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Failed PhD


Failed PhD

Hi All

I am sorry that I have no added the final chapter of my story

For those who may wounder what happened to my situation, here my story.

After a few months, I re-submitted my thesis and after two months, I had my viva. The new Viva lasted less than three hours and passed with minor corrections. Graduated in July 2016 and got a job week after my graduation. Since then I have been promoted a few times and I now manage a team.

Does my PhD helped me to be promoted faster in my field, Yes, it did to some extent but do I think PhD worth doing it, I still don't think if you are not going to take Academia route which I didn't? PhD only helps if you want to be a lecturer.

I didn't take academia route and I don't think I ever will. I don't want to end up to be a miserable examiner and fail a poor student just because her/his research contradicts my research that I have done it many moons ago.

The industry doesn't appreciate what you have gone through to achieve PhD and sometimes when you apply for a job, you don't get a job because you are overqualified.

Once again, I hope no-one ever goes through the horrible experience that many of us had gone through, but if the end up in my situation, DON'T give up because the examiner's decision is not the final one.

I would be more than happy to advise anyone, just inbox me a private message.

Failed PhD


First of all my case was complected and your right, downgrading PhD award with minor corrections award for failed PhD( MPhil ) is not a very common story but that was one of the reason my case was successful.

To your query,

your not clear if your given minor or major corrections?
what do you mean you have submitted revised draft (you mean your re-submission) and whom ?

To answer your final question, the longer time you take to do your corrections, the better, because, they examiners will think you have put too much effort to do the corrections and followed their comments and suggestions.

For example if you have been given 12 months for your corrections and if you re-submit it after 3 months, then the examiners will think you have been arrogant and wanted to prove them wrong that you didn't need 12 months. In addition, use all the time you have been given to ensure that you have satisfied the examiners because believe me, you don't want them to go against you. They can easily make you life hell.

if you want to get your PhD, DO the examiners asked you to do even if they have asked you to changed your name ( I know this sounds silly) but I am speaking from experience.

if your supervisor don't help you, then speak to your head of department, they have to help you, Plus there is not much your supervisors can do at this stage, apart from English prove reading because they don't know as much as you know about the study. get someone else to go through your revised thesis.

Failed PhD

one thing forgot to mention

If you see yourself in my situation, you will need to have a best educational representative, I strongly recommend Daniel Sokol.

I have had my research and spoke to many educational barristers but I decided to go with him. I think he is the best by far. He gave me a free advice and was with me on the phone for over 15 minute when i called first time. He was very honest and very sharp picking up all the mistakes which were done by the university and examiners. .

I am very glad I chose him, If it was not for his help, I am not sure if the outcome of my appeal would be the same. No matter how much you read and advice you get, it will not be as effect as that couple hours consultation that you have with the educational barrister, That is why I recommend everyone to get a legal representative.

Failed PhD

To answer Mackem_Beefy question

There will be a new examiners and the new examiners will be asked to assess the thesis as if it is a first submission.

Scrabbler, has made a good point. Apart from the unbearable stress and emotional resources for the past 14 months since I have done my Viva, I have spent over £20,000 for Living cost, Legal representative and re-submission fee. I am an international student and if it was not for this, I would have been home.

The funny part is the university still expect me to pay another £600 for the new submission but I have already filed a claim not only I don't pay for the new submission, I want my re-submission fee to be refunded.

Failed PhD

I attended the hearing today and before the judge introduce themselves; the chairman mentioned that I have a very strong appeal grounds and I could see sympathy and anger in his eyes.

They ask me to give my statement. All I said, you have my length (20 pages) appeal statement and there is no point for me to repeat the same thing. All I want is to be examined fairly like every other PhD students in our university and I want to be examined by two examiners who are expert in my field.

After that, they ask couple simple questions to verify my statement and they ask me to step outside. After 30 minute they call me in and said they have approved my appeal.

They quashed the examiners decision, and have given me 12 months to do any changes as I wish and a fresh Viva examination.

If you find yourself in my situation and I hope you don’t, send me a private message, I do my best to help and advise you what to do. There are many things which can help your appeal but you don’t know. I have read many rule, regulation and UK quality for higher education (QAA) regulation and learn a lot form them.
After I put my story on here, I had a private message from (Scrabbler) and he gave me a very good advice which strengthened my appeal statement significantly and I’m very grateful for that.

I will be letting you know when I set my new Viva and how the examination goes

Failed PhD

when I was told that I will not be awarded a PhD, I was devastated and desperate to find online forum and read stories and get advice from it. Therefore, I have decided to update my story as it process.

I hope no one will fail and need to read my story but in reality the percentage of failed PhD students are above 25% which is shocking. here the update

After a long online research and advise from many professional and barristers, I was told that the chance of my appeal to be approved to be heard by the research Appeal Degree is less 30%. in fact many had advised me not even to appeal because they strongly believed that my appeal will be dismissed.

However, i did not quit and never lost hope, I gathered all the information relating to my viva ( email exchanges, letters and etc) and with the help of educational barrister, I found a procedural irregularities and inadequate assessments during the viva. In my university, there are three ground for appeal 1) procedural irregularities 2) inadequate assessments and evidence of prejudice or bias 3) proof of the candidate was ill during the viva, which I was not

I wrote a comprehensive of 20 pages appeal statement and sent it to the educational barrister. After, changes were mad, the barrister sent the statement back and I finally submitted in March. After three months of waiting, my appeal was approved on both ground ( ground one and two) to be heard by the Research Degree Appeal.

The hearing will be at the end of July. I am now preparing my final defend statement for the judge. However, if the judges dismiss my appeal, i will take it to the independent court and i will take it as far as legally I can.

So my advice, if you find your self in my situation and I hope you don't, please Do not quit and give it a fight. because your future is worth it.

I will be updating you with the outcome of my hearing.


Failed PhD

I really appreciate all your kind messages.

After along decision with internal yesterday, he admitted that his initial thought was to pass me with minor corrections where the external suggest failed PhD with MPhil award. But unlucky me the internal has no expertise in my field, so he has agreed with the external to fail me.

To answer Marasp and Mackem_beefy questions,

The external fails me because during my viva he asked me to put something in my thesis which was completely wrong. despite I have given him a clear explanation why that can be done and supported my argument with several strong references. He still believe that he is right and my argument and all the references provided are wrong. In addition, both my supervisors who have experience in industry for over 20 years believe he is wrong but unfortunately they cant do anything against the external comment. because one of the most stupid rule of an appeal is that i cant appeal on any ground that dispute the academic judgement.

if we knew that the external was that harsh, we would have updated the thesis as he suggested. So in summery, me, my supervises and several references are wrong but the external is right. but again due to the rule and regulation, university only listen to the external examiners and my future means nothing.

My advise to those who have viva, i wish, you all pass with minor correction but if you were given major, please do your corrections as the examiners wants regardless how stupid their comments are.

Failed PhD

I am a full time funded PhD student started 2010 but finally submitted my thesis after 3.5 year which was last year march and had my viva in May. My both supervisor are very knowledgeable in my field and clearly thought I had done enough work until the day of my viva. I was passed with minor correction by the internal examiner and given 12 month resubmission with no second viva by the external. As you know the final decision is depends on the external decision. Therefore, I had to resubmit my thesis within 12 month. However, both examiners in the report after the viva confirmed in writing that they are satisfied with my knowledge and I was able to discuss my work with clarity in the area at the level expected of a PhD award. The major source of the concern is the thesis document itself.

The correction list was not significant and apart from some grammatical and type mistakes, I was asked to include some additional information (such as figures, tables and some basic parametric studies) and explain in details some points which were mentioned in my thesis. It only took me two month to complete all the corrections. After several checks by both supervisors and I, we were happy and agree that the new version of my thesis will satisfy the external. After 5 months from the day of my viva I resubmitted my corrected thesis.

After 3 and half month of waiting, I have now received a decision that I was not prepared for. My supervisors have told me that the internal examiner informed them that external has decided to fail me and recommend an MPhil award which I am not prepared to accept. (The formal report will come through next week). This has to be the worst experience of my life. I think I may have good grounds to show bias and ineligibility on the part of both the internal and external.

For the past few days, I have been doing extensive research on those students who have had a similar issue. I have realised that regardless of how strong your appeal ground can be, it appear a chance of winning the appeal is significantly slim. My hope for winning the appeal is fading as the time goes, however, I am going to do what I can do and spend every penny that I have on legal representative to give it a good fight.

I would very much appreciate if anyone has any experience of a similar situation, especially those who are in their appeal process? Thanks to those who have posted their experiences too. Please do advice if you know a good educational lawyer?