Have you been bullied as a PhD student? Has this bullying seriously affected your life?

Would you be willing to tell your story completely confidentially to someone?

Have you ever been bullied and wished you'd done something about it? Would you be willing to take some time out and help set up/play a role in a student movement/organisation which puts an end to the ambiguity/unfairness in the academic setting?

I want to hear from you. Let's do something about it. If we all work together we can use our unfortunate experiences to help people in the future, to allow science/humanities to grow as they should and not be stifled by politics/bullying because there are no rules/procedures put in place to protect the student.

What will take for academic institutions to realise the seriousness of these issues?


If you have some time to spare and you've experienced the unjustness and want to do something about it, can you get in contact with me?

If we get together we can do something about it. I'm thinking rules and procedures.

[email protected]

Please contact this address to do something about it.


Anyway, the issue here is not to punish those who have wronged us, rather it is to prevent those who come after us from having such experiences.

I'm not looking to take a big swipe at my supervisor (although it's what I'd like to do), more so, I'm looking to help others who come after me. It's what you and everybody else who wants to complain should be looking to do.

Anyway, I think my supervisor will get his own come uppence in due course, that is for sure. I don't want to get involved in his downfall - THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANT TO CREATE A MOVEMENT FOR.

I want to look to the future - to change it for others who come after us.

I don't want to look to the past, it's over. What I'm saying is that there is nothing in place to protect students so somebody has to be clever enough to build something that will help them.

If you stay on these forums and do nothing but complain, nothing will be done.


I hope you get plenty of replies QT, though I suspect many will be very nervous of this. My supervision was great, but I have experienced bullying from others. I believe that the dominance of the RAE is one of the biggest problems, academia does not reward good teaching or supervision, staff are recruited based on decisions unrelated to their ability to teach or mentor. The RAE focus is counterproductive. No-one seems to care about the PhD experience outside of PhD students.


As for post PhD, there is little or no information about career opportunities. Teaching posts are now dependant on a PhD which after all is a training in research only. This was not always the case, many longer serving staff do not have PhD's. I attended a meeting recently where one item for discussion was PhD student dissatisfaction and drop out. One person said they should realise that the PhD experience was more about character building than anything else, going through self doubt, bullying etc. This is the position that used to be taken with regard to high school bullying, a position now seen as ridiculous!

Good luck QT


Qtpie. Ive talked about my situation on a number of threads. I, like you hope my experiences can help other people avoid the Pitfalls which ultimateley doomed my PhD. I belive that had I been a little bit street smarter, so to speak, my PhD could have been a lot more successful

to sum things up. My Phd was a disaster and I dropped out after one year.but something inside still has a hunger for research and a belief that I can succeed with the right topic and a supervisor who doesnt make it his business to shaft his own students.

It suffices to say my (EX) supervisor is a nasty piece of work, who has been accused by members of his own research team of intellectual property theft ( not in public of course)

My hope is that someday he will get what is coming to him. What goes around comes around


RJB, I really want to echo everything you say and, from the heart, I'm with you all the way, because i had such a nasty experience, my supervisor is such a nasty piece of work....and he will definitely get his own comeuppence one day.

But don't worry, there are other things around the corner for us... I am doing something completely different at the moment and I really believe that sometimes things that look bad in the beginning are blessings in disguise.


By the way: of course you can succeed with the right topic AND the right supervisor... but if your supervisor is bent on ruining you and your reputation (like mine was) then it's not possible to succeed.

But the message we should send to everyone is do not be perturbed by a one=off bad situation... and that it is possible to find another PhD and have a productive and normal experience.


It is rather sad to note that only 3 people are engaged in this post, ie QT, RJB, Dr... Rogue academics are like autumn leaves, found everywhere, and sadly, so are frightened PhD students. Perhaps that might explain why the culture of bullying remains strong? I filed a complaint against my supervisors for bullying and poor academic support. Its been 10months and counting. The new team of supervisors are currently undergoing red tape and will be formally recognised in Feb 2008. I will email you and hope to meet up someday.
Well done for starting this thread.


Your email address does not work. Please can you check it? I tried emailing you and it bounced back!


Hairui, please write to:
[email protected].