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First meeting with supervisors

Yeah I had to do something similar, but not nearly so formal. Just remember the most important thing. Your research will look quite different a year from now once your lit review is done. Heck a week from now if will look different (unless you are part of a funded project based PhD).

Personally, I suspect supervisors do this you see us clumsily cobble together our "Lego blocks of ideas" just to knock them over, and help us build something sensible.

PhD in climate sciences

Im old (37) and in my first year, but it's mostly irrelevant in the grand scheme IMHO. Your outputs will be the most important variable in your success. Most uni's run international student funding, so look around. I'll plug my own Uni they have a pretty big Environment department:


Also, strategically speaking, you may want to look at a somewhat interdisciplinary vein of study if you are trying to set up good work prospects in industry / academia in the future. By that I mean throwing some social science into the mix (usually Economics or Politics), which is a good foundation for development oriented work, more specifically sustainable development, which is very "sexy" right now and attracts piles of funding...anything sustainability related to the climate really.

P.S. The process for me to go from "being interested" to "being on campus" took about one year (searching, sorting, applying all the while putting together a decent proposal.) so get cracking ;)

Are there any mods around to delete the spam threads?

I am sure if the current mods sent out a "call for active mods" a few on here would offer to keep the forums relatively tidy.

PhD movie!



I just started in April full time. My research training modules start in October so I can offer any advice then. However I commute to school 20-30 mins from where I live. I anticipate my first year to be the most demanding in terms of presence. The social aspect of networking, being seen in the department, meeting frequency with supervisors, being social with the other candidates, attending "round tables" (how to get published, how to get a job, etc.)

That being said, I have a room in my apt to myself which is my office, but I tend to drop into school at least once or twice a week for non-scheduled stuff. If I have an event I go. Second year is usually field study, so you are away some, and focusing on outputs like publications and conferences, getting the first results of your research out there.

Others will have much more comprehensive advice to give, but I estimate I can maintain a healthy relationship with my department by being present 2/5 days. I also intend to tutor 2 seminars in October as well, so I would not be surprised if my first year turned out to be 4/5 or 5/5 days in department.

Fully Funded PHD: The Worst Career Decision I've EVER Made

MoC don't know what to say. You hate the PhD so get out because you wont make a very good or convincing PhD candidate / Academic if you hate what you are doing. It sure is rough out there but thats the breaks unfortunately. Its grind and improve yourself until you get an opportunity. Being in SoSci, you should really check out charities, trusts, consulting firms and international development (UN et al) They pay well, probably will require you to move however.

Nick1 don't despair brother, do what everyone does. Pick up a shitty teaching fellowship at a uni, and use that time to apply to post-docs AND publish!!!! With the new round of REF starting between 2017-2020 uni's will be keen on picking up ref-ready academics just before then (i.e. 3-4 good publications, teaching experience, and a post-doc will sure help too). So keep at it. Nothing is worse that a soul crushing job: Wake up, waste oxygen at work, come home and find release in some vice, fall asleep, rinse repeat.

I prefer waking up trying to figure out how to convince people I have the best ideas ever.

To what extent does your PhD topic influence the sort of research you do later in your career?

In many of the social sciences your PhD topic tends to be your workhorse for quite some time, meaning you want to get a few strong articles out of it, and beyond that, you can take unexplored corners of your research and get a fellowship / post-doc out of it...while still publishing as you chug along.

If you are intent on becoming an academic, that first lectureship usually depends on how hard you make your PhD work for you post viva regarding publications and post-doc work. If non-academic / applied research is your aim, you can usually drop your PhD main interest like a hot potato upon getting that cozy UN / Consultant job.

Aspiring academics and the REF (Research Excellence Framework)

I have been lurking here probably a year now and never noticed the REF come up in this forum. I just started my PhD and was attending a "how to get published" round-table last week, and it came up. Its a highly relevant variable in your career and I would urge you all who don't know about it to look it up. I will post a few links here about what it is, and a few links to articles debating this contentious mechanic. Are you REF-able?



question on book review

Just going on common sense, I assume you should review the piece evenly and give it an overall holistic treatment. Remember, other readers may not be interested in the section you are, so if you just focus on that you effectively narrow your reading audience who will find your review useful.

That was just my 100% uninformed opinion btw.

PhD write up support group

Well..i'm a good 2 years from writing up, so I think i'll just enjoy the socials for now :D Good luck to you all!

Rant Personal Issues

Eh sorry to hear you are going through a rough patch. As someone who lived in Canada for 7 years everything is an adjustment and the winters can be....unforgiving lol. However I had a roommate from back home (Barbados) so we acclimated together. I loved every minute in Canada and have made lifelong friends there...just give it a bit. You wont find finer humans.

Family issues are family issues, pretty much the same all over. They wax and they wane...may I be so bold as to suggest seeking reconciliation if/when the opportunity presents itself. Life is so short and precious, and better when the family life is good. Of course not all have that luxury.

The cosmetic issues are always a drag, but don't let it be too much. My wife spent the last 3-4 years in braces, and through it all she never skipped a beat. I encourage you to be of good spirit :) Take it easy it will all work out and most of all MINGLE WITH THE LOCALS! You wont regret it :D

Guardian Leaving Academia article

A few observations:

1. The author of the article states they never wanted to be an academic...that's half the motivation for doing a postdoc go through the window right there.

2. I'm sorry but if attending to emails between 7pm and 9pm is too much for you, you are in the wrong field. The author also says it clashed with courses they were taking twice a week. Excuse me but anyone with semi-decent organizational skills can work around that.

3. Most importantly and I quote "I will take my resumé to pubs and coffee shops. I just want to find a job now that will give me time to relax, focus on my hobbies and find what I want to do with the rest of my life."

Again you are in the wrong field, because if you want to relax, and focus on hobbies, don't take a postdoc....or any demanding job for that matter. You don't know what you want out of life? Don't take a postdoc.

Moral of the story: Yes the statistics for becoming a full time academic are daunting, and a postdoc is a rite of passage. Accept that. But most of all, don't make a bad professional decision (based on the author's priorities), and then write a bitter article because you are upset you made a bad professional decision. I am sure there are plenty jobs for hardcore science people in industry.

Just want to share my feelings

"Do you have the courage to start, do you have the commitment to finish and do you have the clarity of vision, see exactly what you've got to get done, that you’re going to stick it out no matter what. A man can only be beaten in two ways, if he gives up or he dies." - Navy SEAL Richard Machowicz

dotdottung, It sounds to me like you have asked yourself "the question" and you have answered Yes. Go for it and all the best!

Not enough hours in the day...

ApolloBullit makes an equally valid and cautionary point which I fully appreciate. Happyclappy, only you know your economic reality and dynamics of your workplace when contemplating "using" sick days as a last resort. Having a job post viva is a VERY good thing while hunting down that elusive postdoc (if that is your intent).

Thanks ApolloBullit!

Not enough hours in the day...

That is an insane workload on top of your PhD....I assume you have no more vacation / leave days before October? How many sick days are you contractually allowed? Have you used any recently?

I have never been in your position, however as the father of a young child I have trained myself to go to sleep with her (usually around 8-9pm) which enables me to wake up at 3am and get in uninterrupted research until 6am, 7am on good days. So regardless of how badly my day goes, I have 3-4 hours under my belt.

It wont be easy, but you are at the finish line, and you cannot afford to falter now. You MUST find the hours in your day, and in all likeliness give up a share of your usual sleep until submission. I commend you for having the grit to work a 40+ hr job and do a PhD simultaneously. It's about to pay off, time to give it 120%.