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I need some advice, I don’t have a good relationship with my supervisor

Hi, Zena85,

I agree with Tudor_Queen. Change supervisors asap. This one does not appear to be the right one for you.

Judging whether to working under a Potential Junior Supervisor at a Prestigious Institute

Hi, monkia,

Let's see. You said:

- "my feedback about him is not relatively good"
- "he always replies late or forgets unless I sent a reminder"
- "he does not read my emails properly, do mistakes in my name"
- "concerned that he might be a not good supervisor"
- "although I have asked for Skype to clarify certain points, he did not reply"

My advice - Forget him. Your gut feeling is that he is not a good supervisor. Trust your gut and don't make a decision out of desperation.

On the recommendation letter, is it possible to get a general letter from the Prof that is not addressed to any one supervisor/uni? That way you can just send that letter to whomever you want to apply PhD with.

Entirely lost motivation and interest in PhD (after 1+ year)

It sounds to me like you prefer well-defined tasks with shorter focus time. That is why you excelled in your BSc and MSc and enjoy your tutoring, research assistant jobs.

To self fund and continue down a PhD which you have no interest in is torture. Would you consider applying for a full time position before leaving PhD? You have only invested a short time (1 year plus) so this is an option.

Living as Dead and Disappointed


I agree with kmcmahon. Go get help immediately. Your life is more important than a PhD or research study. Everything else can wait until you sort out your health.

PhD or job offer

If it is the industry you are after, does the internal job help you progress towards that goal? If yes, perhaps take the job over the PhD.

Considering that you are not wanting to get into academia, having a PhD is not necessary for your career. Some companies sponsor PhD for their employees too as part of prof dev, but only after a few years of work so you don't have to completely rule it out.

Supervisor problems

Hi, JohnGalt,

You have outlined two terrible supervisors. The primary one is an inexperienced supervisor who clearly doesn't give guidance and is powerless in front of the secondary supervisor. The secondary one has toxic personality and again doesn't give you any guidance.

How are you funded? Are you on scholarship? If you are, would you consider changing to a different supervisor? If you are self-funded, you have an even stronger reason to change since you are not getting any guidance despite paying. Characters don't really change, so if things are already so bad in the first few weeks, imagine how bad it would be like in a few years. Don't wait for situation to change. Take action if you can.

Help locating thread from a while ago... the person who failed their viva, had a battle, and won

Hi, Tudor_Queen,

Are you referring to faded07's post https://www.postgraduateforum.com/thread-48150/ ?

Submitted thesis, now dreading viva

Hi, Cookyy2k

All your worries here are just speculation of what could be. Don't downplay your work or contributions.

Lack of publication - It is understood that where there is patent application or industrial collaboration/NDA, there could potentially be delay in publications. Explain this when asked.

Lack of results - Explain that there was time spent assisting with the industry's research group. And that there was experimental issues while testing a particular deadline project.

Niche area of novelty - All PhD are on a specific narrow topic. Elaborate how your use of the equipment generated data that have never been analysed in the manner you did and the impact.

Prepare the best you can and all the best. Don't give up before your viva.

Are these signs of a toxic postdoc relationship?

Quote From cypress:
No, the postdoc funding does not come from the gov department, it comes from the postdoc fellowship. I suggested I extend the gov job another 2 years with postdoc funding from a separate entity.

I suspect that your suggestion to use another funding source to extend the gov job by two years costed you the job, even if they liked you very much. It is highly unusual for a gov or industry job to be extended by an external funding. Unlike academia where you rely on different funding sources to continue employment.

Why didn't you wait until you at least had a written offer before asking about what happens after the contract? That one year contract might have been a trial to see if you could be a fit and lead to a longer contract or permanent position.

Messed up masters big time - options?

Hi, LS932,

You made an awful decision to plagiarise and have been penalised for it. It is good that you repent and decide not to do it again.

Since they have awarded you 0, is it possible for you to retake that course instead of appealing? I doubt they would listen to your appeal since plagiarism is very frowned upon and they are doing this to set as example to deter others. Even if you can only get a max of pass the second time you take the course, it would still be better than the 0 you have now.

Choosing a new supervisor after leaving ex-abusive supervisor

Hi, monkiaa,

My comments below:

"I am so tired and afraid at the same, however, I am trying to do my best, this junior PI asked for another meeting, I should ask him all these questions, but I agree I dont have good feelings towards him, I dont know what could lies behind."
--> Ask all the appropriate questions before deciding. Does he have an idea of a project? Funds? Established methods and established lab, ie. with equipment? Frequency of meeting? Supervisory style, etc... If you still have doubts or don't have good feeling, don't do a PhD under him.

"I am really confused the lab I am going for two months in another far country in Europe the students didnot recommend it and they dont like their PI, I just accept because of the financial situation and I am foreigner and I cannot go to home country for some reasons, it is very complex situation to explain."
--> If the current students are unhappy, best don't do a Phd in that lab. You will be unhappy there too. ust complete your 2 months and if it is real bad, don't stay

"as you can see the good lab refused my application immediately in the same day. "
--> Can you do an internship of 3-6 months in the lab you like to build relationship before applying for a PhD there?

Choosing a new supervisor after leaving ex-abusive supervisor

Quote From monkiaa:
I will do my best however what makes me constraint is the financial situation and it is not easy and in same time I am afraid of the selection, so I wish that I can find a reasonable lab.

Concerning junior PI, I spoke to him and he mentioned that he is passionate about the same research line and doesnot care about publications. However, I am afraid as many people has a sweet-tooth like I had before and get lured.

In the other side, there is a good lab and the students commended their PI, however, it is really competitive to be in.

As a conclusion, sometimes I loose faith in research general and it is not easy to find a really good lab.

As with any good thing in life, there will always be competition. You just have to do your best. Maybe even start with an internship with the lab you want, if you want to have an edge.

So, d junior PI doesn't care about publication? This is the first time I have heard of this. Normally junior PI are very interested in publications to use as leverage to apply grants and advance their career. So, this person is either not telling the entire truth or if he/she is, then will this mean less input and effort to help you with your Phd publications? Either way, I see it as a red flag. Do think about it carefully

Choosing a new supervisor after leaving ex-abusive supervisor

Hi, monkiaa,

My comments below:

Quote From monkiaa:
Dear Tru,
Here is the updates about potential PI:

A star professor at a high ranking university.....
--> If you can get a secondary supervisor - an experienced researcher who will act as your primary supervisor, this may work. If not, I suggest you forget it.

Intermediate professor not very well: His student told me he is not qualified to work with students, but the student told me that she doesn't feel so much pressure on her research.
--> "not qualified to work with students"? Forget it

Junior PI: I think it could be risky as I don't have any background about their supervision history.....
--> No experience? Pretty tricky. I personally would suggest looking for experienced supervisor as you can check their personality and supervisory style + they have established methodology and network which you can benefit from. Otherwise, you are doing a Russian Roulette aka taking major risks... Choice is yours....

My previous experience with ex-PI, he was not junior and not star, but he did research for more than 14 years, however, he didn't help me in my research or even writing papers besides being abusive and very destructive person.
--> Personality issue --> Forget it

The question is : If am going to select the new PI which very critical decision, how I should consider these scenarios, for sure, I avoid PI in the influence circle of the ex-PI as I have been advised before, but what are other key corners I should bear in my mind.
--> I would suggest intermediate ranking/mid-career experienced PI with good personality, compatible supervisory style, broad network, established research group + methodology + sufficient funding.
Take the time to search for a good one. It is worth it.

Choosing a new supervisor after leaving ex-abusive supervisor

Hi, monkiaa,

Having the right supervisor is the single most important factor to achieve a successful PhD.

Read and talk to the potential supervisor. Talk to the potential supervisor's current students. Find out:

1) Supervisor's research area and interest- Does it match yours? Is it a hot area (maybe important for future grant applications)? Does he know a lot of lab techniques and a lot of people?

2) Supervisor's style - hands-on or hands-off? how frequent are the meetings? How much help will he/she give? Is he/she kind, pushy, easy or hard to get along? Does he/she return emails/ read thesis?

3) Supervisor's experience - Does he/she have any experience supervising? Did anyone quit their PhD under him/ her and why? Did the students finish in a timely manner and published papers?
Note: Due to personal and observations of my friends' experiences, I would suggest against being the first PhD student of any supervisor. Still, it is your choice of course.

4) Finance - Does the supervisor have any fund for the project? DO you have access to the equipment needed?

5) Research team - Are they kind and willing to help nurture you? Can you collaborate with them?

6) Lab stability - Has the lab been set up? Is the supervisor going to move to a new location?

7) Supervisor's reputation - Is the supervisor highly reputable? This may help in future collaborations and grant applications. But superstars may not have much time.

Hope this helps. Ultimately your decision should be a good balance between all the points listed here. Do have a break before finding a new position. Good luck.

Conflict with supervisor

Quote From pinat:
Hi dear forum friends, I have done my PhD in a university in Germany, have 1 published book chapter, 1 published paper, and have submitted my thesis 5 years ago. According to the rules of university, it is enough to have the thesis to be able to do the final examination and publication is not obligatory.
However, my supervisor is not letting me finish. He has never read my thesis in these 5 years, he will not tell me what other project he expects me to do, he just does not want me to defend and get my degree. My supervisor is completely aware of what I did during my PhD, the content of my publications, and has been present in several conferences were I presented my work.In these 5 years I have been going part-time to university to publish my first and second papers and he knows about it (self-funded in these years)
I am not the first one, 3 other guys left the department without being able to defend their thesis, one of them left after 6 years.
I heard there is a university in Netherland where one can defend his/her thesis by just having 3 publications. Is it true? I cannot find such university by searching on Google. Could you give me any advice what to do? Thanks a lot.

Hi, pinat,

Sorry to hear about your case. Your supervisor sounds like he just wanted free labour, literally.

Every university has its own criteria on the min requirements for a PhD award. Go and talk to your postgrad department/ Graduate school and ask about defending without supervisor's approval.Explain the background about the 3 former students who could not complete their PhD. And about him not reading your thesis in the last 5 years. Ask for their advice and help. The department usually can do something to assist you.