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Thinking about changing university after a few months of studying
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Hi eliteape,

Two months is very early to judge and the grass isn't always greener elsewhere. I can sympathise with you, as no-one at my university has any experience in my area, not even my supervisor really. My research group is for bioenergy but I am the only one using biomass while everyone else is wind, batteries and hydrogen, so they are not that helpful. However, I have nearly finished my PhD with several publications, after effectively teaching myself everything.

My advice, is find a relevant paper that you think you can replicate and do it. It doesn't matter if what you did is novel because once you have a method that you think works, you can iterate from it with confidence. Taking baby steps with regards to methodology is a lot easier than big leaps when you don't have much lab support. As when you start doing some experiments you learn what parts are easy or difficult which enables you to design better experiments.

Granted, I think I have a good supervisor. I am her first PhD student and at the start of my PhD she was useless. I think it took over a year until we both figured out what we were doing. So give your supervisor some slack and think what are they good at. My supervisor doesn't understand chemistry and can't help with the theory or most experiments. However she gives decent feedback, has helped me massively improve my writing and she deals with all the paperwork/bureaucracy. There are no perfect supervisors but you can adapt to use your supervisor's strengths.

Phd entry requirements
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I would call the admissions departments and ask. The funding bodies can require a 2:1 minimum but some of them have flexibility. A distinction at masters should partially negate your undergrad, especially if the masters is relevant to your PhD and you have a reason for your low grade. The fact is you performed better for a more difficult course which is an achievement that you can lean on.


I hate my topic
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Hi Removed63757,

AMartian gave a very good answer and I agree with it.

My PhD proposal had a huge experimental flaw that became apparent very early in my PhD. It took a few months to convince my supervisor that a certain set of experiments wasn't possible and that we needed to significantly change the project. I started doing my own thing after that and my supervisor supported me, such that my PhD project is very different from my original proposal. Though I would say that the majority of PhD students change their proposal in some way due to issues. So don't feel obligated to follow your proposal to the letter because as you progress you have more information to make better decisions.

Don't want to travel
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Hi curious_mind,

Tell your supervisor you don't want to go. A PhD supervisor can't force you to do a placement overseas and your concerns are perfectly reasonable. Unless it said in your PhD advert that it was required you should have control over the process.

Though it would look better if you tried to compromise somehow. Maybe a shorter placement or go somewhere else in the UK? Your supervisor probably thinks you will gain something out of the placement and if you can replicate that without months overseas it would make the problem disappear. I did 2 months in a backwater of Ireland in my first year because another university offered to teach me their methods. It was an awful backwater town but it was an amazing methodology crash course that I wouldn't have got at my own uni. Granted I was single with zero commitments.

Ridiculously Overqualified?
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I heard his department head only offered him a 3 teaching month contract with an effective wage of £4.32 an hour

What would you do in the LoA
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Hi jw15,

I think you are doing the right thing and taking the time to reset. I took an 11 month "Disruption of studies" which sounds similar to your LoA. Though I used my time to work on an external research project but I think the break helped me with my PhD. As coming back after a break let me reset my emotions towards my work. I had gruelled during a lot of my PhD and that emotion had slipped into my impression of my PhD, I could only see flaws and not achievements. I don't know if you will be similar, but for me the painful emotions faded far faster than the actual work.

So my advice is, don't think too much about your PhD. Find something that isn't too stressful to keep yourself occupied and reset emotionally. In 3-4 months when you might be in a better a place you can re-approach your PhD with a clearer mind.

Quote From jw5:
my career path planning (one of my mistakes is I didn’t have a clear expectation of a PhD). Have no idea about what’s next

Does anyone have a plan for after their PhD?

Disturbing experience
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I cannot speak from personal experience but what you experienced is not normal. I think the vast majority of academia would agree what he did was wrong. He is a piece of work but you shouldn't expect everyone to be like him.

The only thing I would possibly suggest as an option is quietly tell other PhD students. In the first few months of my PhD I got told about several post-doc and lecturer "creeps" to avoid one-on-one. Nothing was ever said about what happened other than they were creeps to avoid. It is probably the most low-committal way to warn other people.

Desperate: Major corrections and visa expires soon
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Hi thefrustratedcandidate,

I can completely understand your frustration and had a good friend go through something similar with visas (emeritus professor LOL). I agree with Jamie_Wizard. Don't annoy your examiners and it would be better if your supervisor/admin team pressure the examiner. Also, for your visa you probably need more than just an email but a full certificate which can sometimes take a while. PhDs at my university require final approval from an exam board (rubber stamp really) which only meets every 2-3 months that can also delay things. If you ask your admin department they might tell you how long after the approval it will take to get the certificate.

I really I wish I could give you better advice and I fully sympathise with you but there isn't much you can do at the 2 week point.

Viva in 2 weeks
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Hi Dontcareanymore,

Every viva is different and I can't tell you what to expect. However, I don't know anyone who failed with decent data chapters. The data chapeters are the "meat" of your thesis and if they are solid you thesis is likely passable. I wouldn't worry too much about your intro or formatting because fixing them would be definition of corrections in my opinion. Revise and resubmit or straight fail is if your results/methodology/conclusions have severe flaws and don't constitute a contribution to your field.


phd advisor - review of the review of the review.....
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There is a lecturer in my department who is notoriously like your supervisor, an anal perfectionist with no social skills or sense of time constraints. From seeing what they did I would suggest; make them focus on one chapter at a time then stop giving them drafts when you are happy, grow a think skin (they will never be happy so don't try), draft in support from second supervisors if possible, give them fixed dates and tell them you will submit regardless of their opinion. I wish I could be more helpful and I completely feel for your situation.

Doing a PhD and searching for Research positions
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I did a full-time RA role during my PhD and have done a lot of teaching support roles. I feel it is quite significantly luck based. The best way is if you know the supervisor and they give you the role without a real application process. A lot of academics are reluctant to to do short-term projects because they can't guarantee they will get; A) someone at all, B) someone competent enough to do the work and C) someone that will finish the project. I was fortunate that my supervisor got me two of them herself and other academics are now submitting grants with me in mind because I somehow have a good reputation. I would suggest talking with academics in your department that know you, telling them that you want to short term projects or available to do mundane projects. It won't get you anything immediately but it might yield long term. Also, when trying to get work like this it is better to be seen as flexible than a specialist.

PS: I am assuming that you want part-time of short term research contracts in the UK

Can I use the same PhD accepted proposal in a different university?
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I would broadly say yes. It is your proposal and your own work. It may be on Turnitin but you haven't published it and if you tell the university/supervisors it shouldn't be much of an issue. However, as eng77 says, if someone else at your old your university has started working on your old proposal it would be a bit awkward .

Feeling stupid
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Hi waitinggame,

Quote From waitinggame:

I am starting my phd next month

Why are you worrying so much when you haven't even started yet? A PhD is three years for a reason and most students feel the same as you when they start their PhD. So please don't feel like an impostor because it sounds like you are setting yourself impossible standards before you have even started. I would consider looking at your PhD student handbook (it should be online) and look at what you are expected to do in the first three years. Probably in the next 3-6 months all what is expected of you is to have research plan and maybe a small literature review. If you can do that, you are completely fine and not stupid.

I can publish! Is it possible to find a remote job?
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I agree with Nead it depends on your field and funding. If you win your own grants, departments will welcome you with ease. I also have a friend who is half way through a two year post-doc working remotely but her work is in computer modelling. Her university is a 5 hour drive away and was only expected on site twice a year for various things. Other than that all of her work can be done from home and the university is happy with that. It was an advertised role but I don't see why not if you can justify working remotely.

Plan to withdraw the PhD since it is not really what I want
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Hi pary,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. From the sounds of it you have made the right decision to leave such a toxic environment. To answer your question, yes you should be able to easily Master out. I would talk with your graduate department or your student handbook on the procedure and see what you have. Generally it is pretty straight forward as long as you have some data at least with a semi-decent write up. Although I would consider your financial situation before deciding when to leave. There is nothing immoral continuing with the PhD as long as possible simply for the money while you apply for jobs or decide what to do. It is easier to move on from your PhD when you still have a monthly stipend.