University bullying: to stay/go?


Hi everyone!

Got a problem: I'm going to do a PhD at a different university from my BA and MA, but my dept. is really against me going. I've had nothing put positive remarks and encouragement from my prospective university. My current dept. keeps telling me what a mistake I'm making, and has produced reasons why I shouldn't go. I'm finding this really unfair and it feels like I'm being bullied into staying against my will. The decision not to stay has been on my mind since Septmeber.

Anybody got any advice or pointers?


What reasons does your current department give for not moving? What reasons does the new University give for moving?

If you are being bullied then this in itself could be a factor in making your decision. What has your experience been in your current department before you applied to the new university?


some questions first...

Why are they so against you going? What reasons have they given? If they are sound reasons concerning the prospective department/faculty's ability to supervise your proposed project properly, they are worth considering. Perhaps your Masters/BA
tutor(s) have some academic rivalry going on with staff at the other place? You may not know, but if you suspect this is the case, then their recommendation to stay is not objective.

Have you already been offered a funded PhD with your existing department? Are you still completing your masters?

What made you apply to the prospective university in the first place? (were you hedging your bets or seriously considering leaving your department?)


I really don't understand what the problem is.

Grow a spine - it's your decision


Weigh both reasons; Why does your current department not want to leave?
-Is it a sound reason or are they just hating on the other uni?

And why does your proospective university want you?

In the end it will all come down to you making the decision based on what you love most about the two and which one would profit your more.


I think to be fair, one looks at this desicion as a very important one. Esp if you want academic career. It can be very difficult to know what to do (esp if your only experience of academia is undergrad). So you will obviously ask those in the 'know' what to do. If they start saying it would be a bad move, surely they must know something (at least thats how someone who doesnt know academia would think). As such you can find it very hard to ignore what someone who is obviously much more informed is saying. So I think saying grow a spine is a little harsh. Why should any of us not been through the process be able to make a better decision than someone who has been through the process.


However, I dont beleive that PhD really is the make or break time of an academic career. That comes later. So as long as you know you will enjoy the project, have got good supervisor and dont annoy too many people (more important if you want to work in their fields later). Not saying that it doesnt help to be in a nobel prize lab and publish 8 times in nature.


It would be interesting to hear their reasons. If it's just a university vivalry thing or just a couple of people in your uni who don't get on with people there, then it could be nothing, but if it's something else they could be doing you a favour. I'd ask them what they know and why they are advising against it


Thanks for the replies. From what I understand it's that it was assumed/hoped that I would stay. However, I haven't said that I would stay. Their reasons are rather weak, being that I'm better staying in a smaller dept working with people I know. Personally, I'd rather meet new people and do different things in a bigger dept. My mind's already made up to be honest. I just don't think it's very professional to be telling students that they should stay without concrete reasons.


I think that unless there's a very good reason for not going, you're making a good decision. You're absolutely right, it is much better to get out and see different departments, meet different scientists etc.


Hi there.

I have to say all this sounds very bizarre and secretive. This issue needs to be out in the open.

Do you like working in the Dept. you are in? Was there bullying before this happened? If this is really bullying,.....then I would seriously consider walking away and going to the new University. If this is indeed bullying and not sound advice (based on what exactly is yet to be explained as I understand it)you are being given, then it would ring alarm bells in my mind, but ascertain all the fact first before making any decisions. Why are they so set on you staying there. Don't be fobbed off by vague answers. Do you have your degree yet? If so, then you have nothing to lose.....there are loads of PhD's out there...and on the otherhand, if you don't have your undergrad degree yet, stay away from any conflict until you have that degree certificate.