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PhD dilemma

Do the masters but maybe considering reporting the fraud data to the university and the journal that they have submitted the data too. Make sure you have all the evidence to back up your claims. Otherwise, just let go and move on with your life.

Not sure if I should transfer?

Quote From koopa_beach:
Hi. I formed a project with a supervisor in order to get funding. However, funding went to someone who performed better in interview. Because I liked the project, though, I applied for funding from elsewhere and received a full grant. However, I'm not sure if I made the right choice as I perhaps could've used that funding at a higher-ranked institution with more of a research culture. I'm at an ex-poly (top 50).
I was keen to get onto the project, though, and really liked the supervisor's previous work. They had written extensively about my very niche topic and they know all the top names in the field. They are also doing research now that is related to this area and want to include me in it.
However, I can't get over the feeling I could be at a more prestigious place - I received top marks for BA and MA. A contact said she 'wouldn't do her PhD there'. I do like the supervisor and we get on well, though, and I like the person who got the initial studentship. Should I see if I can transfer to a bigger institution using my grant (perhaps there are one or two people who could supervise) or just carry on and make the most of my funding here? I can't seem to get over the fact I (possibly) could've used grant money for pretty much anywhere, depending on if I got a PhD place.


Quality supervisor triumphs university reputation. Ask your contact why she won't do her PhD there. Get more info. Is it the management style? Or that the supervisor has a really horrible attitude? Get more info. If there is something wrong with the supervisor, change to a different one. You hold the cards with your grant and can go anywhere.

Please help - considering formal complaint against University.

Hello, Gemma,

I am completely confused as to what you want to get out of this complaint? A new PhD scholarship? A sense of justice?

Also, you were lightly challenged on your tweet and your immediate response was to admit defeat, apologise, delete the tweet and say you do not want to cause trouble. Without knowing you, are you sure that you have the persistence to go through a formal complain with the university which would take months and many meetings of you talking to various people of various uni departments who will fob you to another person all the time? What if you need to present your case to the graduate school head, can you do that? Would you stand up and have the guts to continue to knock on doors if the uni goes silent on your complaint? Do think properly.


No, PhDs are NOT meant to be this stressful and Yes you have overcommitted yourself.

So you need to prioritise. These are my suggestions. The decision is ultimately yours.

1) Conference committee - Use your position as chair to whip your committee into shape. Delegate work and set deadline. Get new people on board to replace those who do not perform. No one can mention this on CV if they just piggy back and did not contribute. You may not be well-liked when everything is over, but hey, at least the job is done.

2) Lab equipment - Yup, this sounds like a MAJOR priority. Get your data generated ASAP. Is this an equipment that belongs to the supervisor who is moving? Then yes, get your sh!t done now. Everything else is secondary.

3) Paper for supervisor - Talk to your supervisor about the lab equipment issue and write "manuscript in preparation" rather than "submitted/accepted" on the grant application. You have your PhD to complete. You don't even know if the funding will be successful (Most aren't anyway, sad reality). So to plan and say that this is for your postdoc, when you are not certain you will get the funding but in the process put aside your own PhD which you have higher probability of getting is unwise. If you are delayed in your PhD and the supposed funding for the supposed postdoc position comes through, will your supervisor wait for you or hire another postdoc? Go figure. Her priority is for her paper to save her own career, not you.

4) Supervisor leaving - Not sure which supervisor this is, but I assume this is the secondary one on paper. But, is she your primary one when it actually comes to getting experienced supervisory input, trouble shooting, and gaining methods and lab equipment. If yes, I would consider moving with her if possible. To lose one year is better than to lose an entire PhD due to lack of supervisor's guidance. Unless of course that your remaining supervisor is awesome.

Weird Interview, is it common in academia?

I see it as a massive red flag. It hints at the role (I am assuming this is a new PhD studentship) will include doing PA(personal assistant) sorta work like arranging schedules and organising classes. So basically, you will be doing other things BUT your PhD. Not a good sign. I had a friend who when interviewed for a postdoc position was asked how good she was at proofreading manuscripts. Why? Because she was a native English speaker and the potential supervisor's massive group of students and postdocs weren't fluent in English and were having problems when submitting articles. She saw it as a red flag that THAT was all that she would be doing instead of leading her own project and did not take the job. I think her decision was right.

I am pondering whether to Tell the truth that I was a first year PhD student for future interviews

If PIs have good PhD projects with good funding and expected great outcome, they will want to get the best PhD student they can find. In other words, they are very unlikely to take a chance on someone with a history of giving up their PhD midway, especially if they have other candidates with similar qualifications to choose from. Try seeing from their perspective.

Your decision to reveal your past is yours alone to make. Just understand that there might be some prejudice if you reveal it and so deal with it. They will of course want to talk to your past supervisor about you and who can blame them for wanting to know about why the last PhD didn't work out? Also, your reference may have also been put on a hard spot when asked if they knew of any reason you may stop a PhD.

My suggestion on a best way forward is to get a job, as an RA in a suitable lab group and then work hard to show your worth before applying for a PhD in that group. This way, they know you and will not ask about your past or reference. You will also know the supervisor and will unlikely make the past mistake of choosing a bad supervisor.

PhD topic not as expected

You are highlighting all the hallmarks of a potential bad PhD. Lack of PhD structure, no direction, complete dependence on another project, no supervisory or lab support and no materials.

I prefer to tell PhD students to trust their gut feeling. You felt that this was a bad decision. You may be right in this case. You are early in your PhD and it is easy for you to change to another project with another supervisor. Perhaps it may be time for you to start talking to other PhD students and supervisors to identify a new project and direction for yourself.

I don't believe in waiting because in all the cases I have seen and from what I experience, bad projects never change to become a good or excellent one. At best, a bad project just becomes an "ok-can-somewhat-be-considered-as-PhD-material" and at worst, the poor student fails the PhD at the end despite all the efforts to rescue it.

Quitting a PhD - How to do it?

How to quit? Just tell your current supervisor that this PhD is not for you and that you quit. Apologize and thank her for her time and wish her the best for the future. There are more students than PhD positions so she should be able to get another very quickly.

You do not need to tell her where you are going. Some grudgeful profs contact the new employer or PhD supervisor to badmouth their former student. You don't want that. Quiting is usually pretty immediate after you inform verbally and then send an email to your uni. Maybe you need to tidy up your desk and lab feezer, but all in all, you should leave the place in a few days tops. Meanwhile, you can get a temp job till you start your new PhD.

Motivational advice

Quote From orchid11:
Hi! I've just started my phd 3 months ago in a different field from my masters, moved to another country and feeling already low and overwhelmed perhaps by the culture differences. I've finished my project outline and has kind of a plan of what to do. But the problem is, I'm not sure how to approach it, because the techniques are totally new to me. I try to read up a lot but when I seen other people starting on their project although they started the same time as me, I feel like I'm stuck. There is this constant feeling that I'm not as smart as others although I should not feeling that way. I used to be really cheerful and happy but after starting this phd I feel like I'm not myself. I'm not sure if this is a common situation or do others feel the same way as me too?

Starting a PhD itself is hard, let alone in a new country. Give yourself some time to adjust. On learning the techniques, could you ask an experienced technician or postdoc to show you the ropes? Reading and practical are two different things and you can learn so much quicker in person. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Major Corrections questions! Contacting old supervisor?

In my uni, minor = 3months, major = 6 months. So you are alright.

If you are unclear about any comment from your external, then you can contact them. But you are not allowed to ask back and forth on your answers to their questions and comments.

Ask you current supervisory team before you contact your old supervisor, just to be sure that they are happy with it.

Most people with major corrections do get through. Revise and resubmit is a more tricky position to be in. I have only heard of one student whose correction got rejected and she ended up with a master but I do not know the details at all as it was way before my time. Not in the UK by the way.

going to HK for PhD after Bachelor vs. staying in Europe for the Master

Quote From jasonger:
Thanks for your replies... I also felt this actually is a a very good chance cause of the lab environment and so on is good.

And I do not really plan to settle in Asia, even though it would be acceptable if there would be really good career chances (with good working environment and salary, especially maybe in places like HK/SG/Japan/Korea). But I plan something else. And I do realize that many of the faculty did not get their PhDs in HK, however I am wondering if it is a bias or also cause research (especially in physics) was not big in HK 20-30 years ago.

The professor has very close ties to some european and asian universities, but I am not aware of much connections to North America / Australia.

I guess, my situation is really difficult to decide, probably just can flip a coin in the end.

You have an excellent well-known potential supervisor with good, supportive working lab environment from which graduates got good postdocs later in their career. To say that you will flip a coin to decide if you want to join this lab is an insult.

Since you do not realise the gold in your hands, I guess it is perfectly fine for you to just pass on this opportunity to someone else who can appreciate it better.

Worried about unemployment after graduating...

Dear FP,

Looking for employment can be a challenging process, depending on your location and the type of roles that you are aiming for. It can take from 6 months to one year to land a job. And yes, it can be emotionally draining.

I note that you are currently doing a master and going to apply for a PhD. Could you stop to think why you are doing a PhD? Is it because you truly want to become a Professor? Or is it to delay/avoid job finding? Your field is computer science, and I know that in this field, work experience is more valued than high academic qualifications so you may wish to reconsider that PhD if you intend to look for a job in the industry after doing a PhD as you may be seen as academically overqualified but having little work experience. If you wish to pursue an academic career or maybe even start your own consulting business, then yes, continue with your PhD.

How to cope with the inevitability of job hunting and stress it brings? Try telling yourself that every rejection gets you one step closer to the your dream job as you have learned from that application. Some people apply for up to 50 or more jobs before they land on one (depending on your current location). You can also take on minor roles (cleaner, tutoring, waitressing, etc) while waiting for your dream job, to reduce financial stress. In summary, you just have to deal with it head on because job hunting is unpleasant, but hey, we all have bills to pay.

Failed PhD

Hi, adamA,

Congrats over overcoming crazy hurdles and coming out victorious. Thanks for the share.

Not academia or industry, what else?

Quote From kenziebob:
Hi everybody.

I'm part way through my second year of a PhD that is interdisciplinary in psychology (covering health and clinical psychology). I am starting to think about what to do after I finish and I'm really not sure which route to follow. I am thinking about academia but I realise how competitive it is, and as I am quite unique in where I 'fit' academically I'm not sure there will be a lot of room for me anywhere.

I'm also not in a lab-based field, so I can't really go to industry.

I realise this is an odd ask and I have done extensive googling before posting this, but I was wondering if those of you who have finished your PhD's could share about what you have been up to since you finished? If you are in academia how do you find it, and for those not in academia what do you do?



Hi, Kenzie,

Think deeply about where your interests lie. If you are not interested in pursuing a career in academia, then finishing with a master and getting into a role to build up work experience maybe a better strategy. Your PhD may not be appreciated as much outside academia. However, if you want to be a lecturer or a researcher, then a PhD is absolutely necessary.

If you are researching going into industry, have a look at Versatile phd, Cheeky Scientist, and various articles online including https://medium.com/@pwolgin/an-academics-guide-to-getting-a-non-academic-job-fa9d566b57fb. All the best!

PhD in Physics and still unemployed after 3 months

You didn't actually say what type of jobs you are applying for besides data science or the organisations that you are targeting.

If your are targeting postdoc positions in academia, could your supervisor help? Usually the first postdoc position is secured by recommendation from your supervisor.

If you are targeting industry positions, then just having a PhD does not mean that you will have the advantage of getting the job. Big companies like Astra Zeneca, GSK and GE has industry postdoc programmes which you could apply. Or you could also try getting into the graduate roles with the Big Four accounting firms.

Searching for a job can take from 6 months to a year. Don't give up. Persevere on.