not allow me to supplement a student at the PhD level," he is explicitly saying that he cannot take on another student due to lack of funding. It's implied as a prospective PhD student that you are simultaneously looking for funding when applying to schools and/or contacting potential advisors.

That being said, you have mentioned that your situation is different than the norm. By all means, reply back thanking him for his consideration and bring up the fact that you have your own funding and exactly how long you plan to self-fund yourself. Perhaps he will be able to take you on, perhaps not.

Personal side note: Before responding to him, make sure you are certain about self-funding, even for a year. It costs quite a bit just to attend a PhD program, let alone to live during that year. There's a reason that the expectation of PhD programs (or advisors) is to offer funding to their accepted students. As a student, handling graduate-level studies and research can be stressful; handling money issues on top of that can sometimes be too much.

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