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still haven't found a postdoc position, feeling disheartened
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Hi sciencephd,

Have you had a serious conversation with your supervisor about your career or postdocs? I have a few friends who have gained postdocs with zero publications (including no co-author publications) based of their supervisor's recommendations. I know it sounds unfair but you can mitigate the publication issue with your supervisor's help. I don't know what your relationship with them is like, but simply asking your supervisor their advice/recommendations, so that they feel involved might be helpful. My second supervisor explained it to me once as; she didn't need someone who could publish as she could help with that, but rather needed someone to independently do the experiments, which you can't find out without a reference.

PhD rejection change mind
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Hi kavourakos,

Honestly, if I was the PI, I wouldn't hold it against you. You dropped out initially in a professional and respectful manner for a legitimate reason. As long as you can explain why that reason won't cause you to drop out again, I don't think it will cause any issues at all. The PI is a person too and should understand life isn't perfect.


What happens to funding if finish phd earlier?
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Congratulation's on finishing early, that is an achievement!
You would need to ask your department for the universities individual policy.
I know at my university when you submit all future bursary payments, however they don't ask for any money back if you submit 1 day after the processing deadline. As my university deems the end of the PhD is when you submit your thesis and not after the viva. I know it doesn't make sense as I wanted to submit early but it would have just made me unemployed faster :) So I would check with your department.

Changes in experimental design right before Ι proceed to collect participants
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Quote From Kassiopi:
I have designed a specific experimental design for which my supervisor agreed.

So your supervisor didn't notice the flaw either and agreed with your original plan? It is better to fix a flaw early that have to explain it later or worse repeat the data collection. If it is a real flaw your supervisor will be relieved and impressed you found it now and not after the data collection. It is easy to overlook thing so don't worry, just be happy you found it

Thesis Abbreviations
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Thanks everyone for your advice, it is reassuring. I think I am just going to treat each chapter separately but with no contradicting abbreviations. So I can keep the results chapters with abbreviations.

Typical pages for a Computer Science PhD Thesis?
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My department has a 50,000 word limit excluding references, tables etc. However, unofficially know one checks unless it is massively over. So I would just submit it and hope people ignore it.

Paying tax whilst using a stipend
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A PhD bursary is tax free and doesn't count towards your personal allowance, so shouldn't affect your job. I have been told that it can sometimes affect your benefits through universal credit but not HMRC. Though if you are getting a full bursary will you be allowed to work 0.8 FTE? My bursary expressly stated that I was limited to 20 hours work a week outside work and I think it is UK Research Council rule.

Advice please: PhD by Publication through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership
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Hi J202,

I don't think there is any stigma attached to either KTPs or thesis by publication, the latter is sometimes held in higher regard. Usually a thesis by publication requires at least 3 publications but I think it depends on the length of the publications as well as the overall contribution. You might be held up by journal delay but you can submit papers during your PhD so you have most of them in print by the time of write up. If not, you can say that the paper is "under review in X journal" or "prepared for publication in X journal. Also a standard thesis by-publication normally requires less write-up as you only need introduction and conclusion chapters and maybe a chapter linking them. I tried changing to PhD by publication but wasn't allowed but nearly of all of my results chapters are copied and pasted from published papers but with some additional data to strengthen on point as well as a massive literature review. I would just be concerned about the data restrictions the company might want as I know some people who couldn't publish anything because the company was overly sensitive.

Thesis Abbreviations
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Hello everyone,

Is it okay if I start using abbreviations half way though my thesis?
My supervisor is unsure as well, and I have realised that my results chapters abuse abbreviations while the intro, lit review and methodology have virtually none. I have clearly introduced all the abbreviations and once introduced they have been used consistently. Though do you think that is appropriate or is it an all or nothing thing?

Any advice is welcome

shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?
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Hi designphd,

Woaw that sounds tough! I completely understand your shock at the result, especially when you have future research roles lined up. Previous posts on this forum by faded and behappy successfully appealed their vivas and they could help you figure it out. You should probably talk with your students union for more specific advice about your appeals. I have heard of people changing their examiners but it depends on the university. Normally your supervisor recommends them and you might be able to challenge how they were selected. Also, having two externals is rough as that is usually reserved for members of staff. Getting more appropriate examiners does sound feasible in your situation but I would wait for the R&R before deciding.

Quote From designphd:
I have several publications and some either in review or in preparation for journal papers, for which I worked so hard (my 1st main supervisor told me not to publish).

In my opinion your supervisors' advice is outdated. Publications strengthen your thesis as you can claim both a contribution to your field and that it has been peer-reviewed. It is far harder for an examiner to criticise your entire approach if a respected journal has published it as it looks bad on them. If you can get parts of your thesis published it would make appeals or complaints easier.

Applying for a PhD programe
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Hi sew,

Sorry about the delay.
If the PhD explicitly suggest contacting the supervisor it is usually better to contact them than not. Contacting the supervisor beforehand helps you not only find out more about the PhD role but lets the supervisor get to know you before the interview.
An informal enquire would politely state that you are interested in the PhD role, explain your experience/degree and show some general enthusiasm for the project.


Pre-Interview Requests for UNPUBLISHED work - normal?
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Asking for examples of your work is normal. I had a friend who was asked for his pre-viva thesis for a postdoc role even though he published part of it.

Quote From DrHopeIsOutThere:
Moreover, I feel reflecting on my previous post that the reason why questions are geared towards, 'How would you approach/design said 'fieldwork example' is because its also a fishing exercise to get ideas on how to actually approach their study. I found it very strange the wording around the topic was very vague and unclear about the analytical angles of the chosen topic of study.

Yes and no. "How would you approach problem X" is a generic question across all interviews. Just talk through the problem and explain why you would do certain things. Even if means discussing rubbish ideas so that you can say why you think they are rubbish. Any PI worth their salt woul have a methodology plan already but would be open to better ideas. So it is probably more an interview question than a deliberate fishing exercise.

PostDoc Interview Baiting
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I am in a similar position (submit in January) and starting to apply for postdocs myself. My plan is to email the PIs of the postdoc roles directly and ask for more information/would I be suitable. Some PIs will respond and will take you more seriously because of it.

Quote From DrHopeIsOutThere:
Also feel familar connections with PIs play a big role in successful applications.

That is very true. Though from listening to PIs if they heavily advertise a role it is more likely than not to be an open position. If they already have someone in mind they don't advertise the position as much (i.e.. only on their HR website) because they are only doing it for HR reasons.

career advice_how to address an academic gap and is a second MSc the solution?
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An Msc sounds perfect for you.
Admissions departments usually consider mature students on a case-by-case basis and can be quite understanding. There are plenty of Msc & PhD students who have taken long breaks between qualifications. Just say what you did and how it will help you finish your course. You obviously have a different skill set than a naïve graduate and some departments like that. Also, at my university full-time mature students have the some the highest completion averages.

PS: I am talking from a UK perspective

Help! First months of study and really confused
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When is the deadline for 10,000 words? Explicitly asking for 10,000 words is a bit extreme but doing a long literature review in your first 6 months is not unreasonable. Acquainting yourself with the literature now will build a good foundation for the rest of your PhD. If you are worried about the writing, don't put yourself under too much pressure, none of it will be thesis quality and your supervisors will not expect that of you. Just having something written of any quality is good long term as the earlier you start improving your writing the better. To make it less daunting phrase it to your supervisors and yourself as a literature review/introduction and ignore the word recommendation. Once you start writing you might find it easier than you think.