Overview of sisyphus

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How long can a single volume thesis be?

Double spacing after a full stop however is wrong - there's no reason to do it. I also wouldn't be surprised if there weren't regulations around how big text should be. Size 12 might also look a bit big - mine is mostly 11 for that reason, with 1.15 spacing.

Word count however is what things usually go on. How does that look.

Working PT alongside EPSRC funded FT PhD?

I don't get why? I mean if you wanted to make money in the short term, neither a PhD nor admin are ways to do that. In the longer term focussing on the PhD increases your lifetime earnings. Either by graduating sooner, or getting better work out of it, or both.

As has been pointed out, the funding is more than generous enough to live on. Just focus on your PhD, and then get a graduate job if it is money you want.

Supervisor vs University - MSc (Life Sciences)

I would speak to people supervised by both potential supervisors, and see which you like the sound of more. If you are happy you will do your best work, which gives you the best chance in the future

London Metropolitan University online Msc

How much are they charging you? and what do you want to use it for? That university performs terribly in the rankings, almost last in the country every time - I would be sure you know what you are getting in to before paying for it, and be sure that it meets your needs.

Weird Interview, is it common in academia?

In an interview you always test what is the weakest part of someone. Why test the maths skills of someone who has demonstrated amazing mathematical ability - I want to know about their interpersonal skills. Asking people things they know you don't learn anything (so it isn't necessarily weird)

pm133 has a great point though, PhDs are brutal. Everyone thinks about quitting at some point, and thinks they can't finish. And that;s with starting in a great place and all the advantages in the world. You need all the confidence and experience in the world before you even think about starting!

3 months into my PhD and I'm already thinking about quitting. Am I screwed?


You've laid out a lot of reasons why you don't want to be there, and I can't see anything there that is positive. You are also totally right that you are early enough in it is fine.

However I would give some serious thought to your next step first, and even then start applying for it (presumably a job?) whilst you have funding and don't have to worry about rent etc (assuming you have funding).

At the very least sit down with a piece of paper divided in two, and think about what happens with quit and not quit, and see which side you are happier with. It doesn't sound like your heard is in the PhD however, and it is a long and hard process, so if you are not sure now, how will you be 3 years in when it is very tough and the initial excitement is long gone?

It also isn't a failing to quit something - you are opening yourself up to new opportunities, and saying yes to them

Highly relevant is the feakonomics link. Anyway good luck, and let us know what yu do!

A more interesting PhD has come along

This is easy. Talk to your supervisor and ask if it would be possible to transfer.

Yep, This

will bad data / methodological issues fail my thesis?

Speaking from the viewpoint of a statistician...

You should not go back and retrospectively change your aims. To do so is misleading, and if it comes up in the Viva and you have a good examiner should mean major corrections as a minimum since you have been fiddling, showing a lack of understanding of the scientific method (and statistics). Your study was powered to detect an effect, which you did not find. Maybe the effect just didn't show due to chance, or maybe it isn't there, these are your type I and type II errors - make sure you understand both and can comment on them.

You can however then discuss the interesting finding you did have, the interpretation of this, and that it is 'statistically significant' (a term with weak meaning, and which you should only deploy if you know what it means). Suggest also what further research might happen to test this effect more.

What you have done is essential data mining - digging through the data for interesting findings. This is legitimate for forming hypotheses, but is different to testing that hypothesis, which is why you set up your study a priori.

Statistic Help

Median and interquartile range I suppose I could live with, but ultimately I do want some idea of the spread of the data. Maybe even as far as histograms.

Whilst it might be subjective, if 60% choose option 1 but 40% choose option 6, this needs to be reflected in the reporting (granted the mean here would also give something 'off', since it would report an answer nobody would report).

What is or is not intellectual property theft?

In science it is also known to happen that people make the same discoveries at pretty much the same time, so not necessarily suspicious. Ask an American, a Brit and someone from Japan who invented TV, and you will get three answers.

You may also wish to read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. Very insightful on this type of thing! Also something you may well need to mention and understand in a viva one day.

Does the ranking of your university matter for doing a PhD?

As an employer, if your degree is not from a top tier university (Russell Group), then like it or not you are at a disadvantage to other candidates.

Universities do select the best candidates they can, so have done much of the sorting. Also whether the education is better or not (it probably is), things are graded to the norms of the institution. A more high level intake will probably result in a better output.

Put it another way; would you preferentially hire people from a lower ranked university? This answers the question for you.

Support network for part time PhD

I am doing mine part time, at an institution that is really good but a 300 mile round trip. There isn't much support, and it is up to me to be self sufficient.

Advantages for me are I work in the field (and have done for 10 years), and where I live have a social network (wife, friends) in the area where I live.

That said, I don't do a lot of the standard PhD student things, and have little contact with the others. I've only ever been to 2 buildings from the institution I am at, and have never met 8)% of people in the department.

I'm enjoying it, and making good progress, so it shows it is possible, that said I think you are doing the right thing by going in with eyes open, and considering it carefully.

Restarting PhD after a very (very) long break

I'd agree with the connected part. Think Brian May as an example of someone with a long break!

If you have all your experiments complete, and it is writing up, and you also have a reasonably successful career behind you which you can point to as things you learnt (not necessarily directly) on your PhD, then maybe make contact with someone in the department, and have a meeting with them? Is anyone left? Or ay of your former peers now in the department and could supervise you?

If you have to do more experiments, it makes it a bit harder, but may still be possible.

Finally whilst there is probably way, ask yourself why you want to do it, and make sure you are goign in to it eyes open - do you need the stress? Is the PhD essential?

Statistic Help

Both the mean and median have their flaws. Anyway in a table I would expect to see mean, 95% confidence interval, median, and range.

Part time phd

I'm about half way through mine now. Statistics - with quite a lot of code in R, so probably very similar. Work give me 2 days, though I have to use 1 of them to stay current with actual work. I also devote 1 evening when my wife is at a social club and baby is asleep.

I could do it in 4, but that'd be neglecting life in general. 5-6 sounds reasonable provided I keep working at it (and shouldn't entail too much sacrifice). Although you have less time to work, you do find yourself thinking about it a lot, and things like conference deadlines 3 months before, whilst 3 months of a full time PhD, are only a couple of PhD weeks for you, so it can work to your advantage (less time kicking your heels).