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2nd place on PhD reserve list

Quote From cb667:

I'm a bit confused and need some help deciphering all of this...I have just been sent a certificate of offer for my dream PhD project and supervisor, at my dream university. However, they have explained that I placed second and am therefore on a reserve list, so therefore my offer does not include funding. I'm waiting to hear as to whether the first candidate has accepted or not, however, in the mean time - should I still count this as being offered a genuine place on the course? It was an official letter, however their wording of my being on a reserve list has left me sceptical..but surely they wouldn't send an offer letter if they weren't going to offer me a place (funded or not). Has anyone else been in a similar position please?

I have always the opinion that PhD is all about funding. An offer without a funding counts for me as nothing. Self funding 3-5 years does not work in most cases. I would look for alternatives and if the first candidate turned down the offer, you can go for it.
A good uni/lab with funding is much better than a dream PhD without funding.

Visa requirement (Russia-Germany)

Quote From Dmitrii1:
Could anyone please help me with this question: average funding for PhD in Germany is about 1300€. And visa requirements contain about 1800€ for scientists who is invited to work by grants. So, funding is less than requirements. Does it mean that PhD students are always students in this terms (with students visa) or they always pay the difference by their own?

In Germany PhD students could be dealt from visa perspective as students which seems to me the case with stipend such as 1300 euro. I think the 1800 euro figure is when the institute wans to hire the candidate as a research assistant and he might do a PhD in the meanwhile. In this case the candidate can have a work visa.

I cannot find referees...any advice?

Quote From studentagain11:
For my application I need to find 2 referees but as a mature student I do not have any academic referee.
For professional referee, I never worked for a company.
Any solutions?

If you have worked for clients, you can ask them for references. Also if you go to your undergraduate professors, they might issue you a reference letter even if you were their student long time ago. Just reach them out and ask for it.

Switch PHD from FT to PT back to FT

Quote From CalvinPlummer:
I'm currently half way through my PhD with just over 2 years to go.

A part time job opportunity has come up which would seriously benefit my career. However it's only for 2 years.

If I switch to a part time PhD that will effectively double my time left to 4 years but the job contract is just for 2 of those.

Is it ever possible to go back to full time after switching to PT?

You can ask your supervisor but I do not think it is a good idea to do this. If you are paid in your PhD enough to pay your rent and bills just go forward and finish in two years.

Errors in copying values in Quant results tables

Quote From SD2028:
Hi all, I'm so glad to have found this forum, its quite relieving reading everyone's viva story. So I have my viva next Friday and a mock on Monday. In the meantime I discovered some grammatical mistakes in my chapters and was super worried in the first read but was okay in the 2nd and 3rd reads.

However just last night I realised I have typed values of upper and lower confidence intervals interchangeably. And now I can only think of being failed . Although they don't change my results. As the results are significant. I cannot fathom how I never noticed that I was putting values under the wrong column.

I'm utterly devastated to the point that I cannot continue to prepare for the viva.

Please suggest what should I do. Copying values wrongly is it a minor revision??

If this interchange does not affect results, it should be fine. You can respond that you discovered it after submission and analysed the impact and find out the results are not changed by this mistake and you will correct them in the revised version.

Should I quit PhD and start full time job with just over 6 months left!?!?!?

I think it is possible but you can ask for extension. Do not quit after reaching that far. Is it possible to ask the company to differ yours starting date a few months?

get Master thesis published after graduation

Quote From Hedvig:
Thanks for your reply. Getting the publication would be a bonus, but you're right, it won't impact me very much now. Just felt confused about my supervisor's behaviour/attitude...

I understand your confusion. I do not like it when people send me mixed signals. I like things to be straight.

Thoughts on PhD stipend pay

Quote From cucaracha:
The doctoral stipend in the UK (outside of London) for 2022/23 is £17,668 tax-free. This is a 10% pay rise from last year 2021/2022.

Thoughts? Is this good, bad, reasonable, horrifying? Liveable? Is it fair?

Does it reflect how much PhDers are worth and deserve to be paid(?!)

It is already know since long time that PhD students are underpaid. In particular in the UK in comparison to West Europe. Postdocs are also underpaid in the UK. Academia is cruel but it is what it is. 17,668 net a year is livable but not great.

get Master thesis published after graduation

Quote From Hedvig:
Hi everyone,

I'm a new phd student (graduated from the Master's program last year), but my question is about my master's thesis publication.

The story is that my master thesis supervisor contacted me after graduation and asked am I interested in getting my Master thesis published, but the additional analysis was required. I replied yes immediately, but I didn't get her reply until around four months later saying she was busy with other work and asked again if I was interested in the publication but this time nominated another person to do the additional analysis. I agreed again and said I am happy to help whenever needed. But now over half year past, and I still didn't get any further updates...

I feel very confused now, and I don't know whether I should ask for any updates from her... If she was not interested to publish my work at the beginning, why did she still ask me?

I'm now doing PhD in another Department but at the same university tho.

Does anyone have any advice? Thank you...

May I ask why do you worry? If she has forgotten or not more interested, this should not impact you much. Just carry on with your PhD and think about it when she "wakes up" again.

Thinking of quitting two days before submission deadline

Do as much as you can. Getting revise and resubmit is not bad for this particular case. Just work as hard as possible to provide a thesis (whatever its shape).

Is it possible to have an academic career after self-funded PhD?

Quote From stressedwelldressed:
With the academic job market being as difficult as it is, will being self-funded for my PhD massively inhibit my ability to enter an academic career? (I am a humanities student btw).

The propects employer does not ask (or should not) how your PhD is funded. More important is to show you have developed a good understanding of the subject, hopefully with one publication or more.

PhD viva recommendation appeal help!

Quote From NatashaIsaiah:
Hi guys,

I have to 10 days to write an appeal and I’m reaching out for help. I had my viva back in April and the recommendation the examiners made was 12 months corrections for an Mphil.

I submitted my PhD in October last year and it took 6 months for me to get a viva date.

It transpired during the viva that my university sent the examiners an incorrect copy of my thesis in error, as what my examiners had before them was not my final submitted draft. This mistake was only discovered part way during the viva examination.

The examination was abandoned and the university quickly remedy the mishap and sent the examiners the correct final version of my thesis, that same day.

Two days later I was contacted to set a new date for my viva (less than a week later).

The second viva commenced.

The viva was not a pleasant experience and the questioning was very confrontational. I was interrupted constantly while providing my answers and was unable to give full answers at times as I was being interrupted mid sentence.

The examiners made the recommendation of an Mphil.

Are there any suggestions on how to go about writing and making an appeal?


I am sorry for this terrible experience. They might have judged the incorrect version and reached a conclusion already before they received the right version. You might argue that the examiners did not have enough time to revise the thesis (less than a week). Moreover, their decision was definitely influenced by the eirlier version of the thesis which they took time to examine. I would suggest that you ask for new examination panel that know nothing about your thesis. You can talk with the faculty and ask politely for this as they owe you because it is their fault. Otherwise, a formal appeal is not uncommon when the examiners recommend to award a lower degree. Just do not give up. It can take years but it is worth. You deserve at least a fair chance of a regular thesis examination and a regular viva even if this takes a half year more. I wish everything goes well.

Paralyzed by choice

Quote From giveittomestraight:
Hey there,

I'm coming to the end of my PhD and I'm in the very fortunate position of having several good options. Unfortunately, the fanciest options are clashing with the options that I think are best for me personally, and it would be good to get some advice. For context, I did my PhD overseas and I found the experience pretty brutal. It's been lonely and isolating, especially during the pandemic. I decided to start applying for some jobs back in my home city, near family and friends. I have a couple of offers, including one that is really attractive (right in my field, great mission, very talented employees), although it would unfortunately not leave much room for pure research. I raised this with my supervisor and he thought that I could do better. He has started setting up a possible postdoc with a solid group at [very fancy university], and offered to fund me himself if that falls through. This university is in a different country, although much closer to home than where I did my PhD.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I want to go home and settle down near my family. On the other hand, I worry I'm being an idiot for thinking about turning down a fantastic academic placement. It could set me up for getting an academic position back home if I can stomach it for a few more years. I'm just so tired from the PhD experience and I don't know if I have it in me emotionally...

Living in a comfort place where you call home is something. It is not all about fancy work or research. In academia, you might find yourself running where the fund is available. On the other side, if you sepnd 2-3 years in a reputable group where you publish a couple of papers in good journals and conference, you have a good chance in securing a permanent position in close to your home. The bottom line is "do not" push yourself very hard to go for the fancy institute if you feel you would really feel lonely and not happy.

MSc Supervision - low mark, advice?

Quote From ng41975:
Hi all - just to ask have recently finished my MSc dissertation. Throughout the course consistently got grades above 70%. Throughout the past year I have worked alongside my supervisor via Teams on my dissertation - she has been hard to track down, but consistently ahs told me I am on track, work looks good, suggesting re edits (which I have done) and told me that I was looking at a good mark for the work and should consider publishing it. From the beginning we agreed on a hand in date of draft work on 26 march. 5 weeks before this date, she changed the draft hand in date to 1 march, due to her taking time off. Because of work commitments I could not meet this deadline, and was offered no alternative supervisor for the last 3 weeks of the dissertation.
I received my dissertation mark last week - 58%. The examiners marks were a complete disconnect between what my supervisor had been telling me over the past 6 months. I passed as was told work too descriptive, too much of the main work was in the appendices. I am really annoyed, at what I now feel was poor supervision, and I am wondering now if the supervisor is on the same page as the rest of the academic faculty.
I had a meeting with the course lead, and diplomatically she can see my point of view, but advised there is no way to change the grade. She has suggested an academic appeal is not an option. I am wondering if I would have a case with an academic appeal reviewing procedural irregularities with supervision that has affected my result and progress? I have emails from my supervisor saying I am on track and proof that I have sent all sections of the dissertation to her for review.
Interestingly the module lead did tell me that a moderator had to be brought in to mark my work as the examiner and the second marker (my supervisor) disagreed over the mark.
I know the final piece of work is down to me, and I had reference to the course marking grid, but I feel like the supervision has led me down the wrong path. I am not really bothered about not getting a distinction for my masters. I am annoyed at the advice I have been given, and the amount of work I have put in.
Or does this sound more like a complaint case?
Thanks for your advice

I am sorry for what you have been through. It is bad that your supervisor was not as useful as she had to be. Unfortunately, this is the case in UK. The supervisor can only give to her best knowledge advice for thesis submission but the examiners can have different opinions. You can ask your academic tutor if appeal based on irregularitiies applies to you because you had to submit 3 weeks earlier which is something. It is possible to ask for a third party to grade the thesis independently?
In some countries in Europe, the supervisor decieds almost everything regarding the grade but this is a two side coin as relationship with supervisor plays a major role in the grade.

Part time job alongside EPSRC studentship

Quote From k100:
Looking for some advice about how I can find my studies.

Am trying to obtain an EPSRC studentship but am finding that the stipend rate just won’t be enough to live on after doing some financial planning. Is there any way that I can top this up while still keeping the full-time studentship? e.g. with a part time job or a research assistant job? What would be the maximum hours I could work alongside a full-time studentship? If I can’t work, how about income from teaching and demonstration?

In many cases 20 hours per week would be allowed. Income from teaching and demonstration is usually low as it is only in term time and limited hours only. Do not expect too much from it. Also there is no guarantee to find a part time job. It is cruel that PhD stipends in UK are low but this is how it is.