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bewildered 4 star member
Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 6:52pm
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 4:49pm
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Thread: Need general advice on returning to studies

posted
17-Jan-17, 17:00
edited about 9 seconds later
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posted about 3 days ago
Hi, I think there's massive differences between the arts/social sciences and sciences in how funding is applied for and awarded. There is a lot less funding around for a start. In Politics the main funder is the ESRC, which funds you either as 1+3 or +3 (so MA + PhD or just PhD). You apply to a university in one of their doctoral training centres (a consortia of universities but only some institutions are in DTCs so check the ESRC list) with a fairly advanced research proposal usually separately to your application to do a PhD there (adverts tend to go out before Christmas). To be competitive you need to have worked on this with your proposed supervisors for quite a while, so it's not very feasible for the OP at this stage. To have a good chance of funding generally you need evidence of a u/g 1st or an MA / MSc distinction and a very strong proposal, so for the OP, the best strategy would be to begin the MA and try to impress so that people are willing to work with him/her on a PhD funding application. You might though get a partial scholarship to go towards funding the MA - there are pockets of money around eg fee reductions for graduates of that university etc. A 2:1 is all they need for a place on the Masters though so that wouldn't be an issue.

Thread: Need general advice on returning to studies

posted
17-Jan-17, 16:47
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posted about 3 days ago
Honestly yes particularly for funding in Politics where a 1st is usually required in practice. You'd be better applying after completing the Masters if you got a distinction.

Thread: Supervisors who are being unfair

posted
16-Jan-17, 15:42
edited about 8 seconds later
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posted about 4 days ago
I think it's very easy for part-time students to underestimate how much time needs to be dedicated to the PhD to have a chance of completing in time, and I wonder if this is what is happening here. The supervisors know that you need to reach milestones by certain points and you're off target. I know you think they are unfair to complain about your progress but if they know you are heading towards failing an annual review / upgrade process, then they do have to warn you.

Thread: Need general advice on returning to studies

posted
16-Jan-17, 15:38
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posted about 4 days ago
Do not do an unfunded PhD in Politics, just don't. It's a field (my own) that produces far far too many PhDs for the academic jobs out there and where a PhD is not much more help than an MA in other politics-related careers (it may even be a negative). If you get funding, then at least if it doesn't work out, then you can look on it as an interesting if poorly paid job for three years, but I know too many self-funders who now bitterly regret having risked it, to recommend doing that. Look beyond your undergrad university as well for the PhD - there will be funding and suitable supervision in many places, so it's worth checking out what's out there.
If you've been away for twelve years, you might also be shocked by how much universities have changed. Many are very corporate and target-driven indeed these days. It might not be the environment you want - might the third sector be better? With your current job, it might be worth investigating whether you can take a career break to do the MA (social science research methods can often be sold as 'useful'), so you could test the waters and see how you like it but with the safety net of a job to return to if not?

Thread: Post doc- an adventure abroad?!

posted
14-Jan-17, 14:18
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posted about 1 week ago
Hi yes I do. When I came back I had a temporary teaching fellow job for a year and then got a lectureship. I think I did make my life harder than I needed to because I was enjoying life in Germany and was interested in staying there longer, so tried to do things to make my cv attractive there. But academic and non-academic jobs in my field there are heavily dependent on patronage, and as I hadn't done any of my degrees there, I was out of those channels. But when I realised and started applying for jobs in the UK, I'd taken my eye off the need to have the perfect cv for the REF, so was at a bit of a disadvantage. If I did it again, I'd make sure I kept in touch with UK contacts more, tried to co-author things with them and made sure I had someone from the UK system look at my application materials to check they were as effectively presented as possible.

Thread: Post doc- an adventure abroad?!

posted
08-Jan-17, 13:25
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posted about 1 week ago
I did this. I did a two year Marie Curie postdoc in Germany. I had a great time, but I already spoke German and had lived there for a year as an Erasmus student so it wasn't new territory. I knew other foreign postdocs who didn't speak German but tried to learn and they did find it quite frustrating, as they didn't make much progress and so felt they were stuck in a international bubble and not as integrated as they hoped. If you want to do it, go for it before Brexit starts limiting options. Two things that are worth thinking about if you want a UK academic job afterwards - make sure your supervisor has an international profile i.e. they're known outside their own country and that you have an academically plausible reason for going.

Thread: Removing a paper from a conference (online) after it is published

posted
20-Nov-16, 23:55
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posted about 2 months ago
I'm assuming that you've already fallen out beyond repair with your supervisor? If not, employing a lawyer seems the fastest way to make that happen. Which if you are in the US will almost certainly have professional consequences for you, given the importance they seem to place on the letter of recommendation from your supervisor for job applications. I'd be careful not to torpedo your career in anger. And are you sure that there are no emails that you forgot to reply to, suggesting submitting the paper that your supervisor could produce as proof of assumed consent or anything like that?
Normally graduate students are quite pleased to get a publication. What's so bad about the paper being published in this place? Is the conference so poor that it's a minus rather than a plus for your cv? I'm not in a field that does conference proceeding but I know for comp sci for instance that a conference proceeding can be a good publication. Or have you found a bad error or something like that? If it's the latter getting your supervisor (given the professional embarrassment for him/her too) to negotiate replacing it with a corrected version might be a better path.

Thread: Urgent advice needed for experienced PhDers/PhDs - supervision meeting

posted
20-Nov-16, 23:39
edited about 1 second later
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posted about 2 months ago
Better still might be to send a short document via email to the whole team before the meeting, with preliminary key findings and methodological challenges as headings. That gives you something to discuss in the meeting, you've prepared the ground that it's not complete, and your stats expert has chance to weigh in with advice at a stage where it might be genuinely helpful in saving you time, even if it's via email rather than in person.

Thread: Advice Required! How long should you wait for your PhD result after submitting with minors?

posted
17-Nov-16, 16:56
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posted about 2 months ago
Anz07 - oh no, I clicked hoping you'd finally had good news.
My advice would be to seek support from your supervisor if they are the supportive type. If they have been distant recently, it's probably because they know this but were forbidden to tell you. Ask if this situation has happened before and what happened. As well / Instead does your student union have any independent advisors? Or is there a departmental research student person or a good HoD you trust? Somebody who knows the university procedures inside out would be helpful to identify at this stage.
You need to know what should happen in a case like this, so that you challenge any procedural irregularities.A good supervisor would be doing this for you, which is why I'm suggesting talking to them, but you will by now have a good grasp on how likely this is. People will no doubt tell you to get a lawyer - I don't think this is that helpful at this stage as it would be expensive and finding one with the relevant expertise tricky. What might concentrate minds though is a few questions about the appeals and complaints process.
A similar case happened a few years ago where I work. In that case, a third examiner (a new external) was brought in to reevaluate the thesis and the degree duly awarded without another viva or any corrections.
I know you feel numb and you probably don't feel like a fight, but unless your supervisor is doing it for you, you do need to get informed and if you think they are not acting correctly, then start being everyone's prospective worst nightmare.

Thread: Advice Required! How long should you wait for your PhD result after submitting with minors?

posted
14-Nov-16, 21:09
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posted about 2 months ago
I was recently an internal examiner - it was an eye-opener to discover how crap our graduate school office is. Every stage of the process they sat on for at least three weeks. So even though I and the external had turned things round quickly the candidate still experienced delays at each stage and there was also a cock-up at this point.
Is there any way your supervisor (and by the way I think his/her initial claim that it would take a fortnight was really unrealistic) could find out from the internal where they are in the process? In the case I mentioned, it turned out that the external had returned all the paperwork but had overlooked signing one form. Rather than tell her, the office did nothing and it was only when the supervisor asked me gently about the delay that I knew there was an issue. Once I got involved the student had the result in 24 hours.

Thread: One and half year after Phd

posted
14-Nov-16, 20:58
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posted about 2 months ago
Agree that you need to talk this through with your husband - would he be ok with seeing little of his wife and children if you did live apart? Is there any flexibility with his job?
It sounds like the country you live in now makes it impossible to get a job in the short to medium term given the lack of childcare and the language worry. But Europe is a continent with lots of different childcare systems - is it feasible to get a postdoc somewhere where your childcare / language situation would be better? And would your and your husband's salary combined enable you to afford two homes? Do you have a sense of what the competition is like in Law to get a postdoc and how comparatively competitive you are? What about visas etc? I guess how practically feasible is the Europe plan?
Would moving back to your home country actually be better for you? I'm wondering whether family at hand might help on the childcare front, and obviously language would no longer be an issue. You don't really say what your objection to your home country is. It might be that the universities are less prestigious / jobs less well-paid but it's worth thinking about where you think your long-term future is and if that's your home country, then maybe starting to build a career there is the best strategy.

Thread: Academic/lecturing prospects in the humanities - UK

posted
06-Nov-16, 16:28
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posted about 2 months ago
As you classify linguistics as humanities, I'm assuming you're at the modern languages end of the subject rather than the speech and language therapy end? If so, I'm afraid the outlook is not too promising regardless of how good you are. Nationally they think about 6% of PhD graduates will get permanent academic jobs. This is skewed by the much larger numbers in lab sciences but it's not much better in the humanities. If you are also trying to enter a field where UK student numbers are declining, which I think is true for Linguistics then that's an issue too, as govt policy looks to be to further cut non-UK student numbers, which has been the way out of falling UK interest for some programmes. I know for example that there are very high numbers of Chinese students on our linguistics programmes. Brexit and the likely impact on research funding is also likely to cut the number of entry level research jobs. And this is all in addition to the casualisation issue you mention, which is particularly endemic in the humanities. Basically it's a depressing outlook for universities at the moment. I think if not getting an academic job would be a deal-breaker for you, then the odds are probably not good enough to risk it.

Thread: Career in diplomatic services or PhD in History at Cambridge?

posted
02-Nov-16, 21:49
edited about 5 seconds later
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posted about 2 months ago
You are making a very similar choice to the one I made nearly a decade ago. I was 5 years into a civil service job having gone in as a fast streamer and progressing reasonably well. I jumped to do a PhD and was one of the very few for whom an academic job did materialise, but I am less certain that I would make the same choice again if I was making it today. Things I think it's worth thinking about:

1) Your earning potential in the civil service is almost certainly higher than in academia even if you are very lucky on the academic track. Would never being a home-owner be an issue for you for instance? Unless you have a partner on a high salary, academic wages will not allow you to buy in much of the South of England these days. Civil service pensions and benefits are vastly superior to academic ones too so it really is a big financial hit to take. When I jumped the differences were less stark than they are now.
2) You presumably know that they think only about 6% of PhD grads will get a permanent academic job. Sadly the Oxbridge name is no guarantee. You're currently presumably earning a graduate salary now - it's not just the time to PhD but the history PhDs who made it into academia seem then to have spent an average of 4-5 years on temporary, part-time and poorly paid work to get a strong enough publication list to have a chance. It's one of the more overcrowded subjects. Again big financial hit to swallow especially if you'd like a family.
3) The civil service is a good employer much better than universities. Would your skill set offer a route back in (mine did which mitigated the risk a bit)? I ask that as many humanities/soc sci PhDs see the govt as an ideal second choice after academia.

Thread: Censorship of Journal Manuscript?

posted
18-Oct-16, 17:26
edited about 13 seconds later
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posted about 3 months ago
Given your field, is it a possibility that you've fallen foul of any new guidance issued after the Stubblefield case? I know the journal(s) that published that work got slated for publishing the facilitated communication work she did (regardless of the criminal charges she was found guilty of), so I wondered whether the relevant professional association has put new ethics guidance in place, that a cautious editor might think would impact on your article. Journal editors are responsible for checking the ethics of the research complies with disciplinary guidelines, even if not noted by referees, as they're the ones who carry the can if they publish something dodgy.

Thread: Viva and referral statistics

posted
18-Oct-16, 17:09
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posted about 3 months ago
Not sure there are any, as different universities use different categories of outcome, but if there are HESA would likely be the place to look.
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