The barriers to PhD application for ND folk

I was speaking to a friend about how he was doing with his PhD application. He started the process after his Art History Masters and stopped a few months into application.

The application is so confusing and relies entirely on someone’s ability to keep up with admin, scour inaccessible University websites, and finding the correct supervisory team, who have knowledge in the applicants area but also is a good fit with their values.

You need to have a team from a university which will support your research. Then you apply for funding, changing your idea about a so many times for it to fit the bill, you might even have to change the school you’re learning in. Alot of people write, edit rewrite and apply whilst doing their post grad!

Adding funding applications and you could end up with a supervisory team which is vaguely attached to your field, has little knowledge on your niche and wildly different values from one another.

Applying for PhD is so amazingly inaccessible, not just in the usual ways that education is (racist, classist, misogynistic etc systems) but also in the need for the applicant to be able to network and keep up with confusing beaurocracy and administration.

Quite frankly it’s a bloody nightmare.

That is why myself, and my friend, gave up. We have the drive and knowledge to be amazing PhD candidates but there are a million road blocks for applying.

Not to mention the absolute horror of academic interviews!

AND we could do all this work and still not get on.

It’s almost as if you need a PhD to get a PhD.

I appreciate the privilege that I have to be able to complain about this. I am a housed, white, diagnosed, English speaking, middle class person who has had access to education.

I also appreciate that this post is not for everyone, I just need to put this frustration somewhere as I know lots of ND people who have not been supported through their PhD and suffered poor mental health because of it.

I want autism research to be fronted by Autistic people and we can’t do that if these ridiculous ableist hurdles are thrown our way.

Leave a Reply