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bewildered
Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 6:52pm
Tuesday, 3 December 2019 at 4:24pm
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page 1 of 63 recent posts

Thread: Self-Funded PhDs. Good or Bad?

posted
10-Oct-16, 18:02
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posted about 3 years ago
There are few project-based funded soc sci PhDs - most of the funded places available are through the ESRC's doctoral training centres, where you have to write a proposal. If you meet the eligibility criteria, and can put together both a really strong proposal and a good supervisory team then, it's not impossible for someone with your profile to get funding particularly if you aim at the DTCs based away from London / Oxford / Cambridge.
Regarding self-funding - you need to ask yourself whether you would be happy to have spent all that money (and add in lost earnings during the PhD) if as is likely you don't get an academic post at the end. Nothing to do with your ability, just that the stats say that only 6% of PhD graduates in the UK will get a permanent academic post. If you are wealthy then maybe that's irrelevant, but if you are going to struggle to cover fees / living expenses (and thus really struggle to pay too for conferences / fieldwork), then if it didn't work out, it can be gutting. I understand the LSE is trying to cut back on self-funded PhDs for this reason.

Thread: 1+3 PhD and "all year round PhD": help!

posted
10-Oct-16, 17:53
edited a moment later
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posted about 3 years ago
The 1+3 PhDs are often linked to research council funding doctoral training centres, and do tend to start in September. Only the universities the research councils think are strong enough in their research training for a particular subject have DTCs. The DTCs tend to have one deadline a year usually early Spring. Other fund PhDs are tied to specific research projects and can be advertised and start at any time.

Thread: Changing subject of interest after gaining a PhD

posted
10-Oct-16, 17:50
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posted about 3 years ago
I think your big problem would be credibility. If you haven't studied criminology, you would be limited in what you could teach, and it's a social science unlike history, and if you haven't had social sciences research methods training, you'd struggle to publish in their journals / get research funding etc. You'd be better staying with history but trying to build interdisciplinary links where you can, rather than swapping discipline area entirely.

Thread: Over 2 weeks to assign reviewers?

posted
03-Oct-16, 20:01
edited about 1 second later
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posted about 3 years ago
Probably it is that everyone they approach is refusing to review. It is after all not exactly a quiet time of year and both the journal editors and potential reviewers will have multiple other calls on their time. Only chase it up next week if you are a lab scientist. For social sciences a normal time in review is about 3 months and what you can see on the journal software is not necessarily a good guide to the reality. For humanities, I have heard 6 months is not unusual.

Thread: Supporting PhD student

posted
03-Oct-16, 19:57
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posted about 3 years ago
I assume the student has to have work completed by the confirmation point? I think you are going to have to make the consequences of continued non-progress very clear to him/her both face-to-face and in writing, while they still have enough time to remedy matters. Otherwise if it comes as a complete shock, then you really have a problem.
Think too what your gut sense is of what the problem is: is it e.g. laziness, lack of research ability, some kind of personal issues like depression or just someone who hasn't realised that a PhD isn't a longer undergraduate dissertation yet? There will be students who however well they did at undergrad are just not PhD-ready and it is a huge step, especially if you don't do a Masters. Sometimes it can be a bit of arrogance - the conviction that their undergrad dissertation was so marvellous that they simply don't need to read the things you're telling them too. Or the opposite, so overwhelmed that maybe a very short piece of writing is the best thing to start with.
I would say too that if there's no improvement after your warning, don't just wave them through. A weak student leaving after a year is upsetting for all concerned, failing after 4 years devastating for the student and will have meant a lot of work for you in the intervening time.

Thread: Am I being bullied or am I just gutless?

posted
26-Sep-16, 15:09
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posted about 3 years ago
Don't you need to take some personal responsibility for your own actions too? You must know that leaving broken glass lying around is a health and safety problem, and that if another person was hurt because you did not clear it immediately then it would be the lab head who gets the blame from the university for permitting unsafe practices. I'm not surprised he was angry to be honest, even if he went over the top.

Thread: teaching scholarship vs 'normal' scholarship

posted
13-Sep-16, 00:18
edited about 17 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
That's an awful lot of teaching even if it's just 2 lots of repeat seminars, especially when you factor in marking. I'd ask for specifics. If it involves any lecturing or module leadership I'd run a mile as you will simply not touch the PhD during term-time. It will also probably work out at less than minimum wage when you add in the prep time.
The other thing to think about is whether that much teaching is compatible with doing the PhD you'd want to do - you'll be lucky if it's confined to 2 days a week, so could you manage the sort of lab work / fieldwork / archive trips or whatever's needed? And writing the papers, going to conferences etc? Personally, I'd go for uni B because they're offering no strings funding, better reputation and stronger supervision. You aren't really expected to have masses of teaching experience on completion, so you could probably get enough with B. My worry with A is that you end up with little beyond teaching experience, which if you're not sure that's what you want to do could be less than ideal.

Thread: Anyone taken a break between PhD and postdoc in order to start a family? Would like advice pls :)

posted
15-Aug-16, 20:47
edited about 8 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
You mention turning the PhD into a book so I'm guessing humanities / social science discipline? If so, you don't see many project-based postdocs advertised - it's mainly individual fellowship schemes eg Leverhulme or (for now at least) Marie Curies and those do allow maternity leave to be taken. If that's what you were thinking of why not apply and if you got one then try for a baby and see what happens? They need so much prep and backing from a university that I would have thought better to do that groundwork minus a baby than with.

Some women are blessed with a fast recovery from birth / easy baby and maybe can keep up publishing but it's impossible to know where you'd be on the wide spectrum as you say. If you already have some good publications a year's gap is not a problem but if you don't have a record already then it probably would be damaging. But that's something you can judge.

I think it's not so much having a baby that hurts career prospects as the fact that it tends to increase geographical inflexibility - I'm in a social science discipline - there will maybe be 30-40 lectureships advertised per year and usually 150 well-qualified applicants (nearer 300 for the Oxbridge / good London unis). The odds are already against everyone and if you are tied to a place because you need family childcare support then they just become much much higher. Would you be ok with a non-academic career if it doesn't work out?

Thread: Job application dilemma

posted
10-Aug-16, 19:56
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posted about 3 years ago
Is the new job temporary? If not, I can't see the benefit in applying for the temporary teaching fellowship or the postdoc at Uni A If you are fairly sure the latter is sewn up. Teaching fellowships normally involve a lot of teaching and no time for research. If you're not committed to the non-academic route, you might well get more published through doing some work in the evenings while working a less stressful non-academic job than as a teaching fellow. You also have the problem that if you got it, you will need another job in 12 months. Uni A are not likely to take you very seriously for any non-academic jobs again and IIRC you want very much to stay in that city. Are there many other possible employers e.g. industry?
If you do apply, I wouldn't mention your new job unless there's a form that specifically asks the question about connections to Uni A, as I can't see how it would come across well at all. Obviously HR at Uni A will know about your existing new job and these applications. They should keep it confidential but interviews etc would be tricky to manage without your new manager finding out - that may do damage to your prospects if you are not successful. It's not normally the done thing to accept a professional level job with the intent of leaving straightaway.
Uni B you're not potentially burning bridges so not a problem. I would though say that you need to be aware that if it's 'not a great uni', then it will be difficult to move back to a more research-focused role as the teaching and pastoral obligations are often very high. Are you happy with a predominantly teaching role dealing with poorly prepared students who are likely to need more support than you are used to giving?

Thread: Sharing non-academic opinions

posted
02-Aug-16, 18:29
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posted about 3 years ago
I think it depends on a few factors.
a) Is this a personal blog or a contribution to something like 'The Conversation'? If it's something like the latter then unless other contributors are overtly political I'd avoid it.
b) Are your views likely to be viewed as extreme? If so, would you be happy for potential future employers to be able to read the blog posts? And if you are currently teaching or will in the future, would you be happy for students to know your views?
c) Especially if you are female, unless comments are disabled / moderated, are you resilient about any online abuse you might get?

Thread: No job after 3 years of PhD. My options are?

posted
27-Jul-16, 18:08
edited about 19 seconds later
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posted about 3 years ago
http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php/board,28.0.html this might be worth looking at for advice too.

Thread: No job after 3 years of PhD. My options are?

posted
27-Jul-16, 17:43
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posted about 3 years ago
I think HazyJane has given you some great advice if you're sure this is the direction you want to move in. I hope you can get some feedback.
I also wonder whether adjuncting is making you feel worse not better about your situation. I think during the PhD we can get really socialised into believing that not getting a fulltime academic job is failure and that universities are the best environment to work in. I'm pretty sure both of those statements are untrue. I think for some people part-time teaching (and the exploitation that goes with it) actually heightens the incorrect feeling that you've failed as you have to interact with those who did get lucky and got that fulltime job. I don't know whether you are geographically tied or what the employment situation is like where you live, but could you earn as much doing a different sort of job? I think sometimes being reminded that we can do things and are perfectly competent people, by succeeding at anything, is what we need in the post-PhD world to repair self-esteem.

Thread: How to defeat your destiny?

posted
27-Jul-16, 17:27
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posted about 3 years ago
I don't know if you are aware of how few people who complete PhDs get a permanent academic post in the countries I think you are targeting - for the UK, the Royal Society claims it's 8%. So in reality even if you are unhappy with your job, you are doing better than most. I wonder whether you are trying to jump too far too fast? Universities in the United States especially seem to put so much emphasis on where you did your PhD that maybe applying there at this point is not the best use of your time.
Might it make sense to try to move initially to a better university in your current country / region so that you are in a better research environment with more resources? Then I think you need to get your name known. Are there possibilities to apply for grants for short research visits to the type of institute you want to work in to learn a new technique? Build collaborations with Western researchers working on your region like Talented suggests? Are you making sure your papers are as accessible as possible e.g. use academia.edu or similar? What i'm suggesting is that you might have to look on this as a longer term project and think step by step how you can get into the position you want to be in.

Thread: Master in Ludwig Maximilian University: I don't know where to start, how to prepare documents.

posted
26-Jul-16, 14:48
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posted about 3 years ago
Hi Inji
I think they want to know about the courses / modules you have taken in those areas during your Bachelors degree / teacher training course. They want to know whether you have covered enough of what they cover in their undergraduate degree to cope with the Masters. I would list all the education, research methods, statistics classes you have taken (if there's an online syllabus on your undergraduate university's website perhaps provide links, if not just give a couple of lines on what was covered) and if you wrote a dissertation / research project or anything like that perhaps you could give the title and abstract? I assume you have to send a transcript too so it's the content rather than the marks you got that they are interested in.

Thread: Feel bullied in Postdoc

posted
06-Jul-16, 15:49
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posted about 3 years ago
You do need to check your contract and find out what your notice period actually is, because you have a legal obligation to work out your notice, unless you can agree a shorter period. Basically if you abide by your contract and do a proper handover to either the PI or your successor, then you are unlikely to burn bridges. If you behave unprofessionally and particularly if you do things that ruin the project (like not handing over data) then that's when you start getting a bad reputation
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