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Half way through: no data and no support.

Hey Zenx!

I totally understand your frustrsation and growing worry over where you are in your phd. I'm in a similar position in that I have experiments and results but they have taken so long to get and will barely cover my method development section of my thesis.
My supervisor insits that my analysis method (LCMS) is too long yet it finally works after over 12 months of work!? And wants me to redo it which I'm not happy with as I finish in less than 12 months and have no real data on my thesis topic and have zero publications.

What I can offer you is what I'm constantly being told - at some point you will turn a corner and that 'experiment' you do will finally work and everything will then snowball in the last few months of you phd.

I'm not 100% sure this will happen for me but I've heard it from supervisors, phd students about to finish theirs in my lab, and from post-docs. Have a little faith in yourself and look at the wider picture, understand the minimum of what you need to achieve and when you know what that requires set about doing it.

It's tough but a phd is all about learning and understanding your topic better than your supervisor so really you have to take the initative and push yourself.

I'm also told that it will be worth it in the end - again not sure about this but I'm going to do everything I can to get there.

All the best and good luck!


Accepted for PhD

Okay, so you have been accepted onto a non-funded PhD.

I don't mean to be rude, but in the current job market, is that really a good idea? Especially if you have to find new accommodations in a new city, where local jobs are limited.

One option if its a large office orintated city, there is often work as cleaners which will end before 9am and pay enough for rent and still give you a full day at Uni (several undergrad student friends have done this). If you don't mind early starts its worth looking into.

Have you spoken to the University and explained you would require financial help? The deparment the post is for may have funding for a year or so while you apply for external funding grants.

Good luck!

Is my Bio PhD on track?

Is gene expression of any of your finding possible? (the 3 you have picked out) I would have thought that would be the next logical step in your project - identification of genes of interest, expression and isolation, and then mapping protein function.

Your supervisor should help you with this and if not possible where you are maybe look to other options to have this work done. As you still have a year and a half to go then you should really try to insist that you carry out this next step as it will form a much stronger PhD thesis.

Good luck!

Help. Financial worries. Not passed PhD 1st year and really worried.

Is there no way to save the phd? You can't talk to your supervisor and work something out?

I'm close to doing my end of year report and from what I've been told by phd'ers in the second year and onwards is that no one has failed this because it looks bad for the university, both in terms of departments and funding bodies.

Good luck!

20 hour part-time job with full time funded PhD?

Hey, I'm fully funded too and currently have a part-time job at the weekend 10+ hours which both my supervisors are aware of. My funding body had no rules on part time work and my Uni says over 6 hours must have approval from your supervisor. My supervisor basically told me as long as it doesn't cause me to fall behind in my phd work then no one cares. He said as long as I put in full time hours Mon-Fri what I do at the weekend isn't an issue.

Don't think my case really helps you with yours but as you've already finished most of your work (if you have a thesis first draft complete) then I'd speak to your supervisor first and go from there, you might find he/she thinks it's a great opportunity for you.

Good luck!

Just started, and unsure

I get exactly how you feel. My phD is in the sciences but its an off-shot from my supervisors area and having started at the start of the year I've been frustrated with how little I have done. Things haven't gone a simply as my sup. thought it would and I get the impression he wants me to come up with all the answers when my project have such a thin connection to my degree :-(

Little tired of the 'you need to be the expert' line when its such an early stage in my work. I have days on days where all I can do with my time is read the literature :-s drives me a little crazy after an hour or so. And makes me feel guilty for not having more things to do given my stipend.

What I can say is that I'm going to learn to love this project by the time I've finished. I want to do this, and like you it keeps me off the dole for a few years (up) so that's a point for sticking it out. What I gather from the students around me is that everyone goes through something like this at some point. When it gets tough or you feel your getting nowhere, just keep in mind that at the end you'll have a large body of work, some published (maybe, not sure with SS) and you'll get the cool title of DOCTOR!!

Worth a few hard spells and days of boredom I think, especially when a lot of my friends (not students) are losing their jobs right now :(

Scholarship, Part time work and tax

Hi, I can only speak for myself but I am on a funded phd while working part-time in a job I've had all through my undergrad so I understand where you are coming from. I spoke to everyone I could think of at my uni and was basically told not to worry, I too don't earn enough to be above the tax mark but I was very concerned over it affecting my funding grant.

In the end I was told that as a student you don't pay tax on your stepend, and with part-time work unless only when you earn past the £8000 mark.

It sounds to me that you have nothing to stress over and the lady you spoke to wasn't doing her job properly and helping you with your concerns.

Hope that's of some help.


Should we abolish the PhD degree ?

I think it largely depends on the subject and the expectation of the graduating student. I am only a few short months into my science phd and it not only provides me with PAID training, there is also the prospective job waiting for me at the end from and industry partner of the university who my supervisor has close connections with.

To be completely honest I only interviewed because my supervisor had already set up the interview and I felt the need to accept when it was offered to me, of course it also meant I wasn't headed straight to the back of the dole queue with some of my fellow graduates. YAY!

I do think phd students are overly used as grunt workers of their supervisor and to an extent their university, but I also think there are too many phd's out there that don't benefit in the job market, and there are just too few academic post for the number that graduate each year from uni's all over the country.

To answer your question - no, I think phd's have there place and for the majority of the good folks doing one it's not just to get them a job at the end, its because they love the subject they get to study for a few years at a very high level.

Anyway, that's just my view.


Part time work

I asked this question myself a few months ago prior to starting my fully funded phd, to find out if I needed to quit. What I can tell is that my uni had no real guidlines on this so I emailed my supervisor to ask about it, as he already knew I worked part time as it was on my CV when I applied. The response I got was that it didn't matter but that a full time phd should account for a minimum of 35 hours put into it each week, outwith that he said no one checked and it had never been an issue for students to give up earning a little extra money while the studied as long as they were still putting the work in on their research.

Contacting PhD supervisors

For me, I stated how interesting I found their project, explaining my background and why I thought I was a good fit. I then said that I'd like to apply for the post and any more info on their plans for the project would be good to have.

Always seem eager and that their project is your main focus (even when its not)

If you get a nice reply, showing interest in having you for the post, you can then as if you could come in for a visit and face to face talk (informal) to get a clear indication of if its right for you; the supervisor, the project and the university.

Although in the end for me this didn't work out (my MSc supervisor offered me a phd) I did get several interview offers.

Good luck!

Can I work part time during a funded phd?

Hi guys, I'm due to start my phd in a matter of weeks, but I read somewhere that you shouldn't be working at all on a funded post.

Could someone please help me out here?

I currently work 14 hours at the weekend which both my supervisor are aware of and haven't mentioned anything about not being allowed to keep my job.

Am I going to cause a problem with my funding later on?

Thanks for any advice!