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PhD interview went badly


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I applied for a PhD in English Literature. It's a funded place and I just had an interview earlier this week. It was my first PhD interview and I proposed my own topic. I looked up all the questions that might be asked during a PhD interview (i.e. tell me about yourself, why are you the right candidate, weaknesses and strengths, why this project) and prepared for them, but on the day they dove straight into my project and asked me very detailed questions about the novels I want to work on (which of course doing a Master's I didn't have much time to think about them that far). So I was completely unprepared for this. But I managed to answer most of their questions. I said most because I couldn't answer two of them and gave a wrong answer to one of their questions. 

So I'm just wondering whether it's normal that interviewers would focus only on the candidates' projects and nothing else and whether the fact that I couldn't answer some of their questions is bad and shows that I haven't thought about the project properly. Have you had similar experience and did you get a place?

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That is very unusual. I had 3 interviews and none of them ever asked detailed questions regarding my areas of interest. I've also never heard of this happening. When you say you proposed your own topic, do you mean that you did so in your SOP or at the beginning of the interview? 

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7 hours ago, Aruza said:

I was applying for a programme in the UK.

That makes a little more sense actually. Programs in the UK are usually more specialized and require a detailed proposal. It's still weird that they grilled you like that. Even in my UK interview they didn't ask much about my proposal. Have you talked to other people who have done interviews for the humanities in the UK? Either way I would try not to beat yourself up about it. It might not have come off as bad as you think.

Edited by crackademik
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