Welcome to PhD Women Scotland!

We’re a supportive and encouraging network for women who are studying for a PhD in Scotland. We share our experiences of research, academia and PhD life in order to tackle the isolation that many PhD students feel, particularly PhD women.

  • You’ll Never Know “Enough”

    I sat at my desk this morning, reading through a paper for my PhD. It was a great paper; well written and very relevant to my field of malaria genetics. About a third of the way in, I got to a point in the paper with an idea I didn’t understand. So, like any academic […]

  • Overcoming Challenges: Starting my PhD in Scotland as an International Student

    Following recent reflections, I have come to realize that my journey to a PhD started right from childhood. Amongst other things I wanted, bringing a new and sustainable solution to a problem of mankind had always been my dream but I did not initially include getting a PhD as one of the routes I would […]

  • Reflections on my viva during the pandemic…

    On the 23rd March 2020, a UK wide lockdown was announced to try and control the spread of COVID-19. My PhD viva, scheduled several months before, was due to be held just 3 days later on 26th March 2020 in Manchester where I was working, studying and living at the time. I had been preparing […]

  • Disengaging for self-preservation

    Today’s post comes from an anonymous PhD woman who wanted to share her experience of taking part in her first in-person conference. For me, a conference should be a space to share ideas, enabling constructive discussion in a challenging but ultimately reaffirming way. However, the first in-person conference of my PhD was anything but. From […]

  • Some poignant moments during a PhD and my mum’s battle with cancer.

    16th April 2020 It was the start of my PhD. That exciting time when everything seems possible, and you hadn’t made any mistakes yet! Four weeks in, my mum called and told me she had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She was given 5-10 years to live. I remember I literally fell down on […]

  • The Final Hurdle: Completing PhD Corrections

    For many PhD students the viva feels like the final hurdle, which is understandable given its importance, but it’s actually the penultimate hurdle. Although often glossed over, corrections are the spectre lurking behind the viva. While I knew there would be corrections, I was so stressed about the viva that I compartmentalized for my own […]

  • The Importance of Connections

    I am a second-year PhD candidate in American Literature, currently living in Edinburgh. I moved to Scotland two years ago, to pursue my MSc in United States Literature, at the University of Edinburgh. After the onset of a global pandemic, I finished my Masters’ dissertation entirely remotely, by the beach in the north of England. […]

  • On Doctoral Decorum

    It is just two days before my viva on a sunny September afternoon in Scotland. I stand awkwardly in line in a too big ball gown and smile lovingly at my childhood best friend as she runs her eyes carefully over every inch of us, her bridesmaids to be. The day is special. A day […]

  • Money makes the academic world go round: classism in UK universities

    A PhD? What is a PhD? Isn’t that what Ross Geller, the fake dinosaur doctor has? Until very recently, this was what I understood a postgraduate doctorate to be. Growing up in a working-class, single-mother headed family, these “fancy” terms were not exactly a topic at the dinner table. Now, in the second year of […]

  • Preparing to return to the PhD following a leave of absence

    On February this year I was granted a leave of absence from the PhD due to health reasons. This will end on October the 2nd. This blog, therefore, is less about being back and more about preparing to be back. Although the terms of the leave of absence means no working on the PhD during […]