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Is a PhD Right for Me?

A comprehensive approach to considering, applying for, or beginning doctoral study in the UK.

585 enrolled on this course

A group of three doctoral graduates in regalia and waving their bonnets.

Is a PhD Right for Me?

585 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Prepare for a PhD in the UK.

Are you considering applying for a doctoral programme in the UK? Do you want guidance as you take your first steps towards a PhD?

This three-week course from the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange is designed to provide information and advice for anyone deciding whether doctoral study is the right path for them.

Swapping myths and misconceptions for useful tips and resources, this course will help you prepare for PhD applications and beyond.

Decide whether doctoral study is for you

Week 1 of the course is aimed at helping you work out whether to pursue a PhD. You’ll be given a basic overview of essential aspects of the decision, including personal, practical, and financial considerations.

To help you decide, you’ll complete a series of reflection tasks.

Get guidance on finding opportunities and applying

Once you know whether doctoral study is right for you, you’ll begin working on making that decision a reality.

Week 2 of the course will provide guidance on making a PhD application. You’ll learn how to seek out opportunities, put together a research proposal, find the right supervisor and apply to an institution or research project.

Learn how to manage life as a PhD student

In the final week of the course, you’ll get ready to take on day-to-day life as a doctoral candidate.

You’ll discover strategies to help you work efficiently, manage your wellbeing, and maintain a good working relationship with your supervisor. You’ll also get advice on potential career paths after your PhD.

At the end of the course, you’ll be ready to take the first steps on your PhD journey.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds It’s a journey into the unknown, if you like, doing a PhD.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds I think a lot of people have misconceptions about what a PhD entails, what is needed for a PhD, what background you need to have, how smart you need to be. This course is great to help people start with the right frame of mind. It explains what that entails, what you can do afterwards, what kind of challenges you might anticipate. There’s so much advice and insight in this course, which is of use during your first year. This course is not just for people thinking about doing a PhD. It’s going to ensure that expectations are managed properly and their eyes are open to what’s involved in a PhD.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds And I think that all of these things will potentially have a benefit throughout the whole PhD process, not just at that beginning, but they will keep people better on track all the way through because of a better grounding and a better orientation to what it’s all about from the start. ‘Is a PhD Right for Me?’ is a three-week online course that gives you the foundation to answer that question with confidence. Please join us.


  • Week 1

    Considering doctoral study

    • Welcome to the course!

      This course can help you take the first steps towards deciding whether doctoral study is the right choice for you.

    • The Basics: Who, What, Why

      We start with the basics: who does a PhD, what is a PhD and why does anyone do one?

    • Practical Matters

      A focus on special preparation and goals relevant to individual circumstances.

    • Finance and Funding

      Money, money, money! Like it or not, finance and funding are vital factors in considering doctoral study. Here is some information that might help you.

    • End of Week 1

      It's the end of Week 1. We draw together the key advice and look back at what we've done and discovered.

  • Week 2

    Applying for doctoral study

    • Welcome to Week 2!

      Introduction to the week's learning

    • Research

      All about research, your research idea, ethics and proposals.

    • Supervisors

      How to find and contact a potential supervisor.

    • Applications

      The various types of application you may need to prepare and submit.

    • End of Week 2

      Reflecting back on the week's learning.

  • Week 3

    Life during doctoral study

    • Welcome to Week 3!

      An introduction to the week's learning

    • Managing work-life balance

      We look at ways to manage time, studies and work-life balance.

    • Supervisors and Support

      A look at the various support in place for PhD students, especially the supervisor.

    • Wellbeing

      We look at mental health and dealing with crises during your studies.

    • Life After PhD

      All about careers and life post-PhD.

    • End of the Course

      Looking back over Week 3 and the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on your own needs and goals
  • Investigate opportunities
  • Practice pitching your ideas
  • Apply what you've learned to real world scenarios
  • Critique different approaches

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at prospective, pre-enrolment, and current doctoral candidates across all subjects and disciplines.

It will suit undergraduate, postgraduate, and mature students based in any country who are hoping to pursue a PhD in the UK.

Who will you learn with?

Nancy is a Digital Learning Specialist with the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange and Architela.

Who developed the course?

Bloomsbury Learning Exchange

The Bloomsbury Learning Exchange (BLE) is a digital education service, bringing together expertise to share good practice and enable collaboration on technology enhanced learning projects. We are a partnership comprising six Higher Education Institutions in Bloomsbury, central London: Birkbeck, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Royal Veterinary Collage, SOAS, UCL and The University of London.

  • Established

  • Location


In collaboration with

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SOAS logo
London School of Hygeine & Tropical Medicine logo

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$79/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 9 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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