PhD Interview Questions & Prep

Short a sweet – here are some questions to think about before your PhD interview.

Posted by Danny Schnitzler on January 09, 2021 · 2 mins read

Questions I was asked

  • Why do you want a PhD? Why this one in particular?
  • What makes you a suitable candidate?
  • What did you do to troubleshoot in your experiment?
  • What is a hypothesis? Can it be proved?
  • What determines if you are successful (do you know how tough it is to get funding)?
  • Where do you see your career after your PhD going?

Questions I asked

  • Will I have the opportunity to present (e.g. conferences – travel grant?, lab meetings,…) Opportunity to be involved in teaching/ demonstrating/ leading tutorials undergrads Opportunity to supervise students in due course?
  • What is the lab environment like e.g. post docs, other PhD students,… (good question to ask an individual supervisor, rather than the panel)

Questions to ask yourself

  • Do I like the university, do I feel I will be supported?
  • Do I like the supervisor?
  • Do I like the city?
  • Do I like the project?

It will entirely depend on your circumstances, but I would suggest that you rank picking a PhD project like this:

  1. Supervisor. Having a good, supportive supervisor is incredibly important. Speak to other students and post-docs if you can and ask what it’s like working for this supervisor.
  2. City. Having a bad week in the lab? That’s okay. Take a break and go do something fun. You don’t want to be miserable in the place you live if you are miserable in the lab.
  3. Project. Yes, of course your project is important. Find something you are interested in and will be passionate about. But your project can change. It will go in directions you never expected.