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shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?
T

Dear designphd,

I am so sorry for your shock and horrible experience.

PhD examination especially with external examiners can sometimes result in horrible outcomes, as you have experienced. Sometimes, it could even be due to something unrelated to you, such as your supervisor and said examiners having a disagreement and someone is being petty. Or your point of view in the thesis is opposite to their theory and work, hence they are motivated to give you a really hard time.

First of, strategise.
1) Chat to your chairperson of examination (if you have such a position), postgrad coordinator and student union. The more people you talk to to seek advice, the better. You want people to know your case so that if things go horribly wrong, no one can sweep this under the carpet
2) Ideally you would have identified the issue that none of the examiners were in your area and corrected this before your submission. However, now that they have been finalised, wait for your r&r result guide. If the r&r result guide is unclear, make sure you request for further details.
3) I do not know if you can change your examiners at this point. You could explore. If you can add rather than change completely, you could explore that too. Bear in mind that research is such a small field where collaboration is vital and it is possible that this third examiner would not publicly contradict what two previous examiners have agreed upon.
4) Can you quickly get those manuscripts published? that will help your case significantly

PostDoc Interview Baiting
T

Quote From DrHopeIsOutThere:

I'm considering reaching out to industry based teams to get some 'other' experience. Possibly R&D, analytics work but they usually require quantitative experience.


If you are intending to jump into industry, you are at the best time. Fresh PhD graduates are always welcomed and have an easier transition from research academia to industry. Postdocs who have been in academia for a few years do face some hurdles to transition, although not impossible.

Perhaps have a think what your options are. Have you checked out the following?
- Highest Paying Jobs for Political Science Majors
https://www.geteducated.com/careers/jobs-for-political-science-majors/

- Political Science Careers
https://www.bestcolleges.com/careers/humanities-and-social-sciences/political-science/

It seems like half of those in your field go into government. https://data.bls.gov/projections/nationalMatrix?queryParams=19-3094&ioType=o

Perhaps you can even consider a short internship as an entry into industry or government.

I wish you good luck!

Help! First months of study and really confused
T

You started in October and it's now December and you only had 2 meetings with your supervisor??? I would have expected your supervisor to guide you more than that, especially at the start. Are there any other students who are further along that you can talk to? Is there a reference introduction that you can look at to guide your writing structure?

One thing I am more concerned about than your PhD is your health. You are working while doing your PhD and had been ill. That's a lot. A leave of absence sounds like a good thing to do to ensure you are healthy again. Check with your PhD coordinator to address your concerns on student loan. You can always come back when you feel better. Health comes first

Pregnant and contemplating 🤔
T

Given that you have concerns on burnout and finance on top of having a wonderful new baby on the way, it would be wise to pause for now. You can always do your PhD later. Just make sure you continue keeping in touch with your supervisor.

career advice_how to address an academic gap and is a second MSc the solution?
T

I suggest a different approach to your application.

Since you are a mature student with work experience, you could use that to your advantage. Can you ask your work to sponsor your study? I have known friends who were sponsored PhD by work. Have you tried speaking to your work supervisor about this?

It is true that a more recent master may help you update your knowledge. However, it will not solve the issue of potential ageism, if that's what you are worried about. I would suggest that you look for the supervisor first, have a chat, and if the supervisor is keen to take you on, do the master and then PhD under him/her. What you don't want is to spend money doing your master and still not get that PhD in the end. So work backwards with the end goal in mind. And if you want to do a PhD, always go for MRes instead of MSc.

Lastly, have you thought about the real reason that you are wanting to do a PhD? If you want a career in academia, know that there is very little job security and even lower prospect of tenure. Do you now have the financial security to allow you to do this now that your child is in university? If you want this PhD just to switch career, know that you don't need another piece of qualification just to do this. I would suggest networking for the right opportunity. I am not wanting to discourage you, rather I would like you to think deeply and make the best decision that is right for you.

PostDoc Interview Baiting
T

Quite a lot of first postdoc position is obtained via recommendation from the PhD supervisor. Ie PhD supervisor asked their friend to take in their student. Could you try asking you supervisor for help?

Here is my personal thought though. Your area is in humanities. It is quite a challenging field to get grant funding, and even harder to get tenure. Would you consider going into industry for a more secure and better paid job?


You can read up about the challengies for humanities graduate here:
Humanities PhD Graduates: Desperately Seeking Careers?
https://journals.sfu.ca/cjhe/index.php/cjhe/article/download/188157/pdf/

Should I do a second masters and then a phd?
T

Hi, shynightmareland,

You stated that one of the benefits of doing a master is the possibility of not going ahead with a PhD if you change your mind at that stage. This tells me that actually you have not really made up your mind about the PhD yet.

I have a series of question about what you want to do with your career life.

1) Why do you want to do academics and research?
For pursue of knowledge and passion?

2) Does career instability bother you?
Academics spend a lot of time writing grants to get research funding to pay for their salary and research costs year after year. And there is an average 10% grant success rate. Permanent tenure is currently 1 in 200 chance. Are you ok with this?

3) What field are you most passionate about? Does it matter if it is not a hot area and less likely to be funded?
Data science, your current field, is highly in demand. If you play your cards right, you should be able to secure a high-paying job with good career trajectory in industry in the future.

I can't say the same about cognitive sciences. You will have to check the rate of grant success in this field compared to hotter areas such as drug development. Do you know of people who excel professionally in cognitive sciences? Perhaps you can ask for their most honest answer about the job prospect in this field.

If your passion triumphs career prospect, then please ignore this comment. To each their own life and decision.

4) Life in academia
Gone are the days where researchers can independently study on whatever they want. These days they are all tied to which areas will be funded. There is a very strong system of hierarchy and politics are strong as you need to collaborate with the strong researchers to get funding. A fact of life in academia due to the publish or perish culture. Are you ok with this?

Do have a think about all these considerations before you decide what is best for your life and career. I wish you all the best. Regarding your original question on whether to do a master or a PhD first, I would say choose the supervisor first. If your supervisor s happy for you to go straight to PhD without a master and is willing to fund you, you have your answer. If not, maybe master first. Try to not go into debt over your master/PhD study as there is no guarantee of a job after that anyway.

Appeal after PhD viva
T

Hi, phdcandidate,

You should read up the posts by faded07. He/She overcame failed PhD after R&R due to dreadful external examiner and earned his/her PhD after a hard fight.

Ridiculously Overqualified?
T

Hmmm. I see his long list of qualifications as a massive red flag of someone who truly doesn’t know what he wants to do his life and career. Looks very confused and short attention span. There is no point in taking multiple masters etc. So much time and money wasted on additional qualifications that do not bring additional value to his career. If I were an employer, I would not hire this person as he clearly cannot plan nor strategise in his career decisions. I do not want this person anywhere near my project where I need good planning skills and long term dedication and perseverance on specific goals

Feeling numb and hopeless
T

Hi, jw5,

Perhaps you may wish to take a break from your PhD? Maybe ask for a suspension of your PhD and see a therapist to treat your depression. The pandemic itself is horrible, let alone doing your PhD and recovering from your depression during this period. It sounds like it is all too much for you to cope at the same time.

Take your break, receive treatment and think about what you want to do. You can go back to your Phd, or quit. But at least you will make your decision with a much clearer mind then than you will now.

PhD viva in two days, can't sleep.
T

Hi trevalda,

It is not uncommon to be stressed before your important viva.

Can you do light meditation, exercise, talk to family/friend or quickly get hold of a counsellor if it gets really bad?

Imposter syndrome or am I just...not cut out for this?
T

With good supportive supervisors and your previous masters and undergraduate training, I do think that you have a chance of completing your PhD.

I am more concerned with your ADHD. You will need to see someone about it ASAP because untreated it will get worse. A PhD is very draining emotionally and mentally as it is and it may worsen your ADHD which may lead to a horrible PhD experience for you.

My suggestion is apply for the PhD if it is truly what you are after, but get treated for your condition. Your health is far more important than any PhD. And if it helps, apply but delay start date until after your ADHD and mental health has improved.

2nd Master to get into a PhD
T

Hi, mmv92,

I am trying to understand the purpose of you doing a masters to improve your curriculum. Do you mean that you are trying to build expertise in the future PhD field or are you trying to get better results or publications to apply for the PhD because your previous one wasn't good enough?

Usually, there is not much additional value in doing a second masters. Your future supervisor may actually ask why you do this. Marie Curie is very very competitive. Can you get your masters supervisor to introduce you to a potential Marie Curie PhD supervisor and give you a pretty [email protected] good reference? Can you generate more research papers out of your masters degree or be a co-author in your supervisor's new papers? These would actually be more helpful to you than a second masters degree.

confused due to advisor behaviour
T

Hi, chinnu,

Clearly there is favourism at work, and sorry you are not the favoured one.

I am sorry to hear of your suffering.

To try and salvage things, I suggest
1) Record every single thing over the last 4 years - emails, verbal communications, event/incidence in to a book. Make it as detail as possible. Save all your research data into your own folder.
2) When you have collected your evidence, go and find your postgrad coordinator who oversees PhD students
3) Do not mention the book
4) Explain to him/her about your situation - publication, stipend, etc
5) Ask him/her to interfere and mediate a plan with timeline to publications and graduation
6) At the same time, go talk to student union if you have one
7) The book is only for last resort when your supervisor retaliates and tries to pin the blame on you being a poor student. So make sure that you detail every damn thing and collect your evidence now quietly. Once they know that you are collecting evidence, they may within 24h cut your emails and access to any uni folder

Alternative:
If you have had enough, would you consider
1) Completing with a MPhil and get out? Get a corporate job and leave the world of academia behind.
2) Get a PhD with a much better supervisor

Loss of direction and ask for advise
T

Hi, jw5,

Sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time.

I do think that what your psychologist suggested is actually good. Part time would allow you to more time to recover and get well. You can always go back to full time later.

I would also like to suggest a 4th option. Have you ever thought that maybe a Master and a Phd are not right for you? Not everyone has to go down the academic path and to be fair, it's not all that wonderful either down the other end - the perpetual need to justify your research, being torn apart during presentations, applying for grants with low level of success, worrying about if you will still have a job the following year... I don't know if you want to cope with all that.

If you desire for a academic job to pursue your passion, then yes, a Master and a PhD will be absolutely essential. If you do not, then really, perhaps focus on recovering and then get a company role and work your way up. Experience is more important than qualification in companies. You can always get a Master or Phd later on in life if you change your mind.