Category Archives: PhD Application

OK, it’s time to get serious

Now that my book manuscript is in to the publisher, the CHI 2012 case studies have been accepted or rejected, and I’ve got an unexpected lull in my work, it’s time to begin writing my research proposals (which are essentially what PhD applications are in the UK). I’ve got less than two months to get the first one in (to City University), and I know I’m going to have to write several drafts before I’m satisfied. I started that process today — I sent an email to the University of Maryland (my most recent academic institution), asking them to pass it along to my (now retired) advisor because I’ll need an academic reference from him. I’m still in touch with my first advisor at N.C. State, so no problem there. It also occurred to me that the prof of the only actual HCI course I’ve taken would be a good reference, and I’m still in touch with him too. So I think I’m OK in the academic references department; I just have to go ahead and ask for them.

It’s probably also time to start reading a couple of books that I’ve had for a while. A UK-based HCI prof I met at CHI 2011 recommended these two:

Think I’ll skim them and see how much I should read before I start on my applications.

I’ve also done a bit of liberating myself from things lately. Earlier this week I took three carloads of stuff to donate to my congregation’s bazaar. One of the main categories was photography equipment that I’ll never use any more (I haven’t shot film in years, and Antonio and I never did finish the planned darkroom before he died, almost eleven years ago now). The other was several bags of fabric that I’ve had sitting around longer than that. They’re beautiful fabrics, but I concluded that since I haven’t done any sewing in years I’m not likely to resume it now. The impetus for getting rid of it now is that I want to minimize the amount of stuff I store while I’m in the UK and it’s good timing because of the bazaar. But man, the fabrics were difficult to let go of.

The process is moving.

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Time to get moving on the applications

I’ve just finished some intense work on a project (a book, actually), and now it’s time to start preparing my applications. The one to City is due in just over two months.

What I know I have to do soon:

  • Contact my advisors from my previous degrees, to ask for academic references
  • Obtain official transcripts
  • Outline a plan for research and ask for feedback

The first two are simple enough. I’m in touch with one of my advisors and should be able to get hold of the other one without much trouble; and getting the transcripts should be straightforward as well. I expect to have those well in hand within the next week.

The third one will be more difficult. Fortunately, Northumbria gave me a diagram showing what needs to be prepared for the formal plan (during the first year) and told  me which pieces of that I need to outline for the application and research proposal, so I’ve got a skeleton anyhow.