HONEST REVIEW | PhD candidate experience at James Cook University Singapore

In this interview, I speak to Alif, a graduate of JCU Singapore’s Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) who later joined the university as a PhD candidate.

In this review of his experience as a PhD candidate at James Cook University Singapore, Alif shares about his research, his thoughts on the admissions process to be a PhD candidate and what its like to join JCU as a PhD candidate.

And yes, we talk about the scholarships offered by JCU Singapore as well.

Here’s the TL;DR version if before you decide to invest time in watching the 36 minute long video.

Preparing to apply

The university organises a briefing session where prospective PhD candidates submit an Expression of Interest.

This is where the university reviews the prospective candidates to ensure that there are academics who are able to take on the role of supervisors. The university will then match potential supervisors with candidates.

Pro-active prospective candidates can also take the initiative to identify relevant academics to be their potential supervisor by checking out academic profiles on the JCU website.

What is Confirmation of Candidature?

PhD candidates have a provisional status during the first 6 to 12 months of their candidature. During this time, they need to show that they have the capabilities to undertake this endeavour and their research project is situated within the larger area of research and can add new knowledge.

Candidates will have to work on two main documents during this period:

  • Research proposal
  • Literature review

The research proposal is where you write about what methods you plan to use, who you want to sample and how you plan on using the data.

Whereas the literature review identifies the particular gap in the body of knowledge that will be addressed by you research.

Do PhD candidates attend classes?

Different countries have different systems. In the Australian education system, there are no coursework and classes per se, but you can attend workshops. Candidates are thrust straight into the research component right away.

Does it get lonely?

There are times when it can get lonely, especially when you need to do your literature reviews.

However, there is a community of support.

PhD candidates in JCU have an office space which allows for some interaction. On top of that, there is a WhatsApp group chat and monthly tea sessions organised by the Research Office at the Singapore campus of James Cook University which the Associate Dean of Research, the Research Support and other candidates together.

Want to know what the university is like for undergraduates instead? Head over to this post: James Cook University Singapore Review.

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