Sunday, October 21, 2012

Re: smart way to get scholarships case study:

Ok here is secret #1:
on getting PhD scholarships
The approach was clear: search and find an academic who is interested in what she was interested in, and then talk to that academic, email, and eventually once things progressed enough, fly over and person..... yes in person. In this age of instant communications this is can be a good way....


Please note:  Do NOT use this as a clever TRICK, this is only really going to work if you are genuinely interested in the topic. 

If you are really interested: Read papers on your topic, read papers the academic you are talking to wrote. 
Know what is going on and what is what. 
Academics are usually great at spotting bullshit (they are masters of it, I'm a master of BS myself) and we quickly see what is going on. 

Real skill and real interest will shine through in the end ! 

Try this approach: start with a  full PHD proposal, then keep talking to the academic. In the example case study: Eventually G got funding from the academic's grant, a school level scholarship, which can be given to whomever the school deems most suitable. 

Talk to academics who are doing what you WANT to do. 
That means YOU figure out YOUR interest and and be very specific....
Most academics (including me) are never ever going to go for a 'I want a scholarship and I'll study whatever you want me to" approach.
I bin those emails. Takes me 1 second to hit delete button. 

Well, Ok, perhaps 3 seconds.  

But if a student comes to me with: "I want to research the way true random quantum noise can be used in a micrporocessors can to detect subtle energy using the interference patterns of standing waves and deviations from the 3 sigma average...etc..." then I'll go "By Jove !  This girl/guy knows what s/he wants, ... let me talk to her/him..."
and if she reads papers I suggest, and does her homework and really konws what she is after I'll listen and take if further and if it works out I'll look for money to fund her study. 

In fact: most academics use this approach all the time ALREADY : Academics  keep an eye out for the brilliant Under Grad students who they think would be good at a PhD and ask them before they graduate, '...have you thought of doing a PhD in.... ?"

NB: Most academics have access to "some" money, or their school has and if they can persuade the student is a capable, a good risk, etc.... something might be possible...

This blog is based on a real event.

in your case: what is it YOU are interested in ? in Law, ? or in Legal history or anything. 

You could go to and look for papers and topics that interest you. Then go from there..... - good luck :-) 

Secret #2:

 there  is another secret they don't tell you:
once you have graduated, you can do your PhD in just about anything.
you are NOT restricted to law, you can go into history, into social science, into linguistics, into languages, into entrepreneurship, into art,... (ok you can't do Engineering and sciences or medical stuff, but anything humanities related is fine)

so please : figure out what you really really want to study, and go for that, research it, and write an outline of what you want to
then send it to the academic, ask him:

Dear Sir, I want to study
the cultural interpretations that affect international law. In particular how this can lead to legal complexities as was seen in the Case of ABC VS XYZ in 2003.

I have read the theory of Justin Weber who argues that ....
and also the counter arguments of Michael Smith who takes a more practical approach and argues blahb...blahh...blahh..... .

However my own thinking is that this issue is best addressed by looking at the historical roots of the legal framework. In the case of Vietnam much of that framework is actually French/European modified by Asian values.


your's sincerely

TTTT Schweigen. 

Secret #2b:
this is a minor secret: whatever you study esp if it is unusual you have more freedom and more room to move if you do it in a general discipline.
Example: Women's role under Mao Tze Tung
you can do it under Sociology, but because that is a smaller discipline they have their own fixed way of approaching this topic,
Much better to do this kind of thing in History where you have a much much greater freedom of approach