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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.

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?

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.