I am in so much confusion and stress. I am in the fifth year of my PhD in Social Science( I know it hurts to hear when PhD is longer than 4 years). I am an international student in the UK. I did have valid reasons to extend before because of my depression. But I am writing my thesis at the moment and I need 5-6 more months to finish my PhD. But my uni is so uptight. My supervisor asked me to withdraw and go back to my county until I finish my thesis and submit later. But this is insane! The first time I lost the link from my studies because I went back home. There is no question I will be able to finish my PhD staying away from uni, study group and friends here.
I wonder if any of you guys know if the uni can force me to withdraw? Because I clearly do not want to. I already have so many issues to tackle. I just need some more months. Please help!
Remember, universities have targets that PhD students are supposed to complete within 4 years. It's not your uni being uptight. It looks bad for them if you take longer. However I would think it would look bad for them too if you were to withdraw.
I don't think your uni can force you to withdraw but I am not sure. I have not heard of this happening though. I guess if you pass the time limit that you have for PhD and you have not submitted them it will be an automatic fail. Most students are only registered for 4.5 years so if you exceed this without approval from the university you will have withdrawn yourself.
I suggest you have another talk with your supervisor and tell them that going home will not help you and you need more time to write. Agree a plan, and stick to the deadlines.
I disagree with TreeofLife on one thing: Unis can force a withdrawal these days under certain circumstances. In your case sunnychicka you have a medical reason for the delay the only thing I'll suggest is to convince your supervisor that staying here would help you finish the PhD sooner than leaving. Medical excuse + supervisor on your side means the uni is very unlikely to force a withdrawal. There have been cases of the uni withdrawing students and asking them to re-register upon submission if the 4-year period has passed. Main thing for you to do now is convince your supervisor that staying where you are is best. Good luck!
Thanks Threeoflife and incognito for your insights! I think you both are right and I am more afraid. In no case I can afford not to get PhD and going back home means all kinds of distractions. I will be having a meeting with my supervisors and research director of my department and I guess they all will convince(force) me to withdraw. I am having sleepless nights....
@incognito, I did have medical reasons last time but not this time(however it seems as if this anxiety will lead me there again)
Will see what happens. Fingers crossed!
Are you sure they aren't just offering you a 'writing up year', where you reduce your registration status, pay less fees and don't have formal supervisions? Your sup may have used the word 'withdraw' when what they meant was to change your registration status for a writing up period. I am aware that this arrangement does exist at some universities.
It might be worth arranging a meeting with your supervisor and any support/pastoral tutor you have assigned to you to discuss this in detail because they may just be trying to help you out financially with this arrangement. It is also worth considering that as you are an international student they may have certain restrictions that mean you can't remain in the UK as a student much longer and they are trying to avoid a visa situation. Like I say, I would seek clarity on what it is they are suggesting before panicking.
I also think this is likely because you have reached the point where according to the university's rules you have to submit or it's an automatic fail, and your supervisors are trying to find a way to give you a last chance. They are probably suggesting you return home because of the visa situation. Read your university's regulations carefully of course, but this sounds like they are trying to give you a chance of being able to complete.
Thanks to all who replied for taking time and warning me.
The meeting was more of horror than an anticipation. My supervisors and and the research director think that I need one and a half year to finish my thesis. All I asked for 6 months. I did have frequent dental appointments and my laptop also broke. But my supervisors do not have any faith in me. I couldnt stop and I cried in front of them. I told them that I can not leave without finishing my PhD. I have so much debt on my shoulders. My feet is cold, I am cold and tired of crying. Although my supervisors asked me to take help of SU. I dont know if anyone can help me out other than my supervisors. I pleaded them and I am in the terrible state at the moment.
Any advice or suggestion will be more than welcome.
Okay first and foremost you need to try and calm down. Then you must contact your doctoral office and/or student services department because you need university specific advice about what options you have. They will be able to guide you through the process, give you advice on next steps and if needed organise some welfare support for you. You are not alone, there is support for you, you just need to access it.
Next you need to be really kind to yourself for the next few days. You need to eat, sleep and if you possibly can socialise. Surround yourself with positive friends. This is what gets you through difficult spots during the PhD process.
I just want to tell you that plenty of PhD candidates who ultimately are successful have encountered instances like this. You may be forced to withdraw but that does not mean you cannot submit eventually!
Good luck, you'll be okay no matter what, you just need some guidance from outside your department and that is where the graduate office, student's union and welfare services come into play :)
Thank you so much haventogotaclue. You are so kind and your reply is so helpful. It would be too good to be true if everything what you said work out for me. As I mentioned above such kind of problems are too complicated for international students. Because apart from being a student we also have visa issues and I know I will lose A LOT if i will go back home without PhD.
I will keep updating this post! Thanks to you again.
After calming down and relaxing I would suggest that you schedule a meeting with your supervisor. I know it may sound counterproductive but trust me- you need to clarify a few matters:
1) Do you have anything you can show (status reports, chapters, etc..) to show that you can finish in 6 months?
2) What proof can you show that staying for 6 months is a better option than what your supervisor is recommending?
At this stage, just telling them you prefer staying won't sway them. Hard proof in the form of completed chapters, publications, lack of access to resources away from home, a structured outline of how you intend to finish in 6 months is what is needed. Even if they say no after that there are options to circumvent their decision and go to the degree committee or whatever committee approves degrees in your uni. As haventgotaclue says: it's not the end of the world and you have options
The situation is now different. It is just one month left and my supervisors are suggesting to withdraw from the studies as they do not think that I will finish it. Thats right. They are not ready to believe that I will finish it. They think I need one and a half year to finish it. I told them that I will produce significant amount of work until the end of this month, just provide one last chance. They are saying that they will support me and take advice of SU but they are saying that they are certain that I will not finish. I accept that I was a bit slow and didnt produce much work. But even prisoners are given last chance.
The only options I have are, submitting until next month or quitting PhD
The research director just read the first para of my draft chapter and was of an opinion that it is not a good work.
I cant believe I have a huge debt and they are asking me to quit at the last moment. I have my mum and sister to support. I will lose my house if I wont get PhD.
God! Please help
What if you submit next month, and take the risk to maybe get a revise and resubmit in one year with another viva? Is that an option? Of course, you may actually fail outright or just get an MPhil...
Is your other option to quit, or can you suspend your studies and resubmit at a later time?
I agree with Incognito's point of view. You just have to submit what you have, even though your work may not be to your supervisor's standard.
Perhaps you could use the remaining one month or so to tie up the loose ends, and then submit what you have at the moment ? The worst that you might face is you would have to revise and resubmit. Think about it.
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