Signup date: 08 Nov 2011 at 11:34pm
Last login: 13 Jun 2017 at 11:47am
Post count: 14
I agree with you that you won't get discriminated against if you are great and have a great profile. But that is the issue in itself - you have to be bloody incredible. About the application writing, I was told by friends that they had more than significant help with applications because it was so competitive. The reason many Chinese plagiarise, for example, is because of the extreme pressure to succeed from parents back home who have sold everything to get their kids educated. Who you know is still important and not everyone can forge the right networks.
In Geography, the year I applied, I think 8 students got scholarships across 80 odd geography departments (through the funding competition) . My friend, who was from a private school background, had a mother with a PhD and a father who was good at proofreading. Her boyfriend helped extensively with technical aspects of her PhD - even with this network of support, she too did not get ESRC funding (she was close). I never met an ethnic minority Geography PhD student until I went to another university for a travel grant. I was based in one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK!
True, I know some people form working class backgrounds in academia, but it is becoming increasingly stratified. As an international student, you need to have some scholarship; the cost of living is so high. However, other European countries (Denmark maybe Germany) have been doing a lot to get international students in. Again, cost of living is a factor (which is why I had to live at home).
For comfort, I averaged in the 60s and applied to my own university for self-funding. I am surprised you did not get more offers as most places are looking to take on PhD students (funded or not) .
I was self-funded and felt as if I was some kind of failure because I suppose by getting funding (which is hellish competitive if you are talking research councils). But in the end, I lived at home and saved at alot as during 2006 to 2011, I paid about £3,300 a year in fees. Only issue was I was working one year part time registration because I had two part time jobs - I quit one job after my 3rd year.
I did get chance to get a deal where if I went to a Northern university, they would pay my full costs for 1 year and just fees for another two years. But I was studying market towns and worked out I would need to buy and insure a car and take on a lot of part time work. Also, I thought I would take 4 years, so I would have one year struggling (I took about 4 years, 9 months). So although the offer semed sexy, I would be better off being at home. There was no chance for a working class kid like me to get given ESRC funding (Reserach Council funding), I know a lot of people who have their applications fully written by a Professor so I could not compete with this middle class corruption (who you know not what you know).
What I would say is if you compromise your research topic, there are funded PhD projects out there with few applicants sometimes - but the issue is doing something you may not have a passion for. On the flip side, I am no longer reseaching market towns so you don't have to be so rich about sticking to the research topic you 100% want (Be flexible)
Getting a lecturing position is getitng tough but can be easier at the less research intensive unis although I know they teach a lot more. For me, I know I am not productive enough to stay in a top UK uni - however, working in SE Asia, there is a lot of demand for scholars to teach in branch campuses etc. In Thailand, for example, the pressure to publish is much less and the lifestyle much better. However, not everyone can travel and be mobile (As a working class guy, I know this more than most). Research grants are much easier to get over here (Thailand) I can tell you! I could get virtually no money to support my PhD in the UK!
I kinda agree with most of the posts. Just to clarify, she can't not finish the PhD because she got a scholarship to go to the UK. It is a debt paid back by teaching at her university in Thailand at least 10 years but if she does not submit, she is not allowed to work full stop (Because the debt has not been paid back). It is a silly rule meaning one Thai I know cannot return to Thailand because she owes the government money.
I agree it seems like I am doing a lot but Thais need a lot of help with social science PhDs because their English is poor. So a vast majority need someone to at least edit the sentences so they are more readable. She does not expect me nor would I write chapters for her - I am too busy myself. If she writes I will check them and edit.
She does help me so much with my own university because most of the people there are incompetent - she has to deal with that and help me with my academic promotion (Because the idiots at my university don't know their own procedures).
Yes, I agree, this post sounds similar to 2015. It is worrying just knowing what she is doing whilst I am teaching or at the uni. She is stressed but I just don't get how her progress can be slower than first time around - I blame myself a bit for not intervening but then she does not pay her fee to me, it goes to her uni to support her.
Finally, I will just let her get on with it - if I think of it, it gets too much and I get depressed myself. I have no problem people struggling because I did myself but my case with her is extreme. I am checking one chapter now and two others tomorrow, hopefully her supervisors see she has enough to go and do her fieldwork then she can gain more confidence.
Cheers for the advice
Thanks the suggestions are good ideas but in Thailand most lecturers in social science never publish or do any work so writing groups are difficult to find. Feedback is pretty much never clear from my own experience, certainly how we do things in the UK is not conducive to international students, that I am certain.
I agree with writing groups but i know from my own field, was just not enough like-minded people to do it - thai universities do not have a research culture.
Supporting my partner doing a PhD, last 18 months (Issues for women)
I posted 2 years ago about my Thai partner who failed her viva but is now registered elsewhere to try to complete her PhD studies. Whilst we thought he doing the PhD a second time would be difficult, we thought 3 to 4 years would be okay but now my partner needs to use the full 5 years of registration.
The registration began in 2014 but her progress in that year was limited to a research proposal and a lot of reading. She has been able to work from home, fulltime whilst I hold down a teaching job in a Thai university. English is her second language and whilst her speaking and English are at IELTS 7.5 (She is ace at this) but her reading and writing are more level 5.5. During 2015, it took her 6 months to submit a 20 page outline of her thesis (which was good) and I was happy this was the turning point.
Entering 2016, she drafted four chapters for review by her supervisors (Distance learning she goes to meet them once a year and has Skype consultations), they gave her a lot of comments back and since Dec 2016 is working on the corrections. Once completed, she can do her fieldwork, but she needs to submit her work by June. It is now 2 days away from her deadline and I have 3 chapters to edit and read (I still don't have them). She has taken 5 to 5.5 months on this editing and has not passed one chapter for me to proof or check.
This is affecting our relationship - sex is dead and now I feel like the monster pushing her to finish. She is past her mid-30s and never worked and I thought I was old in my late 20s! I need some help from the ladies here on how to help. She has to finish, her scholarship means she cannot work another job ever.
Hi, I have not contributed to this forum for a while. Wanted to update on my partner. Last July (2015) she did submit a good piece of work which I edited a bit and was hopeful she would push on. But her health took a turn during October/November last year. A condition with her eyes (which she did not tell me about) was affecting her. We thought that was sorted early this year (2016) but she said it affected her till March
I argued it was okay to not be well but she needed to inform her supervisor who also suggested she took time off. He is not a bad guy at all, but a bit hands off as this is a distance learning PhD (Social Sciences). She is now working on 3 chapters but has not given me work to check in over year so now I am taking a stand because this is crucial now because she has 2 year, 4 months left (technically she is registered as part-time to reduce her fee but she is working full time on the PhD). I am not an aggressive guy at all and I was far more laid back, but now I seem much more stronger than her supervisor cos I live with her everyday.
My bullshit Thai university causes us headaches and she has to help me with basic admin a lot (The university does not use email and all documents are in Thai). I sacrificed a lot over 10 years to be with my partner and spent 4.5 years on my own self-funded PhD so I am not a rich guy. We are living at the family home, I sacrifice my own privacy and independence to be with this girl (she is now 36)
I am trying to get her to show me some progress. Many Thai PhD students seem to struggle as their English is not so good but I don't mind helping as long as I get work to check. I feel trapped.
I think it is important here to give specific advice. This is due to the generally poor advice I think I have had in terms of writing. Assumptions are made that good students are good writers already. This is not the case - the key difference between essay writing and the thesis is the process of writing.
When I was writing essays for my A-levels, I could draft, in one go, an essay that would get a B grade. They were short enough not to need drafting or editing. Thesis writing hit me for six - it was hard to write such long chapters and I had not been prepared for this as I had gone to a very ordinary school and community college. In the past, PhD students were elite brainiacs on the whole who needed very little supervision to get their PhD. This is why today; we have many issues with supervision because the PhD intake is far more diverse.
The key thing I have found (and not been taught at all) is that write a load of rubbish first. Yes! Look at what you chapter is about, read about your topic then write, just write. You then need to edit what you have written several times before it is ready. You might read and re-read articles, but you can't write a chapter in one go - getting words on paper is the most important thing to build confidence. Focus on writing training in this regard is still only just coming into universities which I think is shocking as I felt I was under supported.
Very interesting, but let’s be clear - If you live outside of the North of England and the Midlands then you would have to be pretty middle class to afford a place whilst studying for a PhD. I knew someone who did but again, they had a partner earning good money and a Midlands property market. Compared to Thailand houses are cheap though, a two floor house built of concrete and not to Western standards is about £60,000 without furnishings and when you compare that Northern England, you can see if you get a good job up North you are laughing. Plus in Thailand, even with a PhD, you earn 3-4 times less than a typical lecturer in the UK. Added to that the second-hand car market does not function in the same way - it’s better to buy new. My car cost nearly as much as a small condo (£14,000 to £15,000) paid over many years even with the Thai bank of mum and dad. Things are about 40 to 50% cheaper but internet retailing does not exist outside of Bangkok. Therefore I would argue Western countries, economically, are cheaper to live in than middle income countries when you look relatively and omg, the UK must be the cheapest place to run a car even with our high fuel prices.
It should be noted social science PhD research is very difficult - you have to write a hell lot more than scientists who can sometimes 'bash' out their thesis in 3-4 months at a push. I was doing fieldwork about 16 months in but had to still go back to my literature review into my third year. It was annoying and then the requirement from my uni to finish in four years even though I was self-funded. I took nearly 5 years but had one year part-time (So I class it as 4.5 years).
My partner had a bad experience and we had to go elsewhere for a second go. Its tough living with someone doing a PhD I can tell you - others are going through the same. Key is making notes from your reading and don't do what I did for years - make them electronically! Trying to convince my partner but she is still trying to read whole papers and understand them even thoguh English is her second language!
My partner suffered the worst possible outcome in her viva - she was told her thesis was not up to standard even though her supervisors said she should pass. My partner was an international student and pretty much not backed up by her department. We fought (she was studying in the same department as me) but as many people have highlighted, you cannot overturn the external's decision (during early 2010).
This takes us to early 2012 and once I submitted my changes, I moved straight to Southeast Asia (Thailand). I had already got engaged a few months after our bad news during 2010 - I wanted to show my commitment. By early 2014, we had finally found a university willing to accept her (with updated IELTS scores) and she enrolled on a distance learning programme during January 2014.
Her progress has been slow even though her supervisor said she could adapt much of her old thesis. By January 2014, I had helped her edit a new research proposal. My partner also helped me get a travel grant back to the UK. However, I was gone for over 3 months and we had a conference paper to present together yet she only sent me her paper a few nights before I needed to travel home - she had done virtually no work since I had been gone.
I just took her back to the UK to meet her supervisor (March 2015) in which she should have prepared a revised proposal which would mean she could then move on to do her fieldwork. But this has still not materialised as she agonises over the literature, reading but NOT taking notes at all. She has less than 1,000 words of a proposal to show for six to eight weeks work. Her parents are paying her nearly £6,000 per year tuition fee and we planned to get her a PhD in 3 years. 18 months have been used with little to show for it. Help!
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