Apply for a new program after supervisor's resignation

02-Oct-17, 12:15
edited about 2 minutes later
by lheure
Avatar for lheure
posted about 2 weeks ago
I'm starting my 3rd year in a PhD program, but my supervisor just resigned and left without telling me. There is no other professors doing similar research, so I must change my research direction. I have decided to apply for a new PhD program in a new major that I like. The department allows to to get a master's degree.
Would it be a problem if I do not have the reference letter from my resigned supervisor? I do not think it would be supportive, he rarely reply my emails even when he was around. My supervisor has influenced my mental health so badly. I did everything he asked, but he was ignoring me even when I said I am confused and want to talk with him. I am left here struggling, he arranged nothing for me.

I could find other professors in my department or other department to write the letters instead. Is this okay?

Thanks so much!
12-Oct-17, 14:48
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 5 days ago
That will be fine, people will understand given the situation
13-Oct-17, 23:44
Avatar for puccagrannie
posted about 4 days ago

What is your subject and department are you? do u mind to tell which university is it? I will advise people totally avoid these type of irresponsible university. I had the same problem about few years ago. My phd supervisor is the same as my master graduate supervisor. He used to be the ex-dean of the department and write some academic books as well. He is a good old patient supervisor. However, he only supervised my phd thesis for two years himself but without telling me or register me in the uni degree programme offically.(I'm not aware about it). I even had e-mail correspondent evidence about phd meeting. Then during my second year I have a baby but still go to see him after give birth. I'm not aware he resign at the same year. Then i was writing my thesis. The later month of the year, the department secretary told me he resign but i need to re-apply the programme myself, and i need to find another supervisor with similar topic. I've left in tears and mental break down feel jobless again when hoping to be a lecture with a new family. This type of university supervisors should feel shame about themselves. I feel the phd student take legal and employment action for phd supervisor sudden leaving without any responsibility. This is higher education unethical and immoral ground. Totally ruin Phd or Post doc student future career and their lives. Totally irresponsible and should have some legal and academic and financial issue compensation if the university cannot replace another supervisors. Not sure the UCU might help.
16-Oct-17, 05:18
edited about 21 seconds later
by lheure
Avatar for lheure
posted about 2 days ago
Hi puccagrannie,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I am sorry to hear this horrible thing happened to you. My case is a bit different, it is not the university's problem, it is mostly the problem of the supervisor. The department and university did not know his plan, in fact they helped me to find a solution. I am also advising students to avoid this supervisor.

I know such experience is unpleasant and painful, but what does not kill us makes us stronger. Let us keep pursuing our dream, do not give up simply because this obstacle. I have been in pain for so long, and now I decided to face it head on, I tell myself this is temporary, I still have a future, this is not the end of the world. I guess we learned it the hard way, but do not let this haunt us forever, it is just not worth it. We could do something along the way, and become great supervisors when we find a job.

Best of luck with your future endeavors!
16-Oct-17, 05:19
by lheure
Avatar for lheure
posted about 2 days ago
Hi TreeofLife, thank you so much for your input!


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