i failed my upgrade


well just found out that i have failed my upgrade. i feel really ashamed and embarassed about it

i have the option of resubmitting it before september.



Oh pineapple, I'm really sorry to hear that I can imagine how you are feeling right now. This might last a few days, maybe a little longer. After that I hope you will get back your determination and work towards September. Was the criticism constructive? They must have given you something to build on if you're being asked to resubmit. Allow yourself some induldent time to think things over, then go for it with a passion!!!


It's OK pineapple; you're not the first and you won't be the last. Pleny of people have got great PhDs despite needing a couple of attempts to upgrade.

Like Kaymoy says, have a break and then go at your report like a demon: show 'em what you can do!


Really sorry to hear that, Pineapple. As others say, I hope you got constructive criticism.

As Juno says, several people don't get through on their first attempt, but those I have known have benefitted from their revisions and have accelerated in their second year. I am sure the same will apply to you, given your obvious committment and drive in your previous posts.

Stand back from it a short while, then engage in talks with your supervisor as soon as you're ready.


Really sorry to hear this news, Pineapple. It must feel so devastating, especially after the work you have put into this. I can imagine it is quite a blow to confidence and the will to try to resubmit. I am a bit ignorant about how the whole upgrade thing works, but surely it is a good sign that you have the option to submit it again? Perhaps in a few days, you can try to come up with a plan to tackle the points needed in the resubmission...but in the meantime, I would think you just need some time to destress and have a good think ( scream/cry/pint(s) of beer) over the whole thing.


i'm really not that surprised. i knew 100% that it was a crap report, and i warned my supervisors that it was crap. at the time of writing it, i was away doing fieldwork which was not part of my phd, i was marking loads of essays, travelling all over the uk doing this non-phd fieldwork. most significant of all concerns the devestation ive had on my personal life, which has really knocked me sideways. so, on reflection, this failure has more to do with being distracted on other things rather than my abilities.

i've received very lenghty reports from all 3 markers about the problems it has as well as stuff which needs to be included. They've all commented on the value, importance and significance of my research questions. i just feel like a complete failure-letting everyone down; and always seem to have bad luck. i'm more embarassed than anything. i've got a meeting with them all tomorrow. i'm currently off sick with a stomach virus, so im already not feeling too good.


Pineapple, you say you feel 'ashamed' and 'embarrassed' and I think everybody here will have an accute sense of what you are going through, simply by your use of these words. Most of us will also have experienced this utterly horrible feeling at some point in relation to our work. I remember you now- you went through a bad breakup a while back didn't you? It's so hard to put the best of yourself into your work when there is commotion in your private life and not enough hours in the day to get everything done.


Don't feel embarrassed. I think it's a great compliment that your supervisors see the value of your research questions- many people spend ages trying to come up with valuable, interesting and original questions. Try your best to defend yourself well tomorrow. Take a break. Then, if you want this, do what it takes to produce work you are happy with (you said you were dissatisfied yourself), even if it means sacrificing other time-consuming activities (I mean working activities- don't compromise on social outlet, it's ESSENTIAL). Don't make yourself ill with worry- you can manage this. We are all behind you (faceless but well-wishing)


Just a short word of encouragement Pineapple. Dont let this eat you up. i think its a good thing that you know where you kind of went wrong.... busy with other things and u say that you knew the report was crap... take on board your current reflections and you redirect your energies for september. You can do it, you have come a long way. Dont be ashamed, you are not the only one.... this is a long journey. i would say to you have a little rest, refocus and prioritize. Bless you.


Hi Pineapple... you shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed. The whole point of an upgrade is so that you can sort problems out before you dive headlong into a PhD. It's good that your supervisors have given you the feedback to be able to put things right now, rather than waving it past and letting you carry on in a direction that might not be quite right.

Sorting out the focus of your project will save you loads of time and possible back-tracking at a later stage when your time / funding / sanity is running out!

Dust yourself off and write report that'll knock 'em dead!


I failed mine too and it was a real blessing in disguise! My research questions,aims, design etc were much clearer in the resubmission. I had NO help from the crap sups but passed the reviva and resubmission with NO corrections! How good was that? It was totally DIY. The book which helped me was "How to do research" and " How to write your thesis" . Good luck Pineapple and let us know the result of your resubmission.


Hi Pineapple

Sorry to hear you didn't make it through the upgrade straight off. I know how hard you worked, and how much effort you put into it. I know it's not going to be easy but the best thing you can do is to put it behind you and look forward and feel positive about what you know you can do, given different circumstances. Take the opportunity for a fresh start. On the acute embarrassment factor... we all feel that when things don't go quite as we plan... on the prospect of letting 'others' down... actually, I suspect those 'others' don't feel as 'let down' as we think. It's our PhD, not theirs... Some positive things to take you forward...


You didn't fail your upgrade entirely - you have the opportunity to resubmit.

You have a lot of feedback to guide you (hopefully constructive)... those who give you the feedback are on your side, even if it doesn't feel that way at present...

You appear to have a good and suitable research question

You acknowledge the part your own circumstances played in things... and it seems that you are now in a position to move beyond that (at least a little)...

You just need to decide whether you want to continue to aim for that goal... then go for it... but don't look back... look forward.

Best of luck with it!


don't worry pineapple, i totally emphathise. i failed mine in my first year as well. and redoing it was the most difficult time in my life. am the only one who believed i could do it. everyone just gave up on me, faculty, fellow students looked down on me, and even tho family and friends didn't say anything, you could just see it. just take some time off and come back to it with new energy. my failure was due to supervisory problems because my supervisors didn't have a clue about my area and i had to change them. try to get to the bottom of why you didn't perform and address it asap after your break. sometimes it's not the student's fault.


I'm surprised that your supervisor let you submit your work if you thought that it wasn't good enough. You point out that you were distracted by other things which might have contributed to the problem.Again, why wasn't your supervisor warning you against this? I have been experiencing a domestic crisis for some time and my supervisor has told me not to take on any other work at all until I completed my probation period. Of course, you are not a child and you might not want this kind of supervision. However, I am happy that my supervisor is the way he is with me knowing that none of his PhD supervisees have ever failed. You might want to discuss this with your supervisor or someone else in you department.