======= Date Modified 12 Apr 2011 13:17:20 =======
It would be the end of my 4th year of full-time PhD study in the humanities this September. My supervisor has read all my chapters in bits and pieces, as i write along saying he's satisfied with it all, pointing out the needed corrections. He, however, insists I must submit next early month (in fact in less than a month's time) and had wanted the entire draft anytime soon or submit without him reading the draft as one whole piece.

I'm currently putting all the chapters together, cross-referencing as appropriate, etc. Personally, I think and know the work isn't ready for May submission, but he won't agree with me. Having contacted the Graduate School, I was told for as long as I submit before the new session begins in September there is no cost implication for me. Personally, I also think I would need to spend the next few months (May-July) editing the entire work before submitting in August for examinations. I'm in crisis and this is currently affecting my current quality of my work. The second supervisor is my main supervisor's 'disciple' and has been aloof with me for a while. Nonetheless, relationship with them both has been largely that of trying to avoid stepping on each other's toes ... kind of mutual respect for each other.

Please what do you suggest?


You can submit your thesis even on the last day that you are registered, so that you have the time to revise your work. Different universities may have different rules, so it is a good idea to check with Registry, but as far as I know once you have submitted you are automatically re-registered until you have your viva and completed any corrections you are given, at no extra cost.

If you feel that your thesis is not good enough to be submitted now, I think that it wouldn't be very wise to go ahead. If I was in your situation I would arrange a meeting with both my supervisors and bring 2 copies of the latest draft of my thesis with me. I think that it is in no-one interest that you submit if there is even a remote possibility that you might fail or given major corrections.

Are you a funded student? Usually you are put under a lot of pressure to complete if you are funded by them or one of the research councils, but even though, as long as you submit by the last day of your registration that would be enough as far as I know. However, I would check with Registry and your funding body if any.


Normally it is the other round, ie the student pressurizing the supervisor to submit!

that said, it is strange that your supervisor thinks you should submit if you don't think your thesis is ready. Could it be a case of you wanting perfection rather than accepting your thesis is ready to defend in a viva? Perhaps your supervisor genuinely does think it's ready?

I agree with Corinne that I would request a meeting with your two supvs, bring the completed draft and point out to them where you think it falls down, and therefore may potentially fail. I would ask them directly 'what is the rush' (again that's normally said from supv to student!). If there is a genuine reason you will have to take their views into account and make an informed decision to submit in their timeline, or yours. It could be related to your external. Has she/he been already formally requested to examine your thesis? If you submit May, under normal circumstances your viva would be two/three months after this. If your external is already onboard, your supvs would then have to 'cancel' your viva which could trigger alarm bells in the examiner's mind.

Talk to your supervisors as soon as possible, particularly if they genuinely think you should submit. If that's the case it sounds like you will have to speed up your proofreading and formatting etc.

Keep us informed if you can, it's an interesting connumdrum



As others have suggested ask your supervisor straight out what the rush is. Why does he want you to submit within the next month? Then make a decision based on that. But you need to ask your supervisor.


Hi Patseya,

I had a similar situation, of course it cannot be compared to a PhD. After a year of working on the thesis of my first degree, my supervisor was putting pressure on my to submit in February. I told him that it is not done and we had a little fight. Most students had the opposite problem, begging their supervisor to let them submit cry if they wouldn't let them to, so on top of everything all my peers treated me with hostility. We were working in an open plan space and everyone could hear our argument :)
In June he blackmailed me, that if I didn't submit by July, he wouldn't even come to my public defence! I wrapped everything as good as possible, and it went fine.
And the same thing happened during the PhD, with my current supervisor attacking me for not having a publication ready and me almost crying and asking for " one more week" (every week for a month...) working like mad in depression, managed to submit finally, accepted with no corrections.

Let me guess, you are a perfectionist, who works almost obsessively 10 hours a day, every day ? ;-)

Well, a little bit of crying and arguing can buy you a few more months... For me crying works better.


======= Date Modified 12 Apr 2011 15:45:48 =======
Thanks for these responses. Yes, it's a fully funded PhD. Reason for wanting me to submit is simply because it's my 4th Year and this May is the submission deadline for Summer (July) graduation (that is if all things go well). I really don't think it's the examiners (who have been notified) who are demanding this submission. It's just my main supervisor who's saying I've read the chapters separately and they're fine. What scared me was when he said if the draft is not handed in early to make room for his own reading (which he would do within a week or so) and for me to make corrections as necessary, then I should just collate the whole thesis and submit without him (them) reading the entire work. This raises two questions. Shouldn't they read the full thesis and see if it coheres and ascertain it's been well structured, etc, etc? And what if there are substantial corrections to be made which cannot be completed before the early May deadline? As suggested, am meeting them both very shortly when I would hand them the entire draft as my first full draft. When he gets (or they get) back to me with their comments/corrections, the extent of the corrections, I suppose would help in deciding whether or not I should proceed to submit. In the maintime any further suggestions are welcomed and I'll surely keep everyone posted.


Trying to hit a graduation deadline is daft. You may have corrections to make which can't be done in time for summer graduation. Does your university have winter graduations? Could you graduate then? Or would it be so awful to wait until the following year?

Once your degree has been confirmed by the senate or whoever writes to you it will be official. Graduation is just a formality after then.


Hi guys, I thought I should keep everyone (especially those who responded) posted. I finally put all my chapters together, edited it thoroughly, handed copies to my sups who quickly read through and gave me a critical feedback. I subsequently made corrections in line with sup's comments and finally submitted, albeit after the deadline. I'm pleased with the work as submitted, but you never can tell until the examiners give it a thumb up. I'm now awaiting my viva which holds in less than a month's time. I'll let you know how it goes as well. Thanks to everyone, once again.


Well done Patseya! Very glad that everything went smoothly and that you are going to have your viva soon. I have mine at the end of July, so a bit more time to wait. Hope that you have a nice break in the meantime! (mince)


Hi guys, just to let you know -- my viva finally holds this week. I'll keep you posted to let you know how it goes. I'll do my best to defend my work, but at this stage it's a matter of 'Que Sera, Sera' (whatever would be would be).


I hope it all goes well for you. Best of luck!


Good luck Patseya! Let us know how you get on with your viva, a que sera attitude is what I am trying to adopt for mine in two weeks, eek!


My viva voce examination took place today and lasted just over one hour. I PASSED WITH MINOR CORRECTIONS. I am sooooooooo relieved with the outcome. The support on this forum/website is second to none and I hope to stay around here for the foreseeable future to support others undergoing the same process. Once again thanks everyone and best wishes to others awaiting their vivas.




Wow, a one hour viva and minor corrections! Congratulations Dr Patseya (up). Would love to hear about it when you finish celebrating (secretly this is what I would like for mine very soon!)