Interview guidance

Preparation can help you to answer interview questions effectively, or give you more confidence. We want all our candidates to perform as well as they can, so have put together some top tips on how to prepare.

Although you are being interviewed, remember this is also an opportunity for you to meet some of the CDT academics and staff to find more about them and their interests. It is your chance to see if our programme is a good fit for you.

Do your research

Effective research can help you to understand the opportunity better. By knowing more, you will be better prepared to demonstrate your motivation and have a better idea of requirements.

You are not expected to be an expert, but you should know enough to be able to have a general idea about the programme you are applying for and the Centre itself.

There is lots of information that can be found on our website; especially in our training section.

You may wish to do wider research in the area to have a good idea of what you may need to demonstrate when applying for PhD study.

Review your application

To get to the interview stage, you will have already positively demonstrated key skills and experience in your application.

It is a good idea to read over this again to re-familiarise yourself with these, and also to remind yourself of the examples you have used and information you have provided.

Reflect on the opportunity

Through your preparation, you should have a good idea of the key skills, experience and knowledge that you need to demonstrate in your interview. Now, you should be able to reflect on the how the opportunity is appropriate for you.

If you struggle to reflect on yourself, consider writing lists, mind-mapping or talking about the criteria for a PhD with a friend or family member. You might surprise yourself!

Mock interviews and practice

It is a good idea to get some practice before your interview to build confidence. By reviewing the requirements you will be assessed against, this should give you a basis for constructing some practice interview questions.

You may also want to practise your presentation. You could practise either of these with a family member or friend to get feedback on your body language and delivery. Alternatively, practising in front of a mirror could also help.

On the day

Make sure that you are familiar with all of the details of the interview. If you are unsure of the details, contact us.

There is no formal dress code, you should wear something you feel comfortable wearing. Many people prefer to dress smartly.

If your interview is in person, ensure that you know where you are going and arrive with time to spare. It could be helpful to arrive in the area early and find a coffee shop nearby to look over your notes.

If your interview is online, check out the University’s video on how best to prepare.

The CDT’s management team will arrange a connection test at least a day before your interview. We will also answer any logistical questions you may have, including confirming the interview panel members.

In the interview, the questions you will be asked are not there to trick you or catch you out. Ask if you’re unsure or need clarification.


There are lots of resources available online to help you prepare; we have included some examples below*:

* The University is not responsible for the content of external sites and inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement.