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Returning to study after illness/1st Phd failure

Hi TheComebackKid, I recommend that you read an article titled " A word to the struggling PhD student" and the story of a Professor titled
"Monica A. Coleman's Story of Mental Illness". They are all available on the Web. I hope this can help you take a wise decision. Good luck.

i have to finish...please help

Monty, you really need to visit the Academic Joy Web site. Go to the "PhD Candidate" section. You will find there so many resources, tools and advice to deal with your current situation. Good luck.

Does it make sense to have "Prologue" and "Epilogue" chapters in an engineering dissertation?


I think you should be careful about your attempt to write "Prologue" and "Epilogue" in your thesis. The idea of "original research" in a thesis refers to the nature of work not the structure as such.

As far I know these words belong to movie scripts. Here are theses and dissertations repositories from around the world in all fields: http://bit.ly/IPiY3e .
See for yourself if anyone has ever used the words "Prologue" and "Epilogue".

Nine weeks to go!

Read the article "How to finish your PhD" here http://bit.ly/KYfDjv .

Advisor relationship?

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Postgrad Forum Hall of Fame

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Qualities of a PhD student?

You should definitively read a document titled "A word to the struggling PhD student" available on the Internet. Good luck.

insignificant results

I found this quote for your situation:

"If facts conflict with a theory, either the theory must be changed or the facts.” - Spinoza

You may also want to see this video about  Carl Sagan explaining the Scientific Method: http://youtu.be/Sj5TkVbGQLY

I hope these suggestions inspire you.

Good luck.

Maria  L.

Senior Research Fellowship straight after PhD


Congratulations for your landing a job before even reaching the finish line of your PhD. This is a dream come true in these hard economic times.
To help you with your concerns and aprehension about your future job and title, you may want to read two books about "Excellence" for early
career scientists. You cannot miss them at http://bit.ly/KYax74 because they are Open Access (free legal download).
I wish you all the best.

Should I do a PhD?

If you have not taken a decision yet, there are a number of things you must consider: 

1) Are you ready to do research alone for 3-4 years ? -  Unlike the Master degree, you are pretty much on your own in an adventure. Your advisor cannot help you much here;
2) What about your family commitment ? - The PhD takes much time and energy way from your family ;
3) What is your real motivation for getting into this ? In industry, a PhD degree does not guarantee a better salary than a Master degree. Prestige may be fine but there are just
    too many PhDs in the world today. If you want to pursue a PhD to gain more knowledge in a particular area yet you expect to continue solely in a industrial career,
  a PhD may not be a wise career decision. The structure of a PhD degree program is centered on preparation of individuals for careers in research, teaching, and other scholarly activities.
4) Are you really sure this is for you ? - Check the Academic Joy Web site to know more.

Think well before you jump in ...

Comments please

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Epic, your situation seems to be an extreme one. Obviously, your Sup. is whether incompetent or dislikes you. Some professors accept PhD students in their lab. usually because it is good for its image. and improves their standing when applying for national or corporate funds. Your Sup. seems to be using you like a toy for these reasons. It is better for you to stop with her, find a new Sup. or go on strike until the University does something positive instead of turning a blind eye.

I am surprised that in your field, your lab. doesn't have a weekly seminar that brings together all graduate students and the Sup. At these seminars, each student get to make a presentation about his/her work and receive feedback from everyone. I still remember the graduate seminars of my lab. when I was doing my Phd. It was pretty informal. We heard news about research, we had short presentations in turns, Q&A and discussions. The meeting time was pretty weird. As most of us stayed late in the lab at night, seminars would start around 10:00 PM and last hours. In one instance, we ended up discussing in a seminar until 1:00 AM in a relax and fun atmosphere. Once in a while, the whole lab would go to a restaurant to take a meal, go camping, visiting a nearby town and so on. These actions brought us close together as a family. Unfortunately, my Sup. did resign from the University and I have to slug it out alone the remaining miles to the PhD. Today, the roles are reversed. I have to take care of graduate students myself and continue the tradition. We are like a family down here.

I hope this helps you in some way.

is my phd killing my relationship?

Most PhD students have been in similar depressing moment. However, given your description of your situation, you really need to take a decision that is better for your health and family relationship. There is life without the PhD and scores of humans beings are happy without it. Please read an entry available on the Web titled "A Word to the struggling PhD Student ". It will definitively help you take a wise decision. I wish you success in your life with or without PhD.

I've finally got a viva date... it's in 2 weeks eek...


You may have received a lot of advice but I strongly suggest that you watch the video
"The Perfect Oral Defense of the Dissertation" at "Academic Joy", section "Resources"
of the "PhD Candidate" page. Good luck.

any help/advice would be great

In addition to the advice given to you above, I suggest that you type "How does a PhD program work ?" in your favorite search engine. You will see numerous Web sites dedicated to PhD students.
It may be a good way to start, I think.

Just started, and unsure


I do understand the feeling you guys are going through. It is pretty common at this early stage of your PhD program. Because of the radical difference there is between a PhD program and a Master program, the transition can be painful and confusing at first. There are a number of very important things you need to know at the start. When you choose a particular topic to work on in a PhD program, it is supposed to be like an unknown territory where even your advisor has little or no knowledge. Unlike the Master program, he doesn't know more than you do about this particular subject. Otherwise, it would not be worth being investigated. In order to gain knowledge and expertise in this subject, you must start by reading as much as possible about what is at present known about it. Reading a lot of appropriate literature is an essential part of a PhD program. If you hate reading, I am afraid the PhD is not for you. You are waisting your time. Think about how much more painful it is for the hundred of thousands of PhD students from other cultures who *read* (I should say decipher) the same litterature in English (the de facto language) in science. In addition, you should view the role of your professor as that of a guide not a guru who has all the answers to your questions and concerns. This program is a training ground for you to prove to yourself and to others that you are indeed capable in the end to carry out *independent research* on your own. After a year in this program, if you still feel bored and have no motivation, it is better to find other happy alternatives in life. I am sure you will find the right motivation to keep on doing your research by talking with people around you, particulary former PhD students. There is also a a great deal of resources, tools, advice and lessons for new PhD students on the "PhD Candidate" page of a Web site called Academic Joy.
I wish you success in your PhD adventure.

Maria Livingstone.