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Thursday, 13 October 2016 at 1:41pm
Tuesday, 6 December 2016 at 1:57pm
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Thread: Is it still possible? PhD dreams...

posted
08-Dec-16, 17:16
edited about 21 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 1 month ago
Quote From EmmaDreams:
Quote From ologist:
I got a funded PhD in biosciences at the age of 58, so it is possible. Like you, I was only doing it for interest.


Thank you! you are giving me hope. May I ask, were you upfront in interviews about it just being for interest rather than furthering your career?


To be honest, I don't think it came up. I think I was able to demonstrate in the interview that I was genuinely interested in the project and that I had a suitable background for it. I actually did an MRes first, but that was because my BSc was with the Open University, so my lab experience was limited. That obviously doesn't apply in your case.

Thread: Is it still possible? PhD dreams...

posted
06-Dec-16, 14:06
edited about 19 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 1 month ago
I got a funded PhD in biosciences at the age of 58, so it is possible. Like you, I was only doing it for interest.

Thread: Reading group

posted
06-Dec-16, 13:57
edited about 18 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 1 month ago
Ah, we called it 'journal club'.

Thread: Reference issues

posted
25-Nov-16, 17:24
by ologist
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posted about 2 months ago
Can the university where you did your MA issue an academic reference, rather than a specific person? This is what happens with the Open University, because students rarely have actual face-to-face contact with real people.

Thread: How blunt should you be with your supervisor?

posted
22-Nov-16, 13:35
edited about 22 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 2 months ago
When I joined my lab, along with two other PhD students, there were no postdocs! The lab technician showed us the basics, and in the one area where I felt I needed more training I booked an external course. This was entirely self-funded, as my supervisor's reaction was "What can you possibly learn outside that we can't teach you here?" In the event, I learned a lot!

Thread: Could anyone please suggest how to write the letter asking for PhD submission extension?

posted
21-Nov-16, 13:54
by ologist
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posted about 2 months ago
My university had a form to be completed for an extension, which had to be signed off by me and my supervisors. There were only a limited number of grounds for an extension, and anything medical had to be accompanied by a doctor's letter.

Thread: Very depressed over typos in Phd thesis...

posted
06-Nov-16, 14:12
edited about 4 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 2 months ago
Also worth bearing in mind that for very long documents Word gives up the ghost when it comes to underlining stuff. I've just worked on a report that was around 100K+ words where there were so many bits of science jargon and author names, Word gave up highlighting them, necessitating a manual click through spell check.


Er, it's possible to download (free) scientific dictionaries and import them into Word. That's what I did, with the result that there was very little underlining in red.

Thread: Very depressed over typos in Phd thesis...

posted
03-Nov-16, 12:02
edited about 6 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 2 months ago
Thanks for your reassurance -- is it etiquette to volunteer the typos to your examiners or keep schtum until they ask for them?


I don't know about etiquette, but I volunteered the list up front, not least because I had already made the corrections. On the plus side, at least it shows you have read the thesis since submitting it!

Thread: Very depressed over typos in Phd thesis...

posted
03-Nov-16, 11:57
edited about 11 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 2 months ago
I wouldn't worry unduly. My situation was much worse, I did some last minute amendments to my Figures because conversion to PDF was corrupting some of them, and ended up with the wrong x-axis labels on all the Figures from one chapter! So you can imagine how I felt. Anyway, I had a chat with my supervisor, who asked me to print out corrected Figures, which he then forwarded on to the examiners. I also had a substantial list of typos and minor corrections which I handed to the examiners at the beginning of the viva. They were quite surprised, because they had only spotted a few. In any event, it didn't seem to be a big issue, and I passed subject to minor corrections. By the time you submit your thesis, you've read it (wholly or partially) so many times that it can be hard to see the wood for the trees, so I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. By the time I'd completed my corrections I had found even more typos, but the important thing is that the final version of my thesis, which will be available for the world to see, is (hopefully!) a typo-free zone.

Thread: Any social scientists out there who use R?

posted
29-Oct-16, 11:05
by ologist
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posted about 3 months ago
I agree with Dr Jekyll, I used R for just about everything in my biomedical PhD. It was not generally used in our department (they tend to use SPSS), but we had an introductory lecture from a postdoc in the department and I was hooked. I started with a very thin volume (just over 100 pages) called "Getting Started with R: An Introduction for Biologists" by Beckerman & Petchey, which I read from cover to cover, but thereafter my main resource was CRAN and Stack Exchange. I bought "The R Book" by Cawley and "Discovering Statistics Using R" by Field, Miles & Field, but hardly referred to them. I had to consolidate and manipulate data from over 100 spreadsheets, so R was a Godsend. The original data were never touched, thereby avoiding the risks of copy and paste type operations, they were simply loaded, manipulated, then exported to new CSV files. It's certainly a steep learning curve in the early stages, but well worth investing the time.

Thread: Distance learning or super part time bioscience PhD

posted
13-Oct-16, 18:36
edited about 19 seconds later
by ologist
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posted about 3 months ago
I've just completed a laboratory-based biomedical PhD after obtaining a similar Open University BSc to you (actually a BSc Life Sciences, but it contained a mixture of biology and chemistry modules). I would reiterate what others have already said, it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to find a distance learning PhD in the biosciences, as most projects involve a substantial amount of laboratory work. Part-time PhDs are certainly possible, but would be dependent on the nature of the research, and funding might be a problem. I did a Masters first (an MRes to get the necessary laboratory experience), and then got a fully-funded PhD (in spite of being in my late fifties!). I think a similar strategy might be your best bet.
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