7 Year PhD Approaching Failure

14-Apr-19, 14:19
by repeats
Avatar for repeats
posted about 2 months ago
I am a math PhD student in a 5 year program nearing the end of year 7 without any prospects for graduating. I would describe my research as a very late bloom, starting at year 4 doing anything even remotely serious (I am mostly to blame for this). No topics in math were of interest to me until I found machine learning (both the math and engineering side).

I have opted for the "X published papers" route for my thesis as my advisor would never push me down any one direction and I couldn't rely myself to create a single project that could eventually become a thesis. I am about 4 months out before I am suppose to be completely done and I have a single first author publication to my name. A second paper is still in the "coding stage"of development. The prospects of completing this paper seem like an impossible task in 4 months, yet alone getting it accepted into a journal/conference and completing a thesis I haven't started on top of it.

While my advisor has always been financially supportive, I would say he is one of those "hands off" mentors that has no idea what to do with me. I came up my research topics from beginning to end with little guidance (project research, coding, debugging, data, modeling... the works). It has been a labyrinth of despair, and am I at that point with paper two. My advisor isn't versed in most of what I do, so he has very little to offer even if he wanted to help...

As it stands, I was put on probation for failing to graduate at the 6 year mark. I am 99% certain I will be cut off from any funding going into the summer and I would say I am at 50% risk of straight up being dismissed as a student. The good thing is I don't have any inclination to stay in academia, so becoming ABD isn't an end of the world scenario.

Anyone else out there in a bind?


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