Quitting a PhD advice needed



I was wondering whether someone could give me some much needed advice.

I embarked on a PhD some time ago, however I have been feeling rather unhappy with the whole situation ever since the start. Those factors aren't really associated with the research project/topic itself or my supervisor, but are rather centered around personal issues (having to move to an entirely new place, lack of social support system, etc). Even though I wish that things weren't this way, it's gotten to the point where I've slowly realised that it's not worth to sacrifice my happiness for the sake of getting a PhD. Now there's this job in an area very closely related to my PhD topic in my hometown, but I am wondering whether the fact that I want to quit my PhD due to personal reasons and not reasons associated with the project itself will make me an unfavorable candidate? I just don't know how to adequately explain to them why I want to leave my PhD...

I'd be very thankful for any words of wisdom.



Hi Vini,

While I'm afraid I'm not able to offer much in the way of advice, I can point you towards someone who might. Guitarman has recently quit his PhD and found success elsewhere. Perhaps you could send him a private message for some advice?

Good luck!



Hi Vini,

I have just freed myself from the shackles of a phd. I talked with my supervisors about this very point, at length, and with friends in professional roles.

My thoughts are that you should focus on the determination and the recognition of ability that allowed you to get accepted as a phd student (don't know whether you are funded, but that is another aspect of recognition of ability) and the 'learning journey' of the phd as a whole - this is a journey upon which much can be learned which can, at times, result in the award of PhD. On top of that, what I am going to do is also consider the decision to terminate an unhappy and unfulfilling situation as a positive - it takes bravery and confidence to walk away from something that simply isn't working out. In my situation I decided to consider the phd position I was in from the viewpoint of a project manager (a job which I'm familiar with) and realised that if it was a project that I was managing I would close it down asap with damage limitations and go through a period of evaluation and reflection. I genuinely think this can be couched in positive terms.

Good luck.


Hi Vini,

I am feeling really similar to you right now. It is really difficult to know whether quitting is the right thing to do. I'm sure like me you are worried you might regret the decision at some point - but if you're really unhappy there is no point in feeling like this for years just for the title of Dr.

Are there any other PhD students around who you can talk to and perhaps establish a support network? Do you have a personal/pastoral tutor you could talk to? What would your situation be like if you went back to the place you lived in before the PhD?

If the job you're thinking of applying to involves research in this area, perhaps you could focus on the fact you are already doing a good project in this area and eventually you'll be an expert in it with a PhD, so could go into better paying and higher positions in that area in a few years?

Personally I have been thinking of leaving partly as I miss living with my fiance and partly because I have started to realise that it might not be the ideal career for me - in fact it is far from it. I have talked about it with friends but not my pastoral tutor or supervisors yet - I am afraid of how they will react :( My project is quite promising.. but I dunno if there is any point if I am so depressed!!

PM me if you want to chat more xx