I am sitting here in my office, looking at my life and thinking if I knew what I knew now about the PhD live I wouldn't have chosen to quit my job for this miserable life. Now don't get me wrong, its not the project, I am currently writing two papers. I don't find the project difficult, I have all these ideas and I enjoy trying them out and seeing them come to life. However, my year and half here has made me realize that whilst when I was undergraduate, my grades depended on the hard work I put into reading my work, a PhD life works different. You maybe the most intelligent and genius researcher however if your supervisor is rude, not helpful and is very difficult, the likelihood of you passing your PhD is zero. I mean my work should speak for itself, however if your supervisor doesn't have your best interest at heart, forget it. Now I find myself stuck with this stupid man, stupid is an understatement. He is rude, always puts me down, doesn't help me at all, always talks negative, I have never got one word of encouragement from him. On top of this my second supervisor is his buddy so its hard to even approach him for any help. Also people keep on telling me to swap supervisors, however the politics of swapping a supervisor are more complicated. I don't even know what to do. I am at my wits end. Its either I quit or stay with it until I am definitely sure of my decision. I never thought I would find myself in this position. This is the worst thing that I have ever gone thru. I am a hard worker, a first class student and I find this guy destroying my dreams and my spirit. I used to hear stories about horrible supervisors, to be honest I never believed them. Well know I believe with my whole heart. I am disappointed in myself, I am disappointed in this PhD life. I have been diagnosed with depression which my PhD life is causing, then he tells me you are not sick you are faking it. He is so heartless, cold hearted human being. I also found out you can not publish papers without your supervisor's approval, I mean this gets worse ey. And if he doesn't even want you to get a PhD he will advice the examiners to fail you. Can you imagine, unbelievable.


Just change supervisor. Find someone you can work with. Don't worry about the politics. Don't be aggressive, be as smooth as possible.

Good luck with therest of the PhD journey


Hi Derose

I truly understand what you meant as me myself has went through the whole thing!

Can I ask where are you now in your PhD?

Long story short, I had similar problem as you, probably slightly worse because my supervisor controlled my funding, and that he threatened me if I attempted to "against" him in anyway, he will cut down my funding. That was the main reason I forced myself to stuck with him because I have no other funding.

In my 2nd/3rd year, his behaviour is beyond my perseverance, I had serious depression too! Then I found this forum and I reliased lots of other people went through the same thing as us! Long story short, I took up the courage and reported his behaviour to the department (I have email proof that he is being rude and not giving me support), the department investigated this issue and he received warning letter about that. Things has gottan a lot better then.

In our university, we can change supervisor "without the need to give the department a valid reason". I think that applies to many other universities.
I did ask to change supervisor, but because I was already in my 3rd year, and there is no other people in the department who is familiar with my topic, therefore the department suggested me to keep reporting to them if the supervisor "is not doing his job properly".

Bear in mind that it's the supervisor's responsibility to support us, and it's the department's responsibility to make sure we get enough support from the supervisor. So you have all the right to gain the support that you need from both parties!

Don't be afraid to address the issue, I regret I didn't address the issue in the first year so I hope you can sort out your problem soon.


Hi. I am afraid gaining a PHD depends on how all individuals fit in (as much as anything else). There needs to be an independent representative body to support and advise students. Having a PHD is becoming meaningless- it does not mean people are more clever but means they fit criteria and jump through hoops. I know many who are very clever- without a PHD.In my experience, changing supervisors means going to head of dept-- to be told there is no on else. Even the inspection body for Universities cannot advise . Students need to keep everything in writing. A very sad system we have here with restricted thought.