Early quit from PhD program

posted
05-Jul-14, 15:42
Avatar for MrInfinite
posted about 3 years ago
Hi everyone,
I would like to share my experience with you and ask for advise and suggestions. I graduated with a Msc with honor from a leading university in my field (top 10). Afterwards I accepted a phd offer in an interesting project but in a small university. Based on some suggestions, I have been told that it is a good place and good working environment. But in the first month I realized that the atmosphere is not stimulating, original high quality research is not conducted and facilities are not as I expected. So I am thinking to quit now given that I spent only one month here, and find another PhD opportunity somewhere else (I strongly want to do a PhD).

Probably it was a mistake to accept such offer without deep investigation on the place, but it is better to correct a mistake early rather than continue and regret afterwards.

What do you think about this situation? I appreciate to hear from you.
posted
06-Jul-14, 14:14
by CR1980 1 star member
Avatar for CR1980
posted about 3 years ago
A month is quite a short time to experience the department. What is the supervision like?

I think you would need to have another PhD in place before leaving, and a good explanation of why you were moving to another opportunity. Do some research on where you could go, but bear in mind that it might look bad to drop out after one month.
posted
06-Jul-14, 16:56
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
I'm sure most research institutes/universities aren't what you think they are. Stick it out for a bit longer. The grass isn't always greener.
posted
06-Jul-14, 20:38
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 3 years ago
Good advice already. Are you funded or self-funded? Would any replacement PhD be funded or self-funded? If you drop out of one funded place and look to get new funding you may struggle to find a supervisor willing to take you on. Funding is scarce, and many supervisors do not look kindly on people who drop out of other PhD places. Just a thought. It's not like resigning from a job and taking on a new job, but very different.
posted
06-Jul-14, 21:57
Avatar for MrInfinite
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From BilboBaggins:
Good advice already. Are you funded or self-funded? Would any replacement PhD be funded or self-funded? If you drop out of one funded place and look to get new funding you may struggle to find a supervisor willing to take you on. Funding is scarce, and many supervisors do not look kindly on people who drop out of other PhD places. Just a thought. It's not like resigning from a job and taking on a new job, but very different.


It is funded position, and the replacement PhD will be also funded, but in Europe PhD students are hired by the university as researcher, so it is like quit a normal job. But I am thinking to quit soon because I don't want to "take" so much money from the project funds then leave, and to allow them find someone soon. If I continue longer time it might create problem for the project if I leave.

You may have a point on the fact that supervisors might not look kindly on me, so I will not quit before I find another opportunity, hopefully soon.
posted
07-Jul-14, 15:51
edited about 20 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 3 years ago
If you really can't stand the work you are doing, go now and let someone else have a go who is more enthusiastic about the subject. Explain to a potential supervisor for a new PhD that you realised the project you were doing was not for you and discuss why you believe the new project is the right one, allaying their fears you're not going to feel the same a month into the new project.

That said, bear in mind you're only a month in. At that stage, most of us are digging into literature review and deciding under supervisor guidance exactly what direction our projects are going to take. This stage can be mind numbingly boring for anyone and to base your view of your PhD on the little work you have done so far may be very premature. Once you start doing work for yourself, you feelings towards the project may change. I mixed literature review with little bits of preliminary practical work, making the early stages quite a bit less boring.

It is not possible to sit reading literature review material solidly as you're head will just about blow up doing this.

Ian

P.S. I got lucky in that this early data was new to my field and thus was useable in and became a major part the final thesis (i.e. I somehow got off to flier).

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