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Wednesday, 19 May 2010 at 8:33am
Monday, 24 September 2018 at 8:31am
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Thread: just share my feelings

24-Sep-15, 21:14
edited about 16 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago
I was also extremely stressed when I applied for the PhD scholarship. My life was a mess, and I remember waking up in a panic attack. Try to keep cool.

Have you received a full scholarship? If yes, the worst is over.
You might feel that you don't have a choice (they choose you) but you do. Choose well as having a good supervisor can "make or break" the PhD. Do you have an option to work with someone you have worked with in the past?

Thread: Viva next week: tips and advice for before and during?

24-Sep-15, 20:56
edited about 5 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi glowworm ,

I got minor revisions. And I really really don't want to scare you. You will be fine. Most people have a positive viva experience, a stimulating discussion with academics that care about your work.

I am sure I am the minority, and it boils down to poor selection of the examiners.

Good luck, let us know how it goes

Thread: Viva next week: tips and advice for before and during?

22-Sep-15, 16:28
edited about 10 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi glowworm,

I had a horrible viva experience.

Define horrible: first of all they were almost an hour late (IMO extremely rude).
They asked me primarily the standard questions you find online in a standard google search.Very few technical questions (mostly from my external).

I had the wrong mind set. Let me try to explain what I mean. I know I will sound like an arrogant pr*ck but this really happened, and I guess it might happen again in multi-disciplinary PhDs. It is very hard to put yourself in the examiner's position, and try to guess what they understand/know (and more importantly what they don't) from their questions. In retrospective, this is what I should have done. Instead, the very basic questions caught me unprepared. I stared blank. When I received the comments and read them in the comfort of not being in the viva, I sighted "Blimey! they didn't know this chemical reacts with the other chemical, that's what they were asking". So you need to understand the question, rather than guess the question

Thread: Master USA...really worth?

22-Sep-15, 15:40
edited about 11 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi Manuel,

I can really not advice you as I don't know your personal circumstances,where do you plan to work etc Most Europeans that come to do a master in the UK, they do it for one of the following reasons:

1) Enter the job market in the UK (it would be much harder with a European undergraduate degree);
2) continue for a PhD (increases chances of funding);
3) go back home (where they already have an established career) with extra qualifications.

A self-funded master in the US is worth only in case 3.

Thread: Qut PhD and apply elsewhere

21-Sep-15, 16:48
edited about 15 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago
If you publish two good papers, you might as well just right up your PhD. In two years' time you can apply for a post-doc.

1. Book in advance your meetings with the supervisor,
2. write a structured list of the topics you want to discuss to make the meeting as efficient as possible.

I rarely met my supervisor more than once a month for a PhD meeting. I would ask for comments on papers even less often (he hated looking at drafts, only finished work).

Thread: Two weeks...

21-Sep-15, 16:40
edited about 29 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago

when you have a bad day, cut your loses and take some time off to clear off your head.
I used all three options for proof reading: native English friend, native English supervisor and professional services. The friend outperformed supervisors (not too much time) and professionals (did not understand the context) because he was working on a similar topic

Thread: viva corrections

17-Sep-15, 12:43
edited about 21 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi excommunicate,

I had a bad viva experience too but fortunately did not go as far as yours. But I totally empathise with you, as I felt similarly.
To cut a long story short, I had two aggressive examiners (which my supervisor selected), and an unpleasant viva experience. The outcome was minor revisions. Next day I got a massive report of 14 pages of corrections ( my internal was absolutely clueless and the comments had no scientific basis).

Judging from the aggression of the viva and the aggression of the comments, I thought that the internal will go on and on not letting me complete, but they b* off after the first round of comments. I don't know the dynamics in your department, but if things went nasty, I would first talk to the head of the department and the head of the institute. If that didn't work, a lawyer. Don't bother with the head of postgraduate studies. Take the list of the corrections and your publications and smash the place down.

Thread: Can anyone recommend printers and Binders in London?

13-Sep-15, 13:14
edited about 13 seconds later
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posted about 5 years ago
I pmed you because I don't want to spam with ads

Thread: Help needed applying to PhD at Cambridge

02-Sep-15, 09:05
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi Sainno,

I can't offer much help, but from what I have seen, you will be in a better position if you already have the funding and apply to be accepted as a PhD candidate. It is not easy to get international funding through the university.

Just a warning, Cam has a weird centralised system of assigning students to supervisors (so you might end up in another group). Also, I would encourage you to apply to other unis too, imperial for example is probably strong in this area.

You can also increase your chances of being accepted somewhere if you have publications or do a master (and do well) so they wanna keep you around.

Good luck.

Thread: The Final Moments...

24-Aug-15, 11:20
Avatar for DrJeckyll
posted about 5 years ago
Common mistakes:

- update Month of submission in the first page
- in my University there needs to be continuous numbering from page 1 to the end. That means you shouldn't use Roman page numbers for the front pages
- all chapters start on the right-hand page (if you print double-sided)
- Once you insert page breaks to fix headings at the bottom, make sure figures and tables stay at the right place (if you use Word)
- each table and figure must be stand-alone, put footnotes of abbreviations in each table and Figure
- you didn't miss any abbreviations
- make sure that in the headings first letter of each word is consistently either a capital letter or a lower-case letter.
- bullet points are correct and consistent ( upper or lower case, semi-column etc)
- numbers should be consistent eg 70,000 vs 70000
- same decimal points in tables especially 6 vs 6.0 (messed up in excel)
- references!
- smaller font with a larger gap looks better than larger font with a smaller gap
- Do the final corrections on a printed version. Ask someone to have a look at it.

Thread: Industrial PhDs - what's your experience?

28-Jul-15, 23:40
Avatar for DrJeckyll
posted about 5 years ago
Hi acciothesus,

I know exactly what you say. Lots of my friends were doing an EngD (I did a PhD).

My advice is as follows: ask your academic supervisor to confront your industrial supervisor on the time you spent in the university. Your supervisor MUST support you. The supervisor also wants you to get a PhD. If your supervisor refuses to support you, then stand up for yourself. Go to the office only 3 days a week.

They are using you as a cheap labour. Your salary is subsidised by the government/ university For you to finish the PhD. If they are understaffed it's not your problem. Anyway, even if your relationship breaks with them, I don't think they can stop the funding. Also, with an EngD you can get a £40k job, so I don't think you will want to stay in this company.

Thread: When did you format your thesis?

26-Jul-15, 11:11
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi chococake,

Formatting takes a disproportionate amount of time and distracts you from writing! I had very bad experience with word. I would sent the document to two supervisors (maybe some co-authors too), each commenting , until I ended up with corrupted tables spilling over various pages. Another thing I hate about word is that you can't insert a vectorised pdf, so images are of low quality. A friend of mine that used word ended up manually naming all figures and tables (!!!) as for some reason the document would stop updating! I have also seem final theses with "Error! Source not found". So now you all know how much I hate word. I switched to Latex half-way the first draft, as I realised that word was ugly and could not handle it (started crashing, taking ages to save etc). Latex is the best. It looks scary but it is easy. Online versions (like write latex) allow real-time co-working: I used it for proposals where we could work simultaneously with colleagues! You don't waste any time in formatting, you go like : \insert{figure} and keep typing. It was the perfect software for corrections, as there is a package that you add or delete, and then just put [final] and accepts everything! Plenty of free templates too, and the document is beautiful without any effort from your part.

Disadvantages: you need to spend some effort to learn it, but it is cost-effective. Supervisors refuse to learn the basics, so they either edit on the pdf with Adobe reader (they don't need pro) or print and comment on paper. I used word for the publications, as I came across journals that would only accept a .doc upload. Word is ok for small documents with few images. It's not good for books and theses

Thread: Anyone start their PhD 'straight from undergrad'?

26-Jul-15, 10:39
Avatar for DrJeckyll
posted about 5 years ago
Hi Lenna,

I did an Msc before starting the PhD. The master was a good investment, as it got me up to speed in the new field ( my undergrad was loosely related to my PhD), and also I acquired the ability to write scientific reports: i have never written a scientific report before, so it was a big stepping stone for me. Also the master helped me acclimatise in a new city and new educational system. However, I can easily imagine that the master would have been redundant for someone with a different background who already had these skills.

Well done for starting a PhD and good luck !

Thread: PhD viva in two weeks!!!

11-Jul-15, 11:42
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posted about 5 years ago
The viva questions were really generic from my internal, the kind of questions you find online. My external on the other hand asked really specific questions focusing on his own expertise. Overall it was really boring, the opposite of a stimulating academic conversation. It lasted two hours.

Thread: Ph.d Overrun Funding?

09-Jul-15, 12:03
edited about 22 seconds later
Avatar for DrJeckyll
posted about 5 years ago
Same here, as Tree of Life, no funding for the 4th year, I got some consultancy work, some work in the department etc and managed somehow to finish with a small debt. Very hard.
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