Are my dreams falling to tatters?


It seems as if the only time I post on here is with bad news/worries to apologies in advance. I guess by the same account it's what the virtual networks are for so here goes....

I'm worried that, a mere six months into a 'dream scholarship' (funded by one of the funding councils) my dreams of completing this year (whereby I'm doing an MRes) let alone my PhD are crumbling before my very eyes.

Some of you may remember I posted about suffering from depression at the back end of last week. Unfortunately it's infringed a lot on assignment submissions for my modules. These modules should be relatively straight forward and just form part of my MRes. Unfortunately they've caused me to end of headaches. Due to being ill over Xmas, coupled with struggling with depression, the assignment I've submitted today was sub-standard. No question. I've also got an exam next week that I've yet to prepare for, although I do have a week now to get my head down and see what comes of that.

I'm not sure what to do. I've got an appointment with the uni counsellor tomorrow, and I hope to see the School's support officer tomorrow also. I'm just worried that if I come out with below 60% on my modules I'm going to have my scholarship taken off me (something I don't want from a professional nor a financial perspective). I've no idea what to do or which way to turn - maybe I should just be honest.

Doing a PhD with depression is doable. My MRes research is coming along okay as I can work at own pace and get it done on 'good days'.

If I've got a distinction in a previous masters, albeit from another institution, will that count for something (i.e. can I count that towards my Masters for getting onto the PhD programme as oppose to the MRes if I perform badly in that)? When I was given the funding I was advised/pushed (delete as apporpiate!) by an academic to do the MRes as it'll put me in a better position. Thus far it feels like a taught masters (and having to do a 25,000 word dissertation at the same time) and is almost not what I signed up for.

I'd taken out a big loan to get my masters last year, so I could go on to do a PhD. The gamble seemed to work.

Any advice appreciated.


Hey Rebel...just wondering, do you already have the funding for your PhD, or just the MRes? Is the MRes the first year of your PhD, or are you planning a 3-year PhD after you have completed the MRes? KB


Are you on a 1+3 scholarship? If so the progression rules from the 1 to the +3 bit should be in the research council's handbook for studentship holders - I think you'd actually have to fail the MRes to lose it - universities aren't keen on terminating studentships because they can't reallocate the money so they lose too. You're doing the right thing talking to people - if they are aware you've got problems then they can work with you.


Hi... Yes I'm on the 1 + 3 scholarship. My previous MSc didn't have 'research council accreditation' (bit daft as there was plenty of research methods training). So in effect I have funding for four years (MRes year followed by three PhD years).


Just spoken to my funding body... It would come down to the institutions decision whether or not I could continue, based upon their own regulations that are in place...


Hey again Rebel! Given that you already have funding, I think you would be extremely unlucky if they were to give you the boot if you didn't get a distinction. If you were borderline pass/fail I'm sure they would have their doubts, but as long as you secure an overall decent pass then I think you should be fine. One thing I think you should do is make sure they are aware of the difficulties you are having and make sure it is recorded somewhere within the university system, because if you don't mention it now you might not be able to use it to defend a lower-than-usual standard of work later on in the year. When I was doing my MSc I won funding for my PhD and although I was expected to (and did) get a distinction I asked my supervisor if it would matter if I missed the distinction and she said it wouldn't make a difference to PhD admission as I already had the funding, although it would be a good sign if I did manage to get one. I'm glad to hear that you are going to see someone at the counselling place tomorrow, sounds like you're doing the right things. Best wishes and hope it goes well tomorrow, KB.


Hey KB... I do already have a distinction from a previous masters... It's just the 'extra things' - slotted in to form the MRes (not the PhD modules though...) that I've struggled with. I only completed my other masters this year, so would they count that instead of the MRes (if the MRes only had an average of around 60%?).


Yeah, I saw that Rebel...well to be honest, regardless of the previous MSc, a grade of 60% for your MRes isn't bad going, and I really don't think you would be refused permission to continue to your PhD on the basis of this. Are there any particular areas that you are struggling with that might give them particular cause for concern? The fact that you already have a distinction on your previous MSc should count in your favour. I think the best thing to do is to approach your tutor or supervisor and just ask them- are you able to approach them about this? Hopefully they can offer you some reassurance and put your mind at rest, and this will take some of the pressure off you. I have a pal who got funding for a PhD on a 2.2 and a pass as MSc level, so you are already more than qualified to do one (although requirements vary from subject to subject), and I really don't think you need to worry too much. But best to find out where you stand- I asked my supervisor straight out whether I was required to get a distinction, and even though I was determined to get one, it took the pressure off knowing that my PhD wasn't at stake! Good luck with your appointment tomorrow, best wishes, KB.