Are you interested in applying for a world-class, multidisciplinary PhD at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Smart Medical Imaging? In the lead-up to our first application deadline on 18 January, we asked current students to share their top tips and advice about two key steps of the process.
1. Writing a strong supporting statement
The supporting statement is one of the most important documents to prepare at this stage. The template provided allows you to highlight your research interests and the qualities that make you an ideal candidate.
Natasha Patel, first-year CDT student said: “In the statement, I focused on why I’m interested in doing a PhD at this CDT programme and why I wanted to pursue my chosen field of medical imaging, getting across my passion for it and how it relates to my previous experiences.”
Jill Tang, who is also in her first year at the CDT, used the personal statement as an opportunity to explain why she had the potential to complete and thrive in a PhD programme by drawing on past experiences and referring to specific personality traits.
1. Preparing for your interview
Following the application deadline, selected candidates will be invited to online interviews conducted by a panel of three academics.
The interviews will consist of a CV discussion, a presentation and an article discussion (each stage lasting 20 minutes and potentially taking place on different days).
The key to a strong performance during the CV discussion is to be prepared to talk confidently about each of your academic and professional experiences.
Renyang Gu, third year CDT student said interviewers were especially interested in hearing about past research placements: “In my interview, I highlighted my qualifications that led to the placement opportunity and what I learned from it. In other words, I used this section to “sell myself”.
First year student Felix Horger shared advice including being able to discuss your bachelors, or masters project in detail and highlight the connection between your previous studies and the research you would pursue at the CDT.
The article discussion task will focus on one out of a selection of studies sent to you in advance. You will be asked to give a brief overview of its content before going on to discuss it with the panel.
Robert Holland, currently on his second year at the CDT, recalled being asked a set of rigorous questions by the interviewers, which tested his understanding of the maths and figures in the paper – this shows the importance of allocating time to the careful study of the research prior to your interview.
In addition to having a good grasp of the data, candidates can use this task to showcase critical thinking skills: “Interviewers do not expect you to believe every sentence in the paper; show that you have your own opinions”, Jill Tang said.
In your presentation, the third interview component, you will have ten minutes to discuss a recent project you have either completed, or are currently working on, followed by questions from the panel.
Natasha Patel chose to present her masters project: “The panel asked a few questions of varying difficulty. Overall, this gave me a chance to showcase my chemistry knowledge and lab experience.”
High marks will be given for clear communication, a good level of understanding and ability to reply to the panel’s questions, as well as a demonstration of interest and enthusiasm for the preferred/top choice project.
Good luck to all candidates, we look forward to reading your applications!
You can listen to further advice from our students on CDT’s YouTube channel and find out more about the application process on our website.