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a question for people who english is 1st or 2nd language

Everybody makes mistakes in academic writing. Even my supervisor proposes language changes to my work which are wrong! If you want to improve your language quickly you need to immerse yourself in the language, switch all your devices to English, communicate with your friends in English, read the news in English, watch TV in English, and listen to English language songs. Also try to socialise with colleagues at university who do not speak your first language.


I find running to be a great way to release stress! You should also schedule socialising time with other friends or colleagues as part of your schedule, this way you will have something to look forward to.

What notice does associate lecturer (UK hourly paid) have to give?

If you signed a contract with them it should definitely be there, if it is not and you are teaching a specific subject only, there would be a strong expectation that you teach the whole course (either the whole semester or the whole year).

How do you keep up with the current research? Sciece related

I am coming from the social sciences, and the way I keep is by following specialist news outlets on social media that report latest developments in the field, and I periodically search through the electronic databases for keywords relating to my research. I also do not focus on a specific journal, and focus more on authors, so at times I try to follow the blog of a certain author and keep up with what they are writing in journals and elsewhere. Not sure if any of these tips allow to your field.

Nearly Failed Viva

Thanks for sharing this TheGoodShip, it's been two years since you've written this and it is still very relevant!

What to do if I am downgraded from PhD to MPhil?

Quote From tru:
I do have structure and defined chapters now, but I do not have enough time left to carry out my experiments. I hope to be able to secure more time but it will all depend on the outcome of my meeting with my coordinator in a few weeks. And yes, I am in my final year. Most people as close to the end as me have completely stopped doing experiments. I still have a mountain to do. I feel that all seem hopeless. The loneliness and the shame of a possible failure are in my face.

Do not think that downgrading or failing are the only two possible options, there are many people who managed to turn everything around at the very end and produced a thesis good enough for a pass. You need to focus your energy on possible solutions (working hard on producing something presentable for the final submission as soon as you can, AND PROBABLY submitting a formal complaint on the side as a backup measure). For your meeting with the coordinator you will have to think of what you want as an outcome from this meeting, your number 1 priority should be to pass, so try to get as much advice from him on what you can do to improve your chance of passing (extensions, extra support, etc), and do not focus on how bad the supervision is EXCEPT when discussing the complaint. I think you should think of these two as separate issues and pursue them that way.

We have all had horrible experiences, you are not the alone. My original supervisor was very horrible, and even my new one is not that great, it does get very depressing and lonely at times, but we all have to push on! :) You can do this!

Tips for building a working relationship with your supervisor

Instead of complaining about our bad supervisors, can we think of ideas of how to make the most out of a bad situation? What have you guys done to improve your working relationship with your supervisor and to help them do their job in a better way?

My supervisor is extremely horrible with time management and never responds to any of my emails, the way I am surviving is never to leave his office without agreeing on the date for our next meeting. I try to make our meetings regular even when I don't have anything to discuss (I schedule a meeting once every month) just in case I need him to sign a document or do something for me. In between, I might send him emails about different things but I send them without any expectation of a response because (a) I know he won't, and (b) I will discuss them with him when we meet. At times he tries to avoid committing to an appointment, but I insist because I know he will ignore my emails after I leave and I won't be able to see him for months.

I also plan things way in advance and try to check the rules and regulations to see what formalities need to be completed. He doesn't know the regulations & doesn't seem to care about me or my research, so I have to be on top of it all and make sure that I complete any formalities needed by the university. If I need him to do something for me I will email it to him months before the deadline, be very clear in my email about the deadline and what is required for him to do. I will them mention it to him in the meeting, and then again remind him about after a month or so.

I am still struggling with some other aspects of dealing with him, but I try to figure our solutions on how to make it work.

How do you guys overcome some of the challenges relating to bad supervision?

What to do if I am downgraded from PhD to MPhil?

This is a very serious issue. First of all, do you have evidence that you reached this point because of the lack of supervision? Have you asked for feedback on your work and gotten no proper feedback? Have you asked for a meeting and they refused to see you?

Also, how much of your thesis have you written in total? Do you have a proper manuscript with a structure and defined chapters? You say that you are running out of time, are you in your third year or in your fourth year?

If you think you will be downgraded as a result of bad performance of your supervisors you should make an official complaint to your university in writing. Your language has to be very clear and direct, with evidence and copies of communications.

If your complaint does not work, then you have to complain against your university through the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. You must check that your institution is a member first, I think, but not sure, that there is a procedure even if your institution is not there. Using the OIA is free, so if you are stuck at the end and you have nothing to lose you should definitely make your complaint formal.

Viva done!



I feel that I have been in a similar situation even though I am in the same city as my university, but I do not use their library and work completely on my own. My supervisor has had minimal input on my research, I feel that I have total ownership of the research. I came with the expectation that the PhD would be an opportunity to have a mentor, learn from other people and build professional lasting relationships (even though I am a mature student and do not plan on going into academia or stay in the same country). I am doing well with my research, but I can't say that I have any real connection with my university or any of its academics including my supervisor. Maybe it's not meant to be and I just need to get over it. I would love to have the same attitude as you and just focus on the contribution that I am make on the knowledge, which I believe I already have had through some papers I presented.

in desperate need of advice.. getting cold feet please help

Will you have a second supervisor? If you have a second supervisor who has more experience it would make working with an unexperienced supervisor seem safer.

It is very difficult to make a judgement because an unexperienced supervisor might work harder to prove himself, while an experienced one might have several PhD students and won't have a lot of time to focus on you. However, the only evidence of how good a supervisor is the number of students who completed their PhDs under his supervision. New supervisors might not know much about the regulations, might not know anything about time management or managing other people, and they might not have the professional network to help find you an examiner who would understand your topic and make a reasonable judgment on your thesis at the end.

However, everyone must start somewhere and this person might turn out to be the supervisor in the world, but if you think you want to change supervisors you need to do it as soon as you can. The only way to be able to make a decision about this is to try to meet your supervisor as often as you can for a couple of months and try to assess the extent to which he can provide you with the support you need. Also (1) try to ask others who have dealt with him, (2) send him emails to see if he responds on time, (3) ask for things such as recommendations for books to read etc, (4) arrange to have a meeting with him and see if he would come on time, etc. Having interactions with him and will help you make a better judgement on whether or not to change him.

How much support can I expect (1st year publication)

The only way for you to know is by trying this out. Your supervisor might be a nice person and may provide with feedback on the quality of the paper, point out errors and suggest improvements. If you say that this is expected of someone in your field, then the supervisor should also expect to get this kind of request.

I presented a paper at a conference in my first year which got provisionally accepted as a chapter in a book (Now waiting for the approval of the publisher). I did not ask for any help from him and did not even tell him that I was doing this because the paper is not directly related to my research question and he is not an expert in the area of the paper (My thesis covers two topics and he is an expert in one only). He also has not shown a lot of interest in my personal or professional life and has been extremely slow when giving me feedback on my work. So I did not think it would be reasonable for me to ask him for his opinion and I was not ready to wait a month or two to get his feedback.

At my wits end!!!

You shouldn't freak out just because you think you wasted one year of your PhD, it is very easy to finish a PhD in three years if you work hard, and you say you are on a four year program, so definitely you can catch up and finish on time.

With that being sound, you do sound like you are stressing too much about this. People who have jobs still have a life, go out, socialise, meet their families, etc. It is not sustainable or healthy to work 24/7. If you plan your schedule properly and stick to a proper research timeline you should still be able to enjoy the evenings and go out with family and friends over the weekend. I am not sure of your situation and the demands of your family and friends, if they ask you to go out during the middle of the week or want you to vacation with them during the middle of the term that would definitely not be reasonable of them, but doing things during weekends and holidays shouldn't be a problem!