I went to have a chat with the student who received feedback. She did submit a whole thesis (420 pages, mine is around 320) but he has seen most of it before, so in a sense it would still have been "easier" for him to do hers. He has only seen 3 chapters of mine. The kicker is that even though she got the feedback last week, (mostly minor suggestions) she will only be submitting in November anyway, because of personal reasons. But obviously this is not the supervisor's "fault" or whatever, I'm just sharing the irony.
I also e-mailed someone from the research committee to ask whether I can submit when one supervisor is in effect not supporting the submission and she said that all my forms need to be signed by both supervisors, if he won't consent there is another procedure to follow (which she didn't explain) and said that it will cast a shadow over my work because examiners are informed that a supervisor doesn't support submission. She didn't really explain whether they are informed of the reasons why they do not support submission. I think this will royally p*ss off the supervisor, because if he was okay with submission he would have let me submit it weeks ago - not a good move if I am trying to "preserve" what is left of the relationship, which is why I haven't insisted on it until now. Despite what it may sound like, I do feel awful for putting pressure on him at all during this time - I really do have so much sympathy and if I could, I really would just leave it (which is what I suggested initially!) I don't want to have to pester him.
My main supervisor has his research day today (no e-mails or meetings) so I will talk with him first thing tomorrow.
Thanks for everyone's helpful comments and suggestions, and most of all for support and encouragement. It means more than I can say.
Re Outside Uni
By outside accommodations, I was referring to your new-found employment & potential unemployment and not the mental health etc issues. It's actually not a supervisors' job to ensure you finish on time so you can be employed, and the 'unemployment' limbo is an all-too-common and familiar experience for many PhDs, myself included. I filled it with casual work before I was offered something full-time, but it is inevitable because until you graduate, you are still a student, and the university believes that being a student comes before employment (which isn't right, but the current environment). But at the same time, you are in limbo, because you are under examination and may not pass/have to re-enroll for another 6-12 months etc. That is what you sign up for when you do a PhD.
This doesn't mean that your supervisor should be blocking your submission, they shouldn't. You gave them a month and they really should have gotten back to you as others have said, and they should have turned around and said a late submission might be preferable if you absolutely had to have their feedback.
Is there any options for you regarding working with the admin and your co-supervisor?
The other thing to keep in mind is there might be some major departmental politics at play that you're not aware of that's impacting your submission and could be impacting your co-supervisor's ability to push it through. That is by no means fair, but something that could be happening behind the scenes.
As an additional side note, I'm always surprised when I hear about students printing the day of the deadline, I sat on my thesis for about a month before I submitted to see out the scholarship that I had (this is not a critique, everyone's path is different!) I'm always just genuinely surprised and perhaps terrified at the thought of still working on something so close to/on the deadline!
Re Durham's comment
Actually, contrary to what you might think, students not finishing has huge impact on thesis supervisors. It doesn't get 'washed away' like it does for undergraduates and can have implications for the supervisor.
In Australia at least, supervisors with unfinished PhD students lose the university money, because the university gains X amount for every on-time PhD completion from the government. PhD completions are actually really important, and if a supervisor has a consistent trail of PhDs not completing, they lose access to grant money, promotions, contracts, their jobs etc.PhD completions also effect workloads, and supervisors with students who cannot complete are not allowed to take on new students, and have problems with their workload allocations (i.e. they might have research points reduced or taken away completely and filled with service and admin).
In my school, a discipline section lost its ability to even be a proper discipline because it had too many unsuccessful PhD completions coupled with grades that were consistently too high in the undergraduate degrees. The academics got spread out into other departments, it was not a pretty picture.
Thanks for your viewpoint Awsoci, but I disagree with you on "what you sign up for when you do a PhD". I did not expect anyone to "ensure that I finish on time." I did that myself by always making my deadlines and sticking to an agreed upon timeline. I gave the supervisor 6 weeks, which is the standard amount of time, despite his promises of 1 week (before the bereavement, which is usually how final submissions are dealt with in our department, they receive priority) and the weekly promises thereafter. (5 weeks seem like enough time to accommodate difficult circumstances.) Just because financial hardship is common amongst PhDs does not mean that this isn't a factor to consider when making arrangements regarding my future. But none of this is even about the inconvenience or the money, it's just the frustration of being kept in the dark about something that controls my future,and I have zero control over it.
Also, of course I did take account of the fact that there is a worst scenario outcome - i e a situation that cannot be resolved in the additional 4 months (after submission) that I have set aside to complete my PhD. At our uni there is no R&R, only no/minor/major corrections or a fail, and you don't have to enroll as a full time student for minor/major corrections (if I somehow couldn't do it in 4 months). If you fail, well, that is that, no need to hang around. So this should not have any affect on my employment. I think that I left enough time to deal with "what I signed up for".
I agree with the politics - may be possible, I'm not aware of any, but can play a role.
Finally, I have been sitting on my thesis for a month. I agree that some time to reflect on it is probably useful, but at least the last two weeks have just been excruciating and pointless. I guess it's different for everyone.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
Hi Ellebelle, this must be so frustrating for you. Can I ask why there are these set submission deadlines at your uni? At mine people just submit whenever they're finished. Under the circumstances it might be worth seeing if there is some wiggle room on that front and maybe you can still submit soon. Good luck.
Ellebelle I think the late submission may be inevitable now, but see no reason why you should incur the extra fee. I would suggest emailing the head of department explaining the situation (do this very calmly and with understanding for the 2nd supervisor) and ask whether s/he can intervene to ensure that you are not charged the extra fee, as it will cause real financial difficulties for you. Are you RCUK-funded? If so, and this is the four year deadline point, they really should be bending over backwards to somehow bend the rules so you don't count as late submitting in their returns. HoDs tend to be more strategic than your average academic about rules and more likely to know who to ring to fix matters.
Good question, I don't know why the uni has such a stringent submission schedule. My best guess is that it is because my uni has two doctoral graduation ceremonies - one in Dec for students who submitted "on time" and one in March. (A nice one and a not-so-nice-one ;-) ) You can basically submit at any time up to the third week of August for the December graduation, and then only in Nov for the March graduation. I guess administrators don't want to deal with non-urgent submission during the time they are busy with the submissions for the December graduation, so they "block' that time out. If that makes sense? But yeah, seems silly to me too. I will obviously not attend the graduation ceremony (if I even graduate, as Awsoci mentioned) next year but at this stage that doesn't even seem like a big deal :-/
Bewildered, yep, I agree, late submission does seem inevitable. The supervisor in question is also the head of the department, but I will definitely go and speak to someone at admin to see whether arrangements can still be made so that I don't have to pay the fee. But to be honest, the penalty fee is just one of many extra expenses that I will have due to late submission and I feel like I have no more "fight" left in me, I just don't care right now so I will probably just pay it.
To everyone who commented and supported this week - thanks so much! It was an awful and stressful week, but venting here has been a huge help! The ship is sailing today and I'm not on it, which really sucks, but now I have another 2/3 months left to work on my dissertation, so I guess I better just get over it and make the best of the situation.
Thanks again and good luck to you all.
If you have a midnight deadline I would def follow advice from Hazy (I think it was) to get it all ready to submit. This is in the event of a curve ball of him signing it off today to make his stats. If he does sign off today it could make the late submission look like your responsibility (I.e he told you he'd get it done by deadline) so be ready to submit in case. Of course if he does sign off you won't be able to make any of his corrections and bearing in mind his judgement may not be up to par if he hasn't given it his full attention so you may choose not to include them anyway. Good luck.
I don't think your uni's logic makes sense and it would annoy the hell out of me! There are many more variables affecting graduation date than just submission date. For example, it took my examiners almost two months to send me my list of corrections, which I then did within three months, and they then took 4 months to approve them - not because of any problem but because they were busy doing other things. So for me it was well over a year between submission and graduation. Talk about stressful.
Wowzer's probably right. As long as you've got proof, you could probably dump a fair bit of responsibility on the co-sup... he may well be HoD but he still has a manager himself.
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