Student/Supervisor Relationships - how is yours?


Just wondered ... what type of relationship do you all have with your supervisor? Can you (for example):

-Email them general (depressive) rants about how much you hate doing the Phd (feel like quitting/giving up/etc)?
-Tell them your research - in the grand scheme of things - means poo?
-Phone them (home/mobile) if you are having problems with work?
-Have meetings in informal settings (go for a coffee/lunch)?
-Spend hours chatting about everything apart from your PhD?
-Tell them that when you complete you plan to burn your work and run away from academia?

Looking forward to reading your comments on this one!


Well, I haven't tried emailing my current PhD supervisor any of my feelings towards PhD. But, I did do so when I did my Master degree (with another supervisor).

I never phone my supervisor....but some of my colleagues do.

Possibly due to language barrier and cultural difference, I haven't had the chance (and the gut) to meet or chat to my supervisor alone. I got nothing to say with him. I'm a bit afraid to leave a bad impression of wasting his time...

What about others?


no, no, no, no, no and no.


Do you think being able to do those things means you have a GOOD relationship?


Yes to everything! I have only just started my PhD this year, but I have the same supervisor that I had for my undergrad. Honours (last year). Personally, I like it this way, and, for me, it works


I'm jointly supervised and so have two different relationships. One emails me more frequently (work comments, funding app help, conferences), and I run into him in the hallway, campus shops or at departmental events during the week and 'check in' with one another. He is always very helpful and friendly, and we do have informal meetings over lunch or coffee sometimes - but I would never want to be able to ring him on his mobile or at home - he has a wife, children and personal life! I really appreciated it when he came to listen to my first paper.


The second supervisor takes more of a back seat - I always meet him with the first at our monthly supervision. I may see him around a little, and he always says hi etc..Our relationship is more formal- though I don't mind this. I think there are merits to both of their approaches.

I think a good working relationship relies on respecting boundaries - I don't think ringing them at home or telling them about every research hang-up you have is neccesary a 'good' relationship.


I think I got a really good supervisor and relationship with him. He reads my work carefully (spots mistakes I javent spotted myself), gives a contructive feedback and supports in hard time. At the same time there is always a distance between us, so it means there is no much personal relationship and I think it is good while I am doing a PhD.
Regarding your examples:
-Email them general (depressive) rants .... Yes, if it is really, really serious.

-Tell them your research - in the grand scheme of things - means poo?- Yes, but preferably not too frequently because he thinks what I am doing is very good:)

-Phone them (home/mobile) ... NO, Never.

-Have meetings in informal settings (...Havent tried to invate.

-Spend hours chatting ..? NOpe, he is too busy.

-Tell them that when you complete you plan t... Yes:) But then he usually says that it will be a great loss for the whole Academia;)


This is interesting as it changes with time.I do email a lot during busy periods and disguise my rants and raves in a professional manner. It got better as time went and in emergencies I do call my supervisor. In corridors and passing by moments we usually just smile or say a word or two about work. Although I always keep a bit distance from our private and work life, sometimes there are times it cannot be avoided and we do talk about them in a casual manner. But never the coffee or beer in the pub moments.


My primary supervisor is great. I can call or text her any time at all. To celebrate some great results from my first experiment she took me out for cocktails! My second supervisor scares the b'jesus out of me, however!


ewwwww! I'm with Sue on this one, no all the way and I'd be worried if I said yes to any. this is what friends are for. And the cat. Well, obviously i dont email the cat, but talk to cat a lot about research being poo


Is the cat sympathetic?


No cat is very disdainful and reminds me there are more important things in life


my cat has provided a few useful journal references . She's a genius.


I have a great relationship with my supervisor, I couldn't ask for a better one.

-I've never had any feelings of quitting
-Never wanted to do this either
-Yeah I've phoned him at home at times
-Most of our meetings are informal
-Also most of our meetings involve talking about other stuff for half of the time
-I want to stay in accademia and he's given me some really useful advice