Signup date: 10 May 2006 at 2:16pm
Last login: 12 Mar 2010 at 5:13pm
Post count: 2932
The question of extension (if there's money available) is a good one, and your supervisors have more experience of seeing the final rush of a PhD! While it might be entirely possible to write in 6 months, it takes an amazing amount of time for supervisors to return drafts and discuss them with you, locating references you need to check, fitting it all on the page correctly, proof reading, getting it all looking good then realising the University regulations mean you have to change all the fonts and referencing style, oh and job hunting, applicatio writing, applying for funding, having students banging on your door asking questions, and having to deal with the things that real people also have to do.
I'm going through this at the moment (into my 4th year), and I set myself tight deadlines that I kept to, but the end of a PhD is really messy. Your supervisors are probably suggesting an extension for these reasons, not because they think you're working too slow. Also if you don't have an extension then you might have to find employment, and trying to finish a PhD under those conditions is very difficult, according to the friend of mine who 'almost finished' his PhD and joined the Civil Service whilst finishing up. He hasn't had the time to open his final drafts in 2 years.
Interestingly, most Research Councils have now moved to 3.5 or 4 year funding.
I suppose its a lot easier if you're both in the same location. Your family will think its great in time, especially at your graduation! After 4 years of explaining my topic my parents kinda understand, luckily its an applied and hot topic, though I'm the only one in my family to go to University so they think that I'll get a better job with a PhD (little do they know...) but my Mum is happy as long as I'm working hard and have enough for beer money. My friends give the odd Doctor joke, but its right that they won't go on about it unless you do!
Chris, yep this time of a PhD is all very up in the air with what you want to do in the future, the (futile) job hunt etc, and even worse if you're both in the same situation. I'm in kinda the same situation, and its not easy. So good luck.
======= Date Modified 07 Jan 2009 09:52:45 =======
Speak to the hand. (up)
I'd like to echo the last post. If you have a good supervisor then I'm sure they'd understand - its in their best interests to help you through this after all. Of course it never just rains, it pours, so a lot of things happen at once, especially on top of the big change that a PhD brings. On top of that, the start of a PhD is a bit wishy-washy, and you either feel lazy or a fraud for the first few months, as you're feeling around the edges until you really understand and get stuck into the topic. So I'd say stick at it for a while longer, but try and get some further support from your supervisor, a tutor or student services if you feel you need it. Chin up! :-)
Yep I felt like I hadn't learnt much (presumably its a Literature Review?) when I was at that stage, just bear in mind that whilst it will probably form a basis for a chapter, you'll reread it and revise it a lot in the next few years, and add newer published literature to it etc. And just you're whole understanding of that subject will change, and you'll need to change the emphasis of the chapter as you figure out where your PhD is going.
Of course some Universities only offer MPhils as taught masters (e.g. Cambridge and Oxford), so its very rare to be awarded an MSc etc. I'm sure the hundreds of masters students who get churned through these places would hope their employers view them a bit better than a failed PhD!
Someone I knew a while ago got kicked off their PhD after 3 years, and went for a job interview unrelated to academia - despite it being on their CV, they didn't ask anything about the PhD, but were interested in skills and interest in the job etc.
Yep, I would discuss the issues you are facing with your supervisors at your University, and presumably you have one in the hospital too? I'm a CASE student, and it can be difficult to bear in mind that I have to fit my work and constant hounding for help with the very real deadlines and pressures that people in commercial/Government organisations have, especially if your contact is high up. My work is not their top priority (though of course, they shouldn't enter into collaboration if they can't dedicate the necessary time and resources to the project).
But its too early to think about giving it up, there are plenty of avenues to explore first!
The environmental field is very broad. For consulting, they often require 2 years experience (I tried for ages in this field before my PhD), and their are specific masters e.g. soil remediation and pollution masters at Sheffield I think, or Environmental Impact Assessment. For consulting and environmental management you do need a lot of practical experience and knowledge of environmental issues, normally from a 1st degree like Environmental Sciences. So Environmental Consultancy isn't really consulting in the traditional business sense.
Perhaps you'd be interested in carbon credits, 'green auditing', that sort of thing? Thats a bit out of my field, but try www.findamasters.com
Remember that you'll be up against people with a related first degree, probably loads of conservation experience etc, so I wonder if you could get some work experience with a company you'd be interested in? In this sort of field you have to show that you're proactive.
Hope that helps, and Happy New Year.
I'm aware I'm moving away from the debate on foreign vs. UK/EU lecturers, but after my job hunt (they're slippery little things, jobs...) I've had an epihany: should we expect a lecturing position straight from PhD? I have applied for numerous positions (mostly outside of the EU because of the apparent job freeze) and I'm from a good institution, 3 years of teaching experience (+100 hours), supervised a couple of undergraduate dissertations, lecturing on Masters courses at two institutions, etc etc, but as everyone else is finding, it still isn't good enough.
So perhaps the people employing us are right - we need a post-doc (I'm talking from the sciences here) or two to get some further experience, then we'll be better rounded researchers and educators. Of course the money is rubbish, its not permanent employment so you can hardly settle your life down, it probably means moving somewhere else for a year or two, and it gets silly when you're still doing post-docs 20 years down the line for 18K a year. There are some RCUK fellowships (which same problem - are ultra-competitive) which are post-doc research with some teaching, and lead to a permanent lecturing position after 3-5 years or something, and these should be encouraged, to stop the brain-drain that has been discussed, and to give some permanency in your life!
I'm just saying, we shouldn't expect too much after a PhD I guess.
OK, ramble over.
Do I remember somebody saying that there were intra-departmental rankings, so you could find out how a particular section of your Department did? Any idea where to find that info?
I don't know how accurate that table in the link is, for example the THES says that Cambridge was ranked 1st overall in 2001, but that link says it was 2nd in 2001. Also, according to THES Oxford had a lower score and more staff submitted, but comes out with a better weighted average? I'm not too hot on statistics, then of course who's to say that THES is right.
I have to agree, that a lot of jobs are asking for substantial teaching (and research) experience, and publications. I've applied for loads (actually mostly overseas, doesn't seem to be much around in the UK at the moment, for my field anyway) and haven't heard from any. And I'd say I have a lot of teaching experience from the last two years, with small group seminars, essay marking, lab and field demonstrating, and lecturing on two Masters courses. But the process of applying is good practice in itself, though time consuming. I don't know your field, but perhaps its more realistic to look for a post-doc with someone respected, and if you can negotiate a bit of teaching then even better.
In your CV I would put the work experience (perhaps call it research experience) first, perhaps a skills section, then the education section.
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