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TreeofLife
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 at 3:58pm
Monday, 8 May 2017 at 9:32pm
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page 1 of 159 recent posts

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
17-Aug-17, 18:07
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posted about 6 days ago
Quote From naturalproduct:


Yes ofcourse, I understand, the consistency will definitely be different for a final year mark very much higher than the other years' "average" marks, but I was really hoping it wouldn't hinder me greatly.

Other than doing massive amounts of reading around the project topic, and working hard, and efficiently around the lab hour clock, how would you advise to make an outstanding impression on my supervisor from as early as possible?

The 2.1 students getting into the PhD positions really make me believe there is some hope, I do chemistry at a top end Russel Group, I would assume they are not too different?

Thank you so much for your input once again, I really appreciate it.


You need to learn how your supervisor likes you to work and do it. Does it seem as if they expect you in the lab every day? Do they want you ask a lot a questions? Do they want you leave them alone and just get on it with it? You can ask these questions to other people in the lab (subtly) and watch how others interact with your supervisor and see what's effective and what's not. Be confident, but not cocky. If you don't know something, then say so, but show you've thought about it first. If they ask you to do something, do it.

I'm assuming biology and chemistry are pretty similar too.

Thread: University teacher only, without research

posted
17-Aug-17, 15:43
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posted about 6 days ago
Quote From IntoTheSpiral:
They're becoming more and more common. I've just been awarded a lectureship on an open ended "Teaching and Scholarship" contract - which basically means I have 60% of my time allocated to teaching, 20% to academic citizenship (i.e. administration) and 20% is mine to do what I like with - in my case, I'll probably use it for research and/or outreach. This contrasts with an Academic Research and Teaching contract (ART) which would be 40% teaching, 20% citizenship and 40% research time.

I think my university is fairly progressive in this manner (and it's a Russell group institution). My uni genuinely seems to value teaching-focused as a career route, e.g. you can be promoted to Professor on a T&S contract and there is no difference in the job titles or salary ranges between the ART and T&S staff. I.e. I can call myself a lecturer, because I am one, even though I am not required to do research on my current contract.

So, I think these roles are available but they are not yet commonplace. It seems to be going that way though.


This is good, us teaching focused staff at my uni have also had discussions about this. We feel we should also be called a lecturer, since that is essentially our job as the students and wider public see it. There's also the issue that TF staff tend to be women, so it is viewed as discriminatory as well. Pay and benefits are the same as for lecturers, it's just job titles and responsibilities that are different really. In other departments the roles are progressable/promoteable to prof as well, just not in my dept yet. We don't have such strict divisions between work, we basically have time to do whatever time allows as long as we meet our teaching and admin obligations.

Thread: University teacher only, without research

posted
17-Aug-17, 14:09
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posted about 6 days ago
Quote From bewildered:

You can only drop entry standards so far without ending with un-viably high dropout rates and the bottom ranked institutions were already there. Some institutions in the UK are now in danger of failing (and govt policy on Brexit and immigration are increasing that risk) - and in the US small and poor colleges are just shutting down.

You can only really move institutions through research outputs so teaching only staff are basically trapped. That leaves very little leverage on promotion/ pay/ conditions for teaching only staff, and certainly where I work you need a nationally recognised teaching profile to get promoted by that route - which in turn requires grant income and publications but on teaching.


I understand what you're saying; I'm talking about student numbers in my department. I recognise there's consequences for lower ranked universities when higher ranked universities reduce entry requirements to maintain their numbers. Of course we are seeing lower calibre students with more problems and higher drop out rates.

I also understand the nature of teaching-focused posts and the reason behind them. In some cases, this is extremely exploitative, in others, such as mine, our teaching loads are actually quite low and we do have time to maintain a (albeit limited) research portfolio. We can also apply for grants and take on (self funded or international or as a second supervisor) PhD students once we have open ended contracts, as 40% of my group are on already. Plus, as these posts become more common, people will be able to move institutions more easily if they go between teaching posts.

There are no cases of switching from research-focused to teaching-focused at my uni. Everyone on teaching contracts is a newly minted PhD.

We are not required to do hardcore pedagogic research to get promoted either; faculty Deans have told us that teaching is our priority and pedagogic research should be left to others with that background. From a recent teaching conference I attended, this viewpoint is becoming increasingly accepted elsewhere too.

Thread: Dropping out of PhD after accepting it, but not actually starting it yet.

posted
17-Aug-17, 13:52
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posted about 6 days ago
Yep, you can back out any time.

Thread: University teacher only, without research

posted
16-Aug-17, 11:52
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posted about 1 week ago
Quote From bewildered:
In both the UK and USA student numbers are in fact falling at the moment


I think applications are falling, but attendees are staying the same because unis reduce the grades and requirements to get on the course. At least, that's what my department is doing to maintain student numbers...

Thread: University teacher only, without research

posted
15-Aug-17, 12:32
edited about 1 second later
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posted about 1 week ago
Hi, these are becoming increasingly common in the UK due to the increases in student numbers recently and things like the TEF. They are relatively new to my biology department, hence I've been able to get one. I have a feeling they will be more competitive as time goes on. They are less secure than going the traditional lectureship route though, since many of the roles are fixed-term contracts only, although there's a few people in my team on open-ended contracts now. Basically, you are easier to cut loose than someone on a lectureship as you cost money, but don't bring in money. If student numbers fall, or there's no money for you, then it's goodbye. Also bear in mind chances of progression in the future. My role is currently non-progressable, so it's great now but may not be so great in 5 years time. I'm hoping this will change though so there's a clearer progression route like lecturer to senior lecturer etc.

Look out for jobs advertised like "teaching assistant", "teaching associate", "senior teaching associate", "teaching fellow" etc on jobs.ac.uk. Get as much teaching experience as you can now (demonstrating, lecturing, tutorials etc) because you will probably be chucked in the deep end and told to create new lecture units or field course from scratch, like I have been.

In the US I think these positions are common in the more teaching focused liberal arts places but I don't think they pay that well compared to lectureships at research intensive unis.

Thread: How long did you wait for PhD viva voce and what did you do in between?

posted
11-Aug-17, 20:55
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posted about 1 week ago
Quote From alexandercarey1989:

How did you get to do postdoc while waiting for viva? I thought you need PhD first before doing postdoc?


It was advertised as a postdoc but I was appointed as a Research Assistant until I passed my PhD. Usually what then happens is the person is then promoted to Research Associate. Actually, it wasn't the policy of the place I was working to do this - they just kept me on the same salary. That's one of the many reasons I hated it there and I left after a year and got a teaching post paying £11 k more so can't complain :)

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
11-Aug-17, 20:10
edited about 26 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
Yes a good 4th year mark will of course be of benefit for those reasons, but there's the issue of consistency. Any perspective supervisor will wonder why you didn't do as well in other years. More consistent candidates might have the edge over you.

Getting your MSci supervisor to like you will be a massive benefit. Supervisors won't sell you in a reference or to their colleagues if they didn't think you were a good student for them.

And a low 2.1 really isn't a problem anyway to be honest, like I said, most PhD students I know got a 2.1. But this is Biology at a Russell Group uni, might be different elsewhere.

Thread: Has this ever been done to get a PhD before?

posted
11-Aug-17, 19:00
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posted about 1 week ago
I agree, having looked at trends in student grades year on year at my uni, most students get the same sort of percentage throughout their years ie if they are getting 65% in year 2, they will get 65% in year 3. It's not common to see large grade increases.

It's pretty easy to get on to a PhD. Depending on field, there can be very few applicants so competition isn't always high. I know many people doing PhDs without 1st or masters as well. Also, grades aren't the be all and end all. Life skills are all important for doing a PhD successfully: resilience, perseverance, a thick skin, managing your project and your supervisor, time management, getting good data to publish etc etc

There's no usual time for PhD applications. That's just crap people say. They can start time of year, but most start in Sept/Oct. Many are advertised March/April time as well. You can apply before you get your result or after. You may as well try and see what happens. It will give you time to hone your application and interview skills if nothing else.

I think it's your predicted grades they will be looking at - not your third year grade. And bear in mind how your referee is going to calculate your predicted grade - they will look at your past grades.

It's your overall grade that will count in the end - people won't care much if you get a first in your MSci year but still a 2.1 overall. That's still a 2.1 overall.

Thread: Overwhelmed - help!

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:47
edited about 12 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
Yeah... you will probably end up rewriting it for your thesis.

I wrote a literature review in my first year, which was basically my thesis introduction, but I ended up rewriting it from scratch in my 4th year. I think this is quite normal, or at least it is if you do it properly. What I knew in my 4th year was vastly superior to my knowledge in my second year. I know people that used their first year one as their thesis intro and in my opinion it wasn't thorough enough, They still passed their PhD though. It doesn't really make any difference to be honest. I just rewrote it because I knew I could do better and I wanted to make sure it was 100% up to date. I added some papers in post viva as well because they were new out and I wanted to acknowledge them. I did this purely for me though.

I would leave yours now and work on something else. You can update it later.

Thread: Part time job at uni, fee waiver on course fees.

posted
10-Aug-17, 21:20
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posted about 1 week ago
Supervisors or tutors are either paid an hourly rate or on a salary. It won't make any difference to them whether you are paying fees or not - they will get paid the same either way.

Thread: Academic Job Mobility in the European Context

posted
10-Aug-17, 20:45
edited about 3 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
I don't really know about those specific countries or social sciences, but I think most people want to stick in their own city/country if given the chance, at least when they get to a certain stage in life. People need stability. It is often very difficult to find positions close by or even in the same country though and I think that's one of the key reasons people leave academia. Basically, I'm saying it's the same as in the US. If you want a permanent lecturer job by 5-10 years post PhD, you better be prepared to have moved to get it, or be prepared to accept something that isn't your ideal.

Personally, I'm not inclined to leave the UK. Actually, I'm not inclined to leave my home city. Luckily I have an academic job for now.

Thread: Part time job at uni, fee waiver on course fees.

posted
10-Aug-17, 20:17
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posted about 1 week ago
The fee waivers don't need to be funded - it's a just a reduction in income for the university/department. This is negligible in their million £ income per year. Universities get their money from student fees, research grants and any investments they have. It's not a straightforward case of money in equals money out. Science degrees are more expensive to run than arts degrees for example, so universities move money round as they need to.

Thread: pre-viva serious formatting mistake

posted
10-Aug-17, 20:11
edited about 13 seconds later
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posted about 1 week ago
This isn't a problem at all. They will just tell you to fix it before printing the final version.

Thread: How long did you wait for PhD viva voce and what did you do in between?

posted
10-Aug-17, 20:09
edited about 1 minute later
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posted about 1 week ago
It was about 6 weeks from submission to viva for me, with about a month's notice from what I can remember. I was already doing a postdoc. If I wasn't, I would have been writing papers whilst looking for a postdoc. Or take a holiday if I was in a financial situation to do so, which I wasn't after an unfunded 4th year.
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