I feel really bad for this


I accepted a PhD offer two months ago but now I really want to go for another lab because I like the supervisor more. However I feel really bad for withdrawing the first offer -- will I make the the supervisor very annoyed? It is very possible that I may cooperate with him in the future. Should I just stay with the first lab as the two places are equally good (except one has the supervisor prefer)?


Hey Catcat, I totally understand how you feel. When I started my PhD I was in the same situation. No matter how politely I explained my situation to the supervisor, he got very annoyed with me and he was very rude to me on his response. He was going on an on about how much time he spent arranging the funding for me, it was very childish and irresponsible of me to let him down like this etc etc. He even said he would tell this to everyone in the industry. I was very upset, but my tutor at the time comforted me saying these things always happen in the academia, and him getting annoyed with me like this was the childish attitude; would I want a supervisor like that anyway...

So my advice, be honest to him, be polite, but if you get a bad reply just put down to experience and enjoy the fact that you made a better choice.

Congratulations by the way for finding two places.


You should go for what is best for you, not live your life for other people.

404 that was a close call, luckily you found out the the supervisor's true colours before it was too late.


thank you Verypoor (I love the user name by the way ;-) )


I agree you should do what's best for you - it's your PhD and your career after all, so if you really feel the other place would suit you better, you should go. I'd let the other supervisor know as soon as possible though, so he can find someone else for that place/funding. Apologise and explain your situation politely, it's likely he'll understand, I'm sure it's quite a common thing that happens.

And if he's completely unreasonable, like 404's example, you probably don't want to spend 3/4 years working with him anyway!


Hey Catcat, I would definitely go for the one that you are most happy with- the last thing you want to do is spend 3-4 years wishing you had taken up the other offer. The main thing is that the PhD is right for you, so even if this guy is a bit miffed, he will probably be able to advertise the position and find someone else to fill it (depending on the funding situation) so you hopefully won't be causing him a huge problem. Good luck, let us know how it goes! Best, KB


Hey CatCat,

I agree 100% with the other posters - while the guy you're going to reject won't be too happy, he'll get over it. That's life, and you have to do what's best for you. If he's professional, it shouldn't affect future collaborations. Perhaps you could explain, as and when necessary, the situation to your new supervisor, just to let him know what's happened, and that you hope it won't affect things with this other lab. This sort of thing happens all the time though, and if this is the worst thing that ever happens to him in academia, he's not doing too badly at all!


Thank you so much everyone! I know what to do now. Wish you all a happy day!