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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 at 12:45pm
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Thread: Supervisor problems

08-Nov-18, 14:00
Avatar for JohnGalt
posted about 7 months ago
I'm self-funded so there's no restriction on me changing supervisors. I just worry because my second supervisor is the head of the faculty so he's the last person I should be annoying! But I agree, I need to scrap them both. I've emailed my primary supervisor twice and he either responds defensively or replies really fast and shows that he clearly hasn't read my email. He was annoyed because he wanted me to write a long document to explain why the new topic that was suggested won't work. But why would/should I waste time justifying why I don't want to do this topic? They accepted my proposal so they can't just make me scrap it within 3 weeks. It feels like laziness on their part as they just want me to toddle off and write stuff for them.

My concern is that changing supervisor is something that the head of PhD research deals with, but he was really unhelpful when I raised my concerns. When I emailed him last, he did the same thing by replying within minutes but not addressing or acknowledging anything I said in my email. I've been thinking about transferring university but (even though my course only started 3 weeks ago) I'd have to re-apply for the next academic year (11 months away). But I wonder whether the worst case scenario is that I can spend the year doing all my research without a university, and then officially start next year and get the PhD done early.

Thread: Supervisor problems

08-Nov-18, 09:05
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for JohnGalt
posted about 7 months ago
This forum doesn't appear to have been used in a long time so I might be talking into the abyss here. I started my PhD only a few weeks ago but I'm struggling with my supervisor/s. When I first met my primary supervisor we only had about 20 mins to chat and he sent me away to write a 6 page document outlining my research question. I had no idea what to write because I'd already written a proposal when I applied - which had obviously been accepted. Also, my supervisor hadn't actually offered my any guidance. A few weeks later, I've finished the document and sent it over to him. His response is to invite me for a meeting with him and my second supervisor (who is also the head of the faculty).

I turn up to the meeting on strong painkillers because I'd hurt my neck, and my second supervisor just savaged my document, saying how incredibly broad it was and stating it wasn't 'the starting point of a PhD'. Basically making me feel stupid. I was obviously annoyed because I only wrote what I was asked to and I was given literally no guidance whatsoever. The second supervisor then tells me my research project isn't 'groundbreaking', though he couldn't reference any literature which explored the same topic or made similar arguments. He then suggested I do another topic, and laid out exactly what that would be. He was really intimidating, he's powerful in the faculty, and I was really woozy from the painkillers, so I just sat there taking it all in. My primary supervisor stepped in by making suggestions that were a lot closer to my original topic, but the second supervisor shot him down too. I was then asked to go off and write 6-10 pages on this new topic, again without any guidance. I don't like this new topic.

I contacted the head of PhD studies in the faculty, who was useless. I don't know what to do now!
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