You had the doctoral interview and now you are in the waiting stage after you finished the interview. I am sure that you are asking yourself, “how long should you wait to hear from the selection committee on your PhD interview?”
It is reasonable to wait anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to hear back from the selection committee on your PhD interview. It varies a lot depending on how put together the university is on their selection process and how many applicants that the university is looking at. (Once you are done reading this post, you should look at the longer post of PhD interviews).
Why does it take so long to hear back from a PhD interview?
Guaranteed that you are freaking out right now. I do when I wait to hear back from any selection committee. What a stressful time for you! I know that you are wondering why it takes so long to hear back from the selection committee. The ultimate truth is that you are paying more attention to the time than the selection committee is. You have to see it from their perspective: They have probably done this job several times before, and it feels like a job to them. Not to diminish the importance of your waiting, but the selection committee just as a different perspective than you do.
The other thing that you have to think about is that the selection process generally has to go through many ‘hoops’ and administrative discussions before they can communicate back to you. The university that you are waiting to hear back from has to double and triple check that they have the resources to fund your doctoral journey. They also want to make sure that you are the right person for the position. (You should read this post we wrote on what PhD students do all day – you might be surprised.)
Should you send a thank you email after PhD interview?
Absolutely. You should send a nice note to everyone that you talk to during the interview process. You should likely send this email about 1-5 days after your interview. It should say something like this, “Dear so and so, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the discussion with you. I looked further into what you were talking about, and your research interests. I very much enjoyed the research article on blaa. Most importantly, I want to say thank you for having the discussion with me and sharing your time. I know that you are very busy, and that spending even a bit of time with me, has inspired my doctoral journey. Best, Student.
No Response on the PhD Interview?
If you get no response after a period of time (say 2 months) after the PhD interview, I would move on. This generally means that you likely did not get the position, or you were put on a wait-list. It is likely that the person forgot to contact you.
If you want to make sure, you can prompt your contact during the PhD interview once again about how you enjoyed the PhD interview, and whether the position is still open. I would be quite subtle with this prompt, and wait a bit of time before you sent it.
If you need help on tips for applying to PhD programs and help through the whole process, you should check out this video:
Remember, getting a PhD position is generally very difficult, so don’t feel bad about not getting the position. If I were you, I would ‘try, try again,’ until you find the position you were looking for! The career is all about persistence, and the sooner you learn this idea, the more prepared you are going to be for research. You got this! If you don’t believe me, you should watch this video that I made that might help:
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