Sample Questions for Impromptu Conversations on Interview Day | The Psychology PhD Podcast

Sample Questions for Impromptu Conversations on Interview Day

As referenced in Season 1, Episode 6 of The Psychology PhD Podcast.

General Questions (Faculty):

  • What lines of research do you envision working on for the next 5 years?
  • What do you think sets this program apart from others?
  • What qualities or experiences help students to be especially successful in this program?
  • It seems like this program highlights collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach. As a result, would you say there are many inter- or intra-departmental research collaborations?
  • What are faculty/student relations like?

Research-Related Questions (Trainees in Prospective Lab):

  • What have you been focusing on in your current research?
  • What methods do you typically use?
  • What are your broader goals and planned future directions?
  • How does your research fit into the lab’s broader research program?
  • Would you say that the research direction of the lab has changed since you’ve been a part of it? If so, how?

    Advisor-Related Questions (Trainees in Prospective Lab):

    • How much interaction do you typically get with the PI? Is it usually one-on-one? Via email? Or in lab meetings?
    • How would you describe the PI’s mentorship style?
    • How frequently do the PI’s grad students typically publish?
    • How does your PI help support you when you’re having a difficult time, whether for research or personal reasons?
    • What do you think sets the opportunity to work with this PI apart from other advisors (in this program and at other schools)?
    • How much feedback does the PI give on written work?
    • What is the process for working with the PI to define my specific program of research during graduate school?
    • What is the process / forum for proposing new projects? (Is the PI generally open to these kinds of new project ideas?)

      General Questions (Any Trainees):

      • What is the culture of the department like?
      • What do you consider to be the best and worst aspects of this program?
      • Do you find this program’s course-load to be manageable in conjunction with your research and teaching duties?
      • How feasible is it to get by on this program’s stipend given the local cost of living?
      • What do you think sets this program apart from others?
      • How much interaction do you get with other faculty members and trainees in the department?
      • How common is it to collaborate with other faculty members in the department on projects? With faculty at the university outside the department?
      • How competitive vs. cooperative are grad students in this program?
      • What is one thing you wish you had known or understood better before coming here?
      • Do you feel that the program is preparing you well to achieve your goals after grad school?
      • If you could change anything about the program, what would it be?
      • Do students in this department present frequently at conferences?
      • If students earn a Master's degree in the process of working toward their PhD, do students ever have any challenges in this process?
      • If summer funding is not guaranteed, are students typically successful in securing this funding?
      • Do most students complete the program in the standard timeframe?