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Is it usual to for viva corrections to set out a completely different set of research questions ?
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Hi Interdis,

Congragulations on passing! A pass is a pass regardless of the corrections and you can now call yourself Dr Interdis.

I always thought that examiners could ask for virtually anything and to whatever extent they want. Major restructures, massive rewrites and new data analysis are all normal. The exception is usally new data collection at which point it should be a revise and resubmit. So passing you with requests to rewrite the reserach problem for clairty is prefectly acceptable.

I might be wrong but it sounds to me that your introduction and methodology is difficult to follow for someone outside your exact sub-field. I did multi-displinary reserach and always had issues having to explain over and over again in different ways to different audiences. Unfortunately you chose someone outside your exact field as an examiner and so you have to tailor your thesis for them. If they didn't get your reserach approach, it is your resposnibility to explain it properly. So, I wouldn't fundamentally change anything but just rephrase stuff to be more accessible.

Prospective supervisor removing name from first-author in grant proposal
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Quote From lucedan:
I accepted, and even reduced my own salary by 20% to help that student, allowing my prospective supervisor to act as the principal investigator. Three days before submitting, without my consent, my prospective supervisor put his name as first-author of the proposal (in the version "Final 3" of the document).

Not to be rude but isn't the PI supposed to be first author on any grant? All the grants I have seen have had the PI as first author regardless of whether the PI has written it. There is no plagarism since you gave him PI status and therefore it is kinda of his project now. You might feel cheated but unless you explicitly agreed that you were still first authour I don't think there is anything wrong with him following academic standards. I might be wrong here but if you want to be first authour you need to be PI.

Disappointment during my phd studies!
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Hi Kas,

Sorry about not responding earlier.

If you feel overwhelmed and frustrated, take a holiday away from your PhD. Burnout is incredibly common among PhD students and it so easy to get sucked into the moment that you lose sight of the bigger picture. After a break you might see things differently and feel better more generally.

Do you think the new methodology is better? Do you think the second supervisor will help support you conduct the the new methodology better? Your methodology should change through the PhD as you learn more about the subject and no-one gets it perfectly right the first time. It is okay to lose a years work, I had no results in my first year because of shoddy methodologies (engineering) and if you make the right decision now you still have plenty of time to complete on schedule. I understand your second supervisor isn't explaining why you should do what they want, but what do you think is better? It is your PhD and you should be able to make the choice but ultimately it is your responsibility.

Also, I wouldn't say that they aren't being supportive but that you feel you want need more help with certain areas. Supervisors assume everything is fine unless you explicitly tell them. It isn't wrong to say that you want more help with your writing, or drafting your methodology or how to analyse the data. They will probably be more than happy to help. With regards to feedback with writing, my supervisor was similar in that her feedback was incredibly vague and superficial. Originally I asked more help, which didn't work but I found asking for them to go through a single section usually got results. Building your working relationship with your supervisors can be difficult but trying different approaches and having small targets can sometimes work.

PhD reserve lists
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At first reserve for a big program PhD should result in an offer. I know first reserve on a research council PhD funding is nearly guaranteed to be successful. There will always be a few students who get multiple offers or decide against a PhD after applying. Students usually get up to a month to decide but someone could drop out in 2 weeks before it starts.

Fingers crossed!

How long to wait for an interview
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I wouldn't worry about it until at least 2-3 weeks have passed. As the hiring process can be very slow sometimes due to bureaucracy.
After about a month from applying, you can email the admin team and ask for an update. Usually they are responsive and will tell you if there are delays or what is happening. I don't think there is anything you can do until then.


Guidance/Advice about Postdoc
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Hi mjhr_87,

[ Insert William Dafoe spiderman meme]
I am something of a biogas scientist myself :)

I agree with Cat123, start looking in your final year, as most positions require you start within 3-4 months of applying. It is a bit awkward applying for postdocs and writing your thesis at the same time but most funding sources don't allow long delays over a few months. If you want to improve your chances of getting a postdoc I would focus on broadening your skills, networking at conferences and publications.

Need advice about appeal procedures against the results of the university examination
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Quote From Withhope:
The external examiner asked about several new issues that were accepted in the first exam. Would this be the case for procedural irregularity? Sorry. I am new to the appeal and am searching for the information. If this is the case, I will add this point to the appeal form.

I am not a lawyer or an expert in your university regulations, but it depends on your university policy and it might come under your university's feedback/grading rules. I would argue that the first set of corrections were incorrect, did not adequately prepare you and that the issues should have been expressed at the first viva. As you met the original corrections, they effectively changed the assessment method mid-way through the process with no chance to correct it. That should break some university policy somewhere. However, I have never went through the process and I might be completely wrong.

Also, I would consider contacting the office for students if all else fails.

Need advice about appeal procedures against the results of the university examination
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Hi Withhope,

That sounds grim and I feel for you. It must be soul crushing.

I agree with the advice of everyone else. Though I would focus on the procedural issues rather than the examiners are in inherently biased, as it is far less subjective.

Can I ask why did you need a second viva with major corrections? In the UK I thought second vivas were only for Revise and Resubmit and it seems weird that your external requested it. Also if the examiners were the same, they shouldn't be able to complain about areas that they previously thought were acceptable. Major corrections is a pass and it should be implied that anything not covered by corrections is of sufficient standard. Reassessing work that wasn't included in the corrections should be outside of their remit during corrections/second viva. In my opinion the examiners didn't follow the rules but proving that will be difficult.


Advice needed: External Funding for a UK PhD (Cambridge University)
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Can you delay your PhD start data so you can apply for internal funding? Internal funding is a lot easier to get that external funding. Or even better apply for an already funded PhD. I am not joking in that external funding is very competitive.

The best starting point is asking your prospective supervisor. Ask if they know any PhD awards or where they apply for funding in general. Unfortunately there are no central databases of available funding but you could try Marie-Curie or the large bioscience funds, Wellcome trust etc.

I wish I could be more help and goodluck.

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.