Signup date: 01 Nov 2009 at 4:56pm
Last login: 09 Aug 2017 at 11:32am
Post count: 273
Generally I would say just do what the examiners ask for, even if you don't agree with their opinion, because that's what will get you your PhD. Unless you think this examiner is so unreasonable that he will look for any excuse not to pass you - but even then, you would not be helping your case in any future appeal by refusing to do the corrections asked for. What do your supervisors think?
I'm slightly confused by what you say about moving forward to viva - does this mean you haven't had your viva yet? I'm guessing this isn't the UK system then, where you wouldn't normally get your examiners' reports until after the viva. If you say what country you're in, maybe someone can advise on transferring to another university, as I don't think you can do that in the UK (you could potentially start over at a new university, but that doesn't seem a good option when you're only a few corrections away from passing).
Supervisors do vary a lot in how hands-on they are, but it's normal for a PhD project to be quite unstructured and for you to have to plan your own work and how to spend your time. Some students thrive on that freedom, but others can end up a bit aimless and unfocused. It sounds like this supervisor may not be a good fit for you - and maybe the project isn't either, if you're struggling to get anywhere with developing your proposal and coming up with ideas that interest you.
Maybe you would be better going for the industry job? You can always re-apply for a PhD later in your career if you feel the need, with the benefit of more experience and confidence.
Alternatively, there are some more structured PhD programs, e.g. those that start with a MSc/MRes year where you attend classes and have more organised activities together with the rest of your cohort, or the type where the first year involves doing several lab rotations with shorter, well-defined projects (this is good if you haven't yet figured out exactly what you want to do).
I agree this is progress towards getting the situation resolved, and therefore a good thing - although I completely understand your frustration at still not having a result for your PhD!
If you can show clearly that the corrections address all the examiners comments (agree that preparing a table/spreadsheet is a great idea) then I think it's going to be incredibly hard for them to fail you - remember, even your external wasn't able to claim that your corrections were not as requested, only that she'd suddenly decided she wanted wanted more/different corrections.
Good luck once again, and let us know how it goes.
I don't understand why you don't have a grade for your MSc? I did a Master's by research (MRes) and it was graded (pass, merit, distinction). Was this in the UK?
Otherwise, unfortunately the competition is just very tough for funded PhD places, and many of the applicants you're competing against may have a good undergraduate degree and a MSc as well. It's great that you have research experience though, I think that would be a strong point in your favour. Keep trying, but maybe also look into other options such as whether you can self-fund while working part time, or if you could be sponsored by an employer?
Only you can decide whether you want to continue or not, but I agree with having a face-to-face chat with your supervisors first. Ask for their honest opinion about how far you are from a PhD-standard thesis - it might not be as bad as you think, and if it is, at least you know where you stand and can make a decision based on that.
Also, are there other options you can consider, e.g. if you decide you can't face going through the full process of resubmitting for the PhD, could the work you've done already be considered for an MPhil instead?
In my opinion your supervisor is right and you can't fail, as you've done the minor revisions that your pass was dependent on. I suspect your external knows that, hence all the delaying tactics.
I hope you hear something from the chair soon, and glad you're managing to stay positive. Hopefully the end is in sight now!
Yes agree about jobs.ac.uk (despite the name, they advertise international jobs), and the New Scientist job search is usually good. Maybe a subject-specific publication in your field might advertise relevant opportunities. Or look at university websites, including individual research group's pages.
I don't know how your age would affect things exactly - I think your experience would be in your favour, compared with younger applicants who maybe `only' have the experience of their PhD, although if you don't have a recent publication record that could be an obstacle in applying for a research post. Depends on the role and the institution though (it might matter less for a more teaching-focused position).
It seems like you have nothing to lose by applying. Good luck!
This is the study I was thinking of, which talks about the 'dangers' of inexperienced examiners: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/555a/7e7198c9faca2656451c05bc1d51d55cb7cc.pdf
It does focus on the Australian system, which is different from many other countries (no viva, I think), but some of the findings might apply.
I guess if you're not in a particular rush to get your result, why not wait a couple of months and have the examiner you prefer?
My viva report was about a page and a half, and includes 7 bullet points describing the particular areas I needed to focus on. This is for a revise & resubmit. It was a bit less detailed than I was expecting, but we did discuss all the points in much more detail during the viva itself so I had a chance to ask questions and make notes.
I do think this is going to vary greatly between different examiners and different subject areas, so not sure you can necessarily compare. But the corrections should be clearly explained, and (in my opinion) should relate to concerns raised during the viva, not be completely new things never mentioned before.
Good luck getting this sorted out. It's beyond belief how badly you've been treated and how long this has dragged on.
Sounds like you've answered your own question - go for the MSc if that's the work you feel passionate about doing. Having the name of a prestigious institution on your CV never hurts, but I don't think it matters as much at postgraduate level, and it's definitely not worth struggling through a course that doesn't suit you and you don't really want to do just for that.
It's normal to be given some corrections (even if you already have publications), that doesn't make you a failure. If you do the corrections asked for, there should be no problem being awarded your PhD. And 1 year is the usual time allowed for writing up after funding ends, so clearly that's not an unreasonable time to take (yes some people do finish quicker, but many use the full amount of time, especially with a job and family responsibilities to deal with too).
It sounds like you got minor corrections, but the examiners allowed you 6 months to do them as you work full-time, is that right? But you wouldn't normally be expected to do new experiments as part of your corrections - did they ask you to do that?
Of course a PhD is about doing new research, but usually that means making a (small) contribution to an already-established field, not inventing an entirely new field that has never been researched before :).
However, it sounds like your proposal is actually an interdisciplinary one that draws from multiple fields? If that's the case, it's an opportunity to do some very interesting and unique research. The only problem is that with interdisciplinary projects there can be difficulty getting other people to understand or accept your work, e.g. when it comes to submitting to journals or conferences, or choosing your PhD examiners. Also, when applying for postdocs or jobs afterwards, or looking for teaching opportunities, sometimes you can end up not having enough expertise in any one field compared to other PhDs who have specialised in that one field.
You also have to be very independent when doing interdisciplinary research, as even if you have multiple supervisors, only you will be the expert in your particular intersection between the different fields. That may be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective!
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