Overview of tru

Recent Posts

RnR Correction Phase

Dear Starsister87,

Why is your supervisor insisting that the RnR will take 12 months to address? If it is something that can be done sooner, you are right in pushing for an earlier submission. But is it a doable time frame?

You have made right decision in returning to your stable industry job. A PhD qualification is not a guarantee of future job prospect. I know of so many PhD graduates who remain jobless and some had to settle for a position of research assistant which does not even require a PhD. Many postdocs I know want to leave the broken academia system.

It has been a very heavy sacrifice on you to had to sacrifice your relationships for this PhD. I completely understand your needs to want a stable future, financial stability and get on with your personal life and family at your age.

I suggest that you be frank about wanting to complete in X months and reasons why to your supervisor. They may disagree and not support your re-submission. Depending on your uni policy, you may or may not be able to resubmit without their approval. So check. Another matter is can you resubmit without any input from them? If yes, go ahead. It is not easy to resubmit without approval from supervisors and have a chance of being knocked back and downgraded to Master, but it is not impossible. Do you have a postdoc who is willing to be your pseudo supervisor if your supervisor refuses to help you?

Your position is difficult. i hope that your supervisor will come around after you explain your needs to them. If they don't, you will have to submit on your own.

I was threatened by my supervisor for termination

Hi, Zeryan, I would suggest that you wait until your two other papers are published. How much longer do you have to wait? Lay low and do not show any signal that you want to go. Regarding recommendations, I will not be asking the awful one for it. If your other supervisor is nice and trustworthy, you can ask him for recommendations as long as he doesn't tell the awful one. What you don't want is for your awful supervisor knowing where you are gong and sabotaging you. Alternatively, you can ask a postdoc or senior research fellow who knows your work to be your referee instead of supervisors.

Hi, Chinnu, what motivates your supervisor to behave in this manner? Jealousy? Wanting to give the PhD project and your data to another favourite student or other researcher? Wanting to be the first author of your papers? You have put in 4 years of work so you do have a lot of data. I hope that you are saving your work in an external hard drive because if they are as toxic as you say, they may 1) stop your access to group drive where you store your data and 2) terminate you and use your saved data to publish without you. How much longer do you have before you can wrap up this PhD? Do you have a postdoc or senior research fellow who knows your work to be your referee instead of supervisors in future?

Hi, dotdottung. If you are an experienced research assistant, have you thought about working in a company instead of academia? Companies do prefer experienced researcher and it's easier to transition at research assistant level.

Hi, Walter_Opera. Sorry to hear that your situation is so awful. However, it isn't a competition of whose case is worse. I can hear your frustration at work as a fully funded postdoc doing these menial, inappropriate tasks. However, if you are fully funded, is it possible to move to another lab and take your grant with you? Have you explored that? Additionally, have you ever stood up for yourself and said no to your supervisor? I would suggest that you document all these "requests" with details on date, time, venue, sequence of events etc and even emails as evidence and lodge a complain with HR.

I was threatened by my supervisor for termination

Hi, zeryan

The decision is ultimately yours, but a few things to consider:

1) If you push on, do you think he will change for the better and let you pass you PhD? What you don't want is for him to fail you at the last step and give all your PhD data to another person eg his wife
2) Will this supervisor write a good reference letter for you for your future work and graduate route visa? You will need an outstanding letter for both and if he can't, you will be in trouble.
3) Are you first authors in your research papers? Or will he swap you with someone else? My friend lost all her PhD papers to her co-supervisor who insisted on becoming first author because he wanted to progress his career. My friend was an international student and the graduate school sided her co-supervisor.

There is quite an imbalance of power in a PhD study. My suggestion is that considering the amount of power that a supervisor has over your future and you only get to do a PhD once, choose a good one. You will need reference letter and also collaborate in future.

There are three potential route if you want to quit this PhD

(A) Downgrade to Master
If you have two research papers published already, then you could graduate with a Master. If it's still at manuscript, then it's a bit precarious and you may want to wait until you got them published before you downgrade to Master. Then you are free to find a new PhD supervisor

(B) Change supervisor
If you don't think you will get any support, then maybe consider quickly switching to another lab. Speak to students of the lab you are interested in to know the real personality of the supervisor and if they are a good fit. Talk to your postgrad coordinator or graduate school in confidence and read the process on your uni website. DO NOT warn your supervisor you want to change. If your new supervisor is happy to receive you, initiate the PhD change. For now, save all your data into your external hard drive and not your uni or group folder.

(C) Just quit
Quitting immediately may be an option if your mental is so severely impacted. You will have to explain the gap of 18 months to future PhD supervisor or employer but that will be better than the 3 years gap if your supervisor fails your PhD. Given it has been Covid for the last two years, you actually can use that as an excuse for inactivity for the 18 months if you do decide to just quit. If you quit, NEVER mention your supervisor in any resume or to anyone in future.

It's challenging, particularly if you are an international student. All the best.

still haven't found a postdoc position, feeling disheartened

Have you checked out an online resource called Friends of Sarah?


Need advice about appeal procedures against the results of the university examination

There’s an online resource for women called Friends of Sarah.


Need advice about appeal procedures against the results of the university examination

Quote From Withhope:
Thank you for sharing your experience Tru. It is really helpful. I can learn a lot from your case. You are really lucky to win the case and I hope I will be lucky too. Do you have any ideas about which factors caused people to fail or win the appeal? If you have any interesting cases, please kindly advise, I want to study.

Excellent record-keeping as proof of bias and irregularity, a lawyer from student union and a supporting academic researcher despite most people closing ranks were the success factors to my case. I honestly don't think you will be a able to study cases of student challenging their supervisor. No one wants to talk about it in detail because it is a very painful experience. I still cannot open my thesis after all my experience. I just feel sick in the stomach. My fight took many many months. The most you can do now is probably scan through old posts in this forum to read what happened to others.

Sounds like you have major irregularity in your PhD process which you can use to argue. Maybe get a lawyer who specialises in student cases. If you do decide to fight, you'll be in for a long hard road. And if you win, you will never get the supervisor's reference letter ever for future job so ask someone else instead.

Need advice about appeal procedures against the results of the university examination

Hi, Withhope,

Understand that you have an uphill battle ahead of you. You are challenging an external examiner who is apparently a senior in the field. Very few people will support you because by doing so, they are going against him and may put their own career on the line should they need his assistance to peer review papers, collaborate or get recommendation for senior positions in the future.

I agree with Over1234's step by step strategy. You need good strategy and a hell lot of resilience to overcome this monumental challenge. I disagree on one point though as I have found excellent support from my student union when I went up against my supervisor on a major issue. Mine was not on examination outcome, but rather a major bias and financial irregularity. We had a lawyer ready to be deployed because I had excellent record keeping to prove my case. My personal experience was the university closed its ranks on me and gave a thinly veiled threat of failing me should I persist which I did and won. I do acknowledge though that I was one of the lucky ones as most people fail in their fights.

Think deeply about your strategy. Perhaps seek others who have fought and won in challenging examination outcome. Good luck

Need advice about appeal procedures against the results of the university examination

Hi, withhope,

Do read the past posts by faded07. She fought against her examiners and won. It was a long hard battle. See her strategy.

Do you have access to student union or postgrad coordinator's support? You will need everything you can get to fight your examiners. If you have access to lawyers through your student union, grab that. Do not tell your supervisor or examiners that you are going to fight their verdict before you are ready. They usually will close ranks and would rather lose you then lose their relationship before in academia, they are high likely to peer review each other and collaborate on projects.

still haven't found a postdoc position, feeling disheartened

Hi, sciencephd

This is going to be a hard pill to swallow.

For someone wanting to pursue a career in research, having no first author paper during your PhD is pretty much a death sentence. PIs will think that perhaps you were lazy or couldn't write or that you couldn't generate solid data in your work. I know that you feel that it is not your fault. But, it will take a miracle for some generous PI in academia to want to take a chance on you when they have so many other options.

One possible solution I can think of is to ask your PhD supervisor to either 1) take you as a postdoc to allow you the opportunity to publish as first author or 2) ask his friend to take you in as postdoc so you can at least have that chance.

I am sorry. This might not be what you want to hear. But truly a PhD graduate with no first author publication has an extremely challenging path ahead to continue the research career. You will be playing catch up all the time with all the other PhD graduates who are well-published. It is a very competitive world and unfortunately you are not in a position of advantage.

I am quitting my PhD

If you are leaving your first PhD for a second one, yes, it will definitely look very bad to your potential PhD interviewers. They will highly likely get turned off.

You could say that you were doing some research, but they will likely want to talk to your supervisors to verify. Do you have a friendly postdoc who could say some nice things about you? Did you do anything else during that time? Like volunteering, casual work, etc?

Publishing from PhD thesis

Just asking, did you aim to publish in journals that were a tad bit too high impact factor? Have you tried going for lower tier ones?

Don't know what to do with my life

Hi, lostgrad,

Here are my two cents.

I agree that further studies may not be best for you at this stage. If you have not held a longer term employment (eg 12 months) for a long time, studying again will not make you more competitive in the eyes of the employer.

Employers will always favour young fresh grads as they require lower pay and are easily trained into whatever roles needed. Mature graduates without much work experience looking for entry level roles usually find it hard to compete. Fortunately for you, it is the employees market at the moment and this may be the chance for you to break into a new role.

Without knowing your interest, some roles for physics graduates are below:
Accelerator Operator
Applications Engineer
Data Analyst
Design Engineer
Software Developer
Systems Analyst
Technical Specialist

You could consider a role in a start up and multitask a lot. The other option is to ask for internship (yes, directly ask the employer and not wait for internship programs) and see if they can put you up for 6 months to one year. This could be a trial period for both of you and if you play your cards right, you may land a long term contract.

shock result_referral & resubmission_what can I do?

Hi, designphd,

1) Download and keep all your emails in a folder. Green amber red positioning means different things to different people. It could be tiering of difficulty/time urgency eg. red- superhard, time-consuming, super urgent to green -least difficult, least urgent or not time consuming.

2) Write to your student support too and keep the email

3) Talk to your postgrad coordinator and supervisor. Bear in mind, if you change your examiners now, you will deeply offend the two external that you have currently. And if you are unsuccessful in changing and have two deeply grudgeful externals, your life ahead may be challenging. So tread carefully.

4) You don't have to publish everything in one paper. However, having papers accepted and published will strengthen your case that your PhD study is solid

Masters in Data Science

Hi, rodsms,

I don't do data science. But I can suggest the following:
1) Look for your contacts on LinkedIn who are in data science and ask them
2) Is it possible for you to transition directly into data science job? You have a lot of experience. With the current employees market, you should be in high demand. Perhaps get the job first and then learn on the job? Or ask your current employer or future one once you get the job to sponsor you on a short course?

Applying for a PhD programe