How to Find a PhD in Europe?

By Irem Bezcioglu Göktolga

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Now that you have (almost) finished your Master’s degree, and you have realised that what you want to do from now on includes doing research, writing articles, being with other academics and maybe teaching university students. Then, it is time you search for a PhD programme! But how?!

Using PhDPortal

You are always welcome to use our website, PhdPortal, which offers more than 2,700 PhDs in Europe. You can click on the website, and then select the discipline you want to study and search. You will be directed to a list of PhD programmes within your selected field. You can click on a programme and read more detailed information. You can also check the “Requirements” section and start your application process.

You can also read more about the countries with universities offering doctorate degrees.

Besides that, if you consider Europe as an option to pursue your PhD studies, you can try some alternative ways, as well.

In Europe, a PhD is considered a full-time job

First of all, it is important to note that a PhD is considered to be a full-time job in many of the universities in Europe, which means that you will be an employee of the university throughout your PhD studies. This may be the most reasonable option for you; you do not need to worry about financial aspects as you will be paid for the research you are supposed to conduct. If you are willing to take this option, you should check the websites of the universities regularly. The university websites have sections such as “Vacancies” and “Job Opportunities”. If you check these sections, you can learn whether there are any

openings related to your field of study. You'll also find on the page the requirements and application process and will have the opportunity to apply for a position.

Browse through 5,154 PhD programmes

Be proactive with your PhD application

However, unfortunately, there may not always be PhD positions that you are willing to take up. In this case, you should take the responsibility and work harder. You should first search for the universities that have the postgraduate degree programme you want to study. After that, you should check the research conducted in the department, publications and profiles of professors in the programme. If there is any specific type of research that you are eager to be involved, you should contact the department, most of the times the professor who is responsible for the project. You can start with an e-mail to him/her. In this e-mail, you can send your CV and a motivation letter including the topic that you want to study. This will make your e-mail look more professional. Please do not forget to ask if he/she has a position/project for you. If this process is positive, you can start with your PhD adventure.

University rankings can help you decide

Some university rankings place significant importance on research conducted by universities and research funding available. You may be able to find the best universities for a PhD by checking out these rankings. The most famous rankings that place the most emphasis on research are World University Rankings by Times Higher Education and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by Shanghai University. Just make sure rankings don't end up dictating your final decision!

These are some of the alternatives that help you find a PhD programme. There can be other options, so it is always reasonable not to underestimate the value of discussion forums, online student groups, testimonials of other students.

Good luck!

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