======= Date Modified 26 13 2010 07:13:49 =======
I am a new PhD student from China, about to start research this October. I've found 2 questions hard to answer by myself. So, I really appriciate your help here.
1. How much chance do I have to receive my degree in 3 years?
My funding lasts for only 3 years and it would be tough for me if I spent a fourth year writing desertation, though I don't need to pay the tuition fees during that time. I have talked with my supervisor and he said that I could make it in 3 yrs if I try. I don't see any committment here. So I wonder is it really possible to get all done in 3 yrs and how many of you succeed?
2. How should I call my supervisor?
On written occasions, I just call him Professor + Last name and so do Chinese in demestic universities. But I know that you guys like to call each other just First names even if the other person is superior to you. In this way, it seems to show that you guys are very close to each other. So I wonder is it appropriate to call your supervisor first names on informal occasions.
Thank you very much.:-)
congratulations on getting the PhD. In answer to your questions, in my experience
1) yes it is possible, depending on your field and whether you have any hiccups. Some people may be able to finish in 2 years, I've seen maths PhDs do this. But some people may have massive problems with data collection that put them back a year. personaly, I am hoping to finish a fairly good draft thesis by october, when my funding runs out and to complete by xmas. - although hopefully I will get a job from october onwards.
2) I call my sup by her first name, although if introducing her at a conference or something I would say this is Professor XXXX
My experience is similar to Sneaks - I did a maths based PhD and there were a couple of people who did their PhDs within 3 years, however both of those were extending the research they did for their masters dissertation (so weren't doing something totally new). I don't know of anyone else who finished in 3 years and I think it's unrealistic to plan to finish within 3.
Similarly, I don't think I've met an academic who has been offended by being called by their first name, it tends to be quite informal. Even at formal conferences and meeting well known academics, even Nobel prize winners, all of them introduced themselves by their first name. You are becoming an equal - another academic mind.
Hi, welcome to the mad world of PhD life ;)
I don't know of anyone who's finished in the 3 years, its actually a question I've been discussing with my sup in the last few days, I too will find it hard to survive after my 3 years is up next year! I'm hoping to get done in well under the 4 allowable years but I can't see me being done within the next year.
I always call my sup by his first name - all of the other academics in the dept introduce themselves by their first name too - its far more informal than you might think. There are times you would use their full title but normally its just first names, it can be a bit awkward for the first few times as you aren't sure how they want to be addressed but all the profs and drs that I know prefer to be on first name terms - you're more a collegue at PhD level than a student, but even then the 1st year ugs will use first names after that first couple of times - normally when the prof laughs and says for goodness sake, my name is ................ :-)
Hi Stressed (you are using this name because of the mad PhD life?),
Thank you for sharing your experience. I should be prepared for a 4 year's PhD. As for the supervisor's name, I think I shoud get used to call him by his first names, though it seems a little disrespectful from a Chinese's point of view.
I agree, it's best to allow yourself the full four years. You will only have a real indication probably towards the end of your second year whether you could reasonably finish in three, depending on how much research you have done by then.
I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you addressed them as Professor X, if that feels more comfortable to you - one of the Chinese guys doing his PhD where I was always referred to the academic staff as Professor or Dr, it wasn't a problem at all.
It's a good idea to see how others address your prof. I know one professor who didn't like being addressed by her first name but as far as I'm aware, most supervisors don't mind it or actually prefer it. I used to use 'Professor _____' for a while until I was comfortable knowing my supervisor didn't mind being addressed by the first name.
Sometimes, it is not only the Brutality & Force that could Enslave a Nation. The Great Wall of China is an Extravagant example of this and even that failed to keep the Enemies out. Sometimes, it is this kind of informality,diplomacy and tactics that could win/deceive the hearts and minds of people to boost the productivity to meet the target/objective. A combination of above characteristics helped a few nations ruled nearly half of the world and gathered the enormous resources and wealth from all around the world. Calling Dr Ellingham Jade Underbridge by Elly does not necessarily means that next time she will embrace you with open arms ;). Think it that way that every utterance has a level of energy associated with it..so why waste it when it is not needed? ;-)
Holy good God Goodboy, do you ever stop? Akui, congratulations on getting your PhD place! There are a few Chinese people in my office who did find it strange being more informal with supervisors over here, but they got used to it pretty quickly. There are many other ways of being respectful towards supervisors and lecturers, so don't be fooled that it's all very informal! Maybe ask your supervisor if they have any preference in how you refer to them and use that?
Also, I think it's possible to finish in 3 years. Most people I know have finished just over the 3 years, but not by much, I know a few people who finished right on time, a few people who took almost the 4 years, and one person who finished 6 months early. So I think a lot depends on your project, how much knowledge you have at the start and how lucky you are with your data collection! Sometimes problems arise that are totally unavoidable, but you might just get through with no big hassles also!
Good luck :)
Various students (most non-UK students actually) begin by calling their sups Dr. First name or Prof. First name. That makes it less formal than is usually the case (I just call mine by his first name), but still gives the student the idea that they are being respectful (not that calling your sup by his/her first name is disrespectful).
Re finishing in 3 years: I guess it depends on the subject. Many sciences manage in 3 years, most humanities (and social sciences) take between 3 and 4 years. But again, I guess that also depends on the person.
Just to add to what everyone else has said, really
1) Yes it is possible, I know a couple of people who managed it in three years or even slightly less. The two that come to mind immediately were both absolutely determined to complete within three years - that was one of their main aims. It certainly made them focused!
I know many more who began writing up after three years and submitted in three and a half to four years. They either had savings to live off (in which case writing up tended to be quicker, because they could write up full-time, and because they were motivated finish writing up so they could get a job), or they got a job and wrote up around that. I know one girl who did bar work whilst she was writing up (not actually at the same time!) and several who took post-doc or research assistant jobs in the lab where they did their PhD, which is convenient because it means you still have access to your supervisor.
I think it does depend on the discipline. If you are super-anxious about this issue, you could do some background reading (ask your sup for suggestions) between now and October if you need to and you have the time!
2) I call my supervisor by her first name and always did, if you are at all unsure just ask how your supervisor would prefer to be addressed.
As others have said, congratulations on getting your PhD place and good luck with it!
Thank you so much, Ejc, Livvie, Algaequeen and Cheekybint. This forum is just fantastic and I love it.
Now I think I know what to do after reading your valuable experience and advice and the questions seem to be not a big deal. As a novice, Ive found a place where I can pour out my troubles and listen quietly to your words.
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