Ph.D Failure and dealing with it


I'm an international student at a US university and I was pursuing my PhD in electrical engineering. I hadn't been doing well at my coursework despite repeated warnings from the university (Just so that it's clear who's at fault!) but I always did alright in the lab. I'm only in my second year and I'm close to getting 2 publications out and have presented at a conference and at a regional government air quality monitoring agency about my work. I truly sucked at my coursework though and got some terrible grades.

I just got told by my advisor today that it's pretty much going to be the end of the road for me come end of this semester. What he said was the school was going to fail me at my screening because I flunked my coursework. Labwork doesn't matter at this moment (Says the school). This is gravely depressing and devastating for me since I really thought I could make a career in science and engineering. I have no idea of what I must do next and I'm currently enrolled in 3 classes too that I'm finding extremely hard to concentrate now since I know doing well in these classes isn't going to affect my chances in any way.

I could really do with some morale boost and a direction or anything that would help me regain my composure.


Why have you been failing your coursework? I don't what else you can do, except ask your supervisor for some help with the coursework or appeal the decision and say you didn't get enough support to be able to do the coursework.


i had an almost similar experience and am a Dr. now. don't fret!

what i did was to get a medical letter from a doctor and a psychologist.

before concluding you are the issue... find out it you are OK. Those letters saved me and I was allowed to proceed . Luckily i wasn't doing a PhD that had coursework.

Another thing you could do is interrupt your studies (postpone) on medical grounds. This holds on any action against you for a while, while you get your bearings right.


It's a fact that some are more interested in research. It's also a fact that weaknesses can turn into your strength. I find you similar to myself. You sound so eager in research. You seem so talented. If I found it out bu reading just a message from you, for sure your supervisor knows it well and will help you. Jojo's idea is great to pass over the official procedures. Meanwhile, try to figure it out why you are not doing well with your coursework. Is it that you find it boring? If it that you find it useless? Is it hard for you? Do you have any specific personal problem? .... To solve a question, you should first dig into the question to know what it asks for. If you solved the issue, come back here and let us know cause I just feel like you will!