What a PhD really is in simple terms

For people who don't know,

  1. An UG/PG degree with a minimum of 65%
  2. A research aptitude

Marks really doesn't matter much when you apply fot PhD, it's majorly why you want to do a PhD and any experience in terms of any sort of research you conducted during UG/PG/Job experience.

A student just after his/her bachelor's can also apply for a PhD. Masters isn't a compulsion for getting accepted for PhD.

To apply for a PhD, you need the following documents,

  1. Transcript of past degree
  2. Motivation Statement (Statement of Purpose
  3. Letter of Recommendations
  4. Research Proposal
  5. Resume


Eligibility for PhD in general for UK is,

  1. PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy
  2. A person can do PhD in any area of education and it basically is assumed that you will be an expert in that selected area. By selected area, I don't mean like expert in whole History if you chose History or expert in everything in Electrical Engineering. It will be an extremely narrowed down area within a field of your choice.
  3. A PhD in general is 3 yrs long, in some cases 4 as well.
  4. There isn't any sort of coursework in PhD, except a special 4 yr CDT, which I will explain later.
  5. Your PhD will basically be like you will come up with a question yourself which has not been answered before, or not clearly explained or can be improved further and you will try to answer it by a continuous research, a lot of reading, experimental demonstrations (if required), etc.
  6. There is no written exam to get a PhD. You are supposed to write a dissertation at the end which is generally 80,000 words or so, and then go for an oral defense in front of an external examiner (s) who are actual experts in that area. They evaluate your work, ask you questions and figure out if this is a real work and you haven't just copied from past dissertations.

Types of PhD and How to Apply?

There are various forms of PhD in UK and multiple paths to apply for them.

As most of you will already be in UK doing a program, one simple way is staying in touch with professors who will be teaching you and accept PhD students as well. You can work under them during your bachelors or masters program as an assistant to gain some research experience which will later help you get a PhD.
Second way is check out available positions in different universities. You can visit or These two websites advertise open PhD positions throughout UK along with funding status, last date, etc. If you find a PhD suitable to you, I would suggest you to drop an enquiry mail to the professor in the advertised position showing your interest in that position and discuss the idea before submitting your application. This increases chances of you getting accepted.
Another way is if you have your own idea, you prepare a proposal and start dropping enquiry mails to different professors working in that area in different universities asking if they are accepting PhD students.
There is another PhD called a 4-yr CDT PhD, which basically has 1 yr of coursework and then 3 yrs of research. These PhDs are funded by EPSRC (UK Research Council) and are 95% reserved for UK students only but are always worth a try.

Funding a PhD

Now talking about funding, a PhD can either be fully funded, partially funded or self funded.
Most of the PhDs are partially funded, very few fully funded for international students and self funded PhDs are easy to get but isn't much valuable, because professors happily accept self funded PhD since you are going to pay for everything and they have to do nothing for you.
Fully funded PhD means you get your tuition fee waived off and a stipend of almost £1200 per month.
Partially funded generally is your tuition fee is waived off. No stipend.
Self-funded is you will pay tuition fee for 3 yrs and obviously no stipend.
Apart from already funded projects, there are outside orgnaisations and charities as well that fund research within PhD.
One of the most common one is Commonwealth Scholarship and Tata Trust. You can google about charities and organisations funding PhD to find out more about them. These fundings and scholarships are generally for people coming with new ideas and a new research proposal and extremely competitive, not at all easy to get.

Hey guys, already started packing your bags? How about a list of things that you should carry?
Disclaimer - The things mentioned below are from my personal experience (female students will have much more things to carry, not stereotyping, it's truth).


A little about UK Weather


I hope I don't need to specify this, but UK has a very harsh winter, especially the more you move towards North, the more it will get colder. UK's weather can have a random shift any minute, but the forecasting here are pretty much close to accurate. It can be sunny right now, and it can start raining heavily in next 10 mins. So, you need to pack accordingly. The more you move upwards (Scotland and North Ireland), the colder and rainier it will get. So, plan your packing accordingly.


Clothes and Shoes


If you are buying according to the winters in non-hilly regions of India, it may not work well for you here in the UK. But since you will be landing in almost end of September, it will start getting cold around here, so I would suggest you to carry at least 1 good jacket/jumper with you because you will need it. Apart from that, some of things that you should carry includes,


Formal Wear - At least 1 formal wear such as a suit for formal events such as conferences.


Ethnic Wear - At least 1 ethnic wear like a Kurta representing your culture for various cultural and social events.


Shirts, T-Shirts, Jeans, Shorts, Workout Clothes and Trousers - As much as you want


Sweaters and Hoodies - They are always comfortable to be in (at least for me, hope for others too as well).


You may also need some hangers to keep your clothes. Depends on your personal requirements.


Regarding Shoes, carry at least a pair of formal shoes, a pair of sports shoes and a pair of slippers. Rest, it depends on what else you like in footwear but these 3 are something you will need regularly.




Before taking up any Beddings, confirm from the accommodation you have booked or are going to book, about what all do they already have. Some accommodations provide you with a duvet and pillow, some don't. Accordingly, plan the bedding you want to carry.


Things that you would want to carry are Bedsheets, pillow covers, Duvet (if not provided by the accommodation), and a duvet cover.


If you are going for a university accommodation, some universities have a pre-fixed Bedroom kit for students with all the necessary things and those are really good deals. Check your university's accommodation website or drop them an e-mail to find out about it. You can book them in advance, and they will be there in the room the moment you arrive.




Things to carry for kitchen depends on are you going to cook or not? I am assuming most of us would cook at least up to some extent. I cook all 3 of my meals, and some of the basic things to carry includes a pressure cooker, a fry pan, a saucepan, a few dish plates, a few bowls (both large and small), cutlery (spoon, fork, knife), spatula and other bigger spoons as per your requirement.


Also, enquire about things already available in the kitchen for public use. Generally, a toaster, microwave, oven, is there for everyone to use. You may have to carry your own kettle. You can buy a chopping board and a knife set once you are here.


Again, some universities have a pre-fixed kits for students taking up university accommodations, with everything you need. You can enquire about it and book it in advance. It is much better, cheaper, good quality and saves a lot of weight in your bag.


Apart from utensils, you can carry some basic food items like dry snacks you like. Don't carry something with liquid, it may get thrown away if stopped for security check after immigration at the airport. Almost everything, like ready-made packets of authentic Indian dishes are easily available in Tesco, but there is no harm in carrying a week-long buffer with you.




Carry all your transcripts, degree and certifications. You will need them. Carry at least 1-2 ID proofs with your signature on it, because you will need them when paying by your Indian debit/credit cards in the UK.


Personal suggestion, leave a set of xerox at home and keep a scanned copy on your google drive. It helps!




I hope, I don't have to tell you to carry your laptop, phone, earphone/headphones with you. You can carry hard-drives and pen-drive depending on your need as well. I have been asked a lot of times if buying a laptop better in UK or should they bring it from India. Just compare the prices on and or You will find out what suits you more.


One most important thing I would suggest is, since you will be bringing in electronics, the plug points in UK are different (google it to find the shape of plug points in UK). Carry 2-3 universal adapters, you will need them here.


I would suggest you to carry a universal extension cord/multi-plug as well, you will need it in room.


Other stuff


You may want to carry some of your books.


Carry some stationery and notebooks, these are a little expensive in the UK. These are small things and can easily be carried.


Carry some of your toiletries (shampoo, body wash, etc that suits you).


These are some of the basic things that I would suggest you to carry.

When B.R Ambedkar and other extraordinary minds of our country endeavoured to draft the lengthiest Constitution in the world, we can only imagine that their interpretation of freedom of speech and expression might have widely differed from ours, in this present day and age. As a country that boasts of the alleged privilege that its citizens seem to enjoy, the word democracy ends up getting lost in the many mazes created by those who do little to protect the interest of human lives and the dignity we are promised when we are warmly enveloped in the arms of Mother India. I say Mother because it is this very amount of respect that women seemed to have lost, throughout the country and it is this exact respect that is glorified and ultimately destroyed, when a mastermind creates a work of art, hoping to convey to the people the richness of the culture that we see but rarely bask in.


The past few weeks have been tumultuous, for not just the film industry but citizens of the country, in general. As the youth of the nation were attacked with rocks and multiple cases of rapes were reported and eventually forgotten, little was done by the promisors of our freedom of speech, art and expression to save us from the abuse we faced as a nation.


A renowned philosopher once said - "When stones are cast at good people and when the rights of honest, hard working people are trampled, we should be angry." And angry, we were. As citizens who grew up reading the constitution multiple times, only to have our mouths sewed up by the unreasonable political agendas of those who threatened our dignity, we stood unitedly against the oppressors. It was the power of the law which stood by us, the voice of the highest law making body that gave us the platform to speak and the anguish of having our children face the wrath, that made us tremble with rage.


A movie that does nothing but glorify the one of the strongest people India has ever come to see, Padmaavat continues to enamour the audience, as much as it would have before the cuts, crosses and protests. The graceful demeanour of the artists and the incredible work of one of the most respected creators in the country continues to overpower those who thought that the protection of a woman long gone justified acts like Jauhar, which added a much needed irony to the entire controversy.


Come February and a large population will end up forgetting the war of words that India fought to protect each other, but as warriors of truth and justice, upholding the ideals of our country and protecting the honour of women at large, we will continue our revolution against anyone who demeans our freedom.

— Surabhi Bhandari is a UK qualified lawyer, with an LLB (Hons.) degree from Cardiff University, Wales. As an aspiring Media & Entertainment law solicitor, she pursued the Legal Practice Course at BPP University, London, and is currently in the process of qualifying as an advocate in India, from National Law University, Delhi.She is the principal legal advisor of the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK and is actively involved in representing Indian students, abroad.

As we embarked on our 71st year of independence this year, India witnessed some laudable landmark judgments in the following weeks. India, diverse and abundant in both in its culture, beliefs, and population has long been led by its traditions and customs which have been impinging basic human rights for years along. Despite having a inclusive constitution, which acts as the cornerstone of law and order, and revered by legal academicians worldwide, the rise of communal disputes, sexual offences and ill-treatment of women in the nation called an emergence for judicial intervention.


The judgements in the week of 22 August 2017 brought with them a revolution in the perception of the Indian judiciary. On August 22, the Supreme Court struck down instant triple talaq practiced among Muslims. On August 24, the Apex Court upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right. Most heroically, the week was topped off by the sentencing of alleged God man, Ram Rahim, following a 15 year long rape case, despite the fact that 200,000 of his followers incited riots in the region. Following is my personal take on this week's judicial events as the legal game-changer:


Triple Talaq Verdict


The majority view of the bench described instant triple talaq as instant divorce which arbitrarily allowed a Muslim man to breakdown marriage whimsically. While this type of divorce is valid under Islam, by no means is it morally and now constitutionally justified. In fact, 22 majority Muslim countries have banned triple talaq on grounds of it being undesirable and improper. Triple Talaq verdict establishes a significant step towards women empowerment as it recognises the unjust and biased authority that is placed in the hands of a man to circumvent marriage for reasons he may find fit. In today's day where women across the globe have successfully overcome several challenges in various strata of the society, the fact that a Muslim woman in India faces a challenge that jeopardises a woman's right to have a say in her own intimate space such as marriage is wrong and abusive. Although, questions still hover around this topic and the judiciary must make every effort to encourage gender equality, this verdict has indeed attempted to bridge gender inequality by setting a legal case precedent that promises greater strides by the judiciary on this issue in coming years.


Right to Privacy


Internationally, privacy is considered to be fundamental to the basic values of the legal framework however, India has been circumspect to its very perception. Any individual's privacy is just as crucial as any other fundamental right stipulated under the Constitution such as right to food, shelter, life, liberty etc. However, until before this judgement, privacy was an element that could be encroached and overridden by any other fundamental right.


With the unfortunate vulnerabilities that Northern India faced in this decade, especially with respect to women, it may not be completely incorrect to assume that our society has been struggling to upgrade its status from 'developing' to 'developed' because we have been failing to recognise and respect another's personal space and choices.


The introduction of right to privacy would have effects on the intrinsic social and traditional fabric of the Indian society and it does not seem long until the apex court uses social media platforms as a testing grounds for data protection and privacy.


Ram Rahim Verdict


The judgement that literally brought the self-proclaimed Godman to knees begging for mercy! There is no novelty attached to the ideology that every person chases after authority, fame, popularity and money but the very fact that an individual believes that it is his inherent right to abuse faith and worship to extort not just money but use so-called devotees for sexual pleasure is simply satanic.


Justice Jagdeep Singh's verdict reinstates the maxim of 'Rule of Law' - nobody is above the law. As citizens of a global world and belonging to a country which is abundant with resources and talent, it has been our failure to be unable to prevent people such as Gurmeet Ram Rahim to rise. Such social fragments intrinsically degrade the reputation and humanity rendering the entire nation humiliated through their evil acts.


As mentioned above, women even today are very often silenced at every stage. When a woman is faced with a sexual violation done to her, it takes a lot of courage for her to speak up against it to either her family, and/or openly in court, or both. To muster this very courage and to stand up against someone of Gurmeet Ram Rahim's stature, the impeccable advocacy tailored by Advocate Utsav Singh Bains is a tribute to every woman who has been raped under the pretence of serving a man (who is apparently the stronger and deserving gender), or a Godman.


While the verdict is satisfactory, how many more rapes do women have to go through for the rapist mind set to completely cease? Somehow it is an accepted fashion to light candles when someone is raped, but how is it a natural consequence to burn the city down to fear conviction of a de facto wrongdoing? Girls and women are taught from a very early age that it is a wide and wild world out there and she must make sure she is safe right from stepping out of her house until she is back home and in some unfortunate cases, even whilst she is at home. Probably it is time that the wide and wild world makes an effort to allow the male human counter-part i.e. females to exercise their already existing fundamental right- right to life and right to liberty. Earlier this week, the Indian government rejected petitions to criminalise marital rape under the justification that our country faces several other problems such as illiteracy and poverty. It is imperative that the judiciary ensures that our women are specifically protected, not because they are the only ones harmed but there needs a change in mind set that can only be driven by installing strong punitive provisions against sexual offences by and large.


In conclusion, these verdicts definitely mark a sharp turn in the history of the Indian judiciary. Hoping for consistency and persistence, it will not be long until our judiciary will be widely applauded for the measures it installs and the discipline it imbibes in our system as an established, revered constitutional judiciary.

— Gayatri Rawtal, Vice President (Student Affairs), heads the legal department of NISAU. Gayatri is a UK law graduate with LLB (Hons.) degree from Queen Mary University of London. She aspires to pursue a career as a commercial solicitor and has recently completed the Legal Practice Course from the University of Law. She liaises with government and non-government stakeholders such as legal practitioners to guide international students on a myriad of queries ranging from immigration regulations to issues with education providers, loss of identity etc.

Since 1947, decade after decade, year after year, we have been celebrating the 15th of August as our Independence day in India. But, is it suitable to assume that what "independence" meant 70 years ago holds the same meaning today?


We evolve almost every day in every sphere of life- personal, social, cultural, political, economic and technological. With this rapid evolution surrounding us, this independence day, we need to redefine what independence means to us and our country. It is the time we liberate ourselves from what has been taught to us as "independence".


As a 15 year old, independence to me meant making my own decision to go to a boarding school. As a 16 year old, independence to me meant studying responsibly without external supervision and the ability to not cling to my parents.
As a 17-year-old, coming to university at Manchester, revolutionised my idea of independence. Independence at university, to me, meant not just being responsible, making my own life decisions and the ability to stay away from family- it was much beyond. Independence meant doing even the tiniest of jobs by myself - be it topping up my phone or using self-checkouts at supermarkets or figuring out that laundry was more than just the press of a button. Now, as a 20-year-old and as a diversity officer representing 40,000 students on my campus, independence to me means inclusive decision making.
Throughout my life, with every new step, my meaning of independence has changed.


The question we need to address is: Just as my definition of independence has changed along the way, with every new milestone that India has achieved, has India's meaning of independence changed?


Independence to India, in 1947, meant being liberated from the shackles of the British rule. From then on, some radical leaders have gone on to redefine India's Independence in their own fields. But, if you ask me if India is truly independent today, my answer is NO. Let me explain myself. To me, independence in a country means liberation- liberation in thoughts and liberation in actions.


If we Indians consider ourselves truly liberated in our thoughts, we wouldn't let our society judge our girls by their outfit, we wouldn't let our elders judge a boy by his personal habits, we wouldn't let our cinemas portray marginalised groups in a derogatory manner, we wouldn't scrutinise our celebrities over their personalities, we wouldn't refuse to break the taboo associated with sexual identifications and menstrual cycles.


If we considered ourselves truly liberated in our actions we wouldn't have matrimonial advertisements looking for brides with a fair complexion, we wouldn't have the vertical hierarchical structures at our workplace and we wouldn't have the need to obtain a degree to be respected or claimed intelligent.


When India liberates itself on all the above criteria and beyond, I will truly celebrate India's Independence Day. With the immensely engaging youth force of India who is constantly breaking stereotypes, every time I go back to India, I return to the UK with the positive vibe that the true Indian Independence day which I can celebrate is not too far away.


Happy Independence day- Redefine the meaning of Independence to you and your country.

— Riddi Viswanathan is from Chennai, India and is currently the elected diversity officer at the University of Manchester student's union and the executive officer of policy making and partnerships at NISAU. She believes in making a difference and working towards bringing about a positive change in India and the world. She is passionate about a career in the marketing division of business. She is a voracious reader and a budding jorunalist.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Birmingham International Airport. The local time here is five past eight in the morning'.


I adjusted my wristwatch and fiddled around to set the time, wondering why the English had to complicate it. Surely, they could just say 08:05 am. Ten minutes later, I found myself walking along the alley, following the crowd towards the immigration desks. I saw directions leading us to 'Border control' and realised had I not filled in the visa application form myself, labelled 'UK Border Agency' I would have totally misunderstood that.


A lady dressed in blue greeted me kindly. 'Your passport please?' she asked, frantically tapping on a monitor in front of her. I pulled out my 'CAS letter' out of the big folder of documents that I'd been instructed to carry and handed it to her. "That's okay" she smiled, punching my information on to the screen, 'could you scan your thumb please?''Thank you, here you go' she said handing me my passport, as I carefully tucked my documents into my handy carry on.


I continued my journey along to the luggage belts, looking around to check for trolleys only to spot it in the centre stacked. Walking closely towards it I pulled it out to realise they are all chained. 'Who would steal a trolley?' I questioned myself looking around to see if there were any free ones around that I could possibly use. Standing there for almost five minutes, I decided to take help and so approached a fellow passenger.


'Hi, could you help me find a trolley please?' I asked a middle-aged man, who nodded in response and pointed his finger towards the same area where the trolleys were stacked up, much to my despair. 'But they are locked' I exclaimed, wondering how on earth a passenger was meant to unlock them. He smiled and asked me if I had a pound. 'No, sorry, notes only, I replied, pulling out the twenty pounds off my purse. He guided me to a machine standing a few feet away from the trolley station. And inserted the note in the slot. I was surprised to see a gush of coins as he handed me my change and unlocked the trolley using one of the coins. 'Thank you' I sighed, overwhelmed with his help. I laughed at my ignorance and proceeded towards the belt to pick my luggage and hail a cab, as per university instructions. As I stepped out, I felt overpowered by the cold breezy British weather. I saw a line of black cabs and laughed at the stark contrast between taxi owners here and back home, In India; the latter always creating an overwhelming environment for people as they rushed to grab the opportunity to serve you.


I knocked on to the window of a cab. 'Postcode please?' The taxi driver enquired, getting off and opening the back door to help me lift my luggage into the car. As we hit the road, I peeped out of the window to observe the serene surrounding, filled with greenery and such smooth roads; it felt like we were flying.


Thirty minutes later, we arrived right in front of the university accommodation. I stepped out pulling all the luggage and turned to clear the fare. The meter read, '29.83', 'three thousand rupees' I repeated to myself and shook my head, wondering how long it'd take me to get used to the currency change. With a polite hello, I introduced myself to a lady at the reception as she skimmed through the register, finally pulling out an envelope and a bag, 'Flat 6 Room 1'; she said with a smile and directed me towards my room. 'Thanks' I smiled walking out on the instructed pathway alone. I turned back to look at all the bags, dreading carrying the weighty luggage. With a sad pout I pulled them all and walked on about an hundred metres until I saw 'flat 5-10'. Leaving the luggage behind I look around for '6', which, to my despair, was on the first floor. I felt like crying, counting the number of stairs and then turning to look back at the luggage.


I was so tired, yet I could not even lie down since I didn't have any bedding and we were expected to set it all up. About an hour later, I crashed on the bed in my room. 'My room' I repeated to myself, finally. It was altogether a different accomplishment, as I looked around the room, mentally planning its interiors.


A while later, I heard noises, getting off the bed I opened the door to see a girl struggling to pull her suitcase. 'Hey can I help?' I asked approaching her. 'Thanks' she said inserting the key into the door.


'Hey, I'm Vijaya' I introduced myself.


'Hey, I am Sara' she replied back shaking hands, 'nice to meet you.'


'Nice to meet you too.' I reciprocated heading back to my room.


Later in the afternoon I decided to drop a visit to the University for complete further formalities. Dressed in the best I had, I was excited to visit the old heritage, which I was now a part of. Popping in the new sim card in my phone, connecting to the ultrafast Wifi I was all set for a venture. I remembered to make a quick call home, informing my family of my plans for the day, just so that they wont worry. I contemplated asking my new flatmate to join me in my day of exploring and finally decided to knock on her door, but after no response, I headed out. At a distance I could see huge banners which had 'Welcome Week 2016 written in big bold letters and a gathering of students, talking excitedly in high pitched tones.


'Registrations this way', I followed the instructions on the wall.


'Hey' I heard a girl greet me, 'International student?', she asked.


'Yup' I smiled back.


'You have your passport? She enquired.


'No' I replied.


'Sorry, but you need your passport for registration since you an international student.'


'Okay, I will go and bring it.' I informed, walking back towards the accommodation using the campus map.


An hour later I was next in que with all the documents, once the registration was done I was informed I would have to collect the Biometric residence permit from the post office that is mentioned on the visa documents.


Heading out of the registration room I saw a lot of people around me, deeply immersed in their discussions. I walked towards them, towards my new life. A change I hoped, would work positively in my life.

— A dentist at mind, a writer at heart, loves to carve the pearls of thought shaping them into a story. To her change is life, and life is dynamic.