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What kind of Interview questions do they have over the phone?


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Hey. International students usually get a phone interview which is quite different from the on-site interview where students get to meet profs and ask them about their research etc. I have a phone interview next week and I was wondering what type of questions they'd be asking? Would they ask more general questions about my application or can they start gauging my technical knowledge by asking me questions from scientific literature :P. KInd of a stupid question, but since i have never given such an interview before, I'm starting to get a little worried about bungling it up. Also, they mentioned in the email that they were very impressed with my application. Does that mean that i have a good shot and they're just calling to check if i'm not a complete psycho? Btw...i've applied to a genetics program. Thanks!

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Hi there. I'm a domestic applicant, but one of my schools gave out phone interviews. Questions I got were somewhere along the lines of:

  • Why this school?
  • Tell me about yourself and your research/work.
  • What do you want to achieve during your grad career?
  • Have you done anything related to [insert field here]? Can you give me an example of that?
  • Some specific questions regarding my research (this you have to react on the spot).
  • Tell me how you come to be interested in your chosen field.

These are just some of things that I got. But overall, you should be ready to talk about/explain your work and discuss your goals. There are other threads regarding interviews in general in "Waiting it out" section... might be helpful to you. Yea getting an interview means your chances are very darn big, you really have to work at it to screw it up... They just want to see if you are really as good as you are on paper. Hope this helps and good luck! Relax, you'll be fine.

Edited by Tall Chai Latte
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My phone interview with U of Mich, pibs was together with two professors. And the questions were only science based - mainly about my work done so far. Very shortly I had to also talk about what I expect from PhD studies. It lasted about an hour. Very intensive...

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Hi there!

I am an international applicant too, and had an skype interview a few days ago.

I was told the questions were going to be about my research proposal and all similar questions posted here already, but no. Nothing like that. I was asked about theoretical issues in comparative biology (like species concepts), and what ifs related to me broadening my research (tell me an alternate research proposal, and another one, and a change of geographical setting, etc). It was very stressing for me since I really wasn't expecting those questions -I'd practiced all the possible questions about my research proposal, the pros and cons, everything!- and there was so much static in the call, that I couldn't understand them properly. Ugh, awful. Not even the classics, why do you want to come here? why are you a good fit? It felt as being in an oral exam.

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  • 1 year later...

I had a Skype interview 3 weeks ago. It was scheduled for 15 minutes only and it involved two questions from the department head: why do you want to go to grad school? and what do you hope to achieve? Then I asked some questions and soon after the interview was over.

I had spoken with the prof, whose lab I wish to you join a few months before. I guess I impressed him enough for him to suggest to the committee to give me a try and, hence, the two questions asked.

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