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Jobless after a PhD
T

Hi, piya29in,

I think the question is, what is your long term goal? You mentioned setting up a plant tissue culture laboratory and doing postdoc fellowships. Are you wanting to stay in academia or set up your own company? They are very different career paths. Any do you want to do biomedic or plant science? Please make up your mind.

If you are really looking for post doc position, then NETWORKING is key. It means contacting Professors before they have funds so that they may remember you when they do have funds. My former colleagues got their post doc position sometimes up to a year before they start the position. Can your previous supervisors not recommend you to do a postdoc at his/her collaborator's lab? You probably got shortlisted because you do have the skills but lost to someone who has more experience and who is known to the professor. If you have never networked, I suggest that you start doing that now. You are going to need it.

Second Master's degree or PhD?
T

Hi, JJ_13,

I would ask that you sit down and consider what your aim in life is and importantly where you want to be.

1) If you want to be in South Africa and in academia, then please just continue on in your current project.
2) If you intend to leave and perhaps stay in another country, then you may wish to consider the masters as it gives you international experience which you can leverage in future to apply for jobs elsewhere or another PhD program. If you want to stay in Sweden, this may give you a chance at that too.
3) If your PhD in South Africa is highly recognised world wide and you want to leave for a different country one day, you may also do so after finishing your PhD.

No one knows your circumstances or your career and life aspirations. Decide what is best for yourself. Take care.

Crushed
T

Hi, random_6772

I agree totally with bewildered. Talk to your postgraduate coordinator or Students Union on how to lodge a formal complaint. Do it ASAP. You have nothing to lose anyway. If you do not get an extension, you will be forced to fail. So give it your best shot and complain and fight for your extension on the basis on poor supervision. You no longer have to worry about future relationship with your supervisor, because a) if he ignored you during your PhD, he will ignore your future request for reference letter and b) what use is a relationship if you fail your PhD.

Fight on! Good luck!

Quitting PhD
T

Hi, SmilingHippo,

Considering that you are only in your first year, would you be willing to consider changing to a new project and supervisor who is more suitable for you? Clearly a hands-off supervisor who may have little experience with international students is not working well for you.

Do speak to your postgraduate coordinator (there is one in every school) to identify potential new supervisors for you. I do not believe you cannot change supervisors. You are not the first student with compatibility issue with the supervisor and wanting to change. You could also speak to people outside your group and even those from different schools, as long as they are working on the area you are interested in. Talk to their students and technicians as well to know the supervisors true colours. You do not want to leave a bad supervisor for another who is just as bad or worse.

Calm down and reassess your situation and options. Good luck.

What to do after a successful appeal?
T

I think you should be allowed to make amendments to your thesis before you resubmit. Check with your postgrad coordinator and appeals panel. You may wish to improve it significantly before resubmitting, to prevent a repeat of your previous situation.

Did you previously sign a form to confirm who your panel of reviewers are? In my uni, usually supervisors select the panel members and then students sign a form saying they agree with the selection. Is this the same for your uni? You should be able to select your panel of reviewers. Perhaps you could put forward a list of 3-5 and the university will then select 2-3 from the list. Choose carefully.

What to do after a successful appeal?
T

Hi, BeHappy,

I agree with TreeofLife that changing supervisors will not help you now. Since your supervisor did not comment/help you before your submission and actually supported your previous examiners' no award, I do not think he will help you now. Besides, he probably knew the examiners, and that is why he did not really support you challenging their decision.

So, think deeply who your new examiners could be. Do you know of any independent senior researcher who knows your field? Propose to your university and see if they accept them. I would also suggest that you talk to your postgrad coordinator about getting support to go through this and your future corrections. From here on, I think you are going without your supervisor, not that he helped you anyway before this.

Good luck.

Examiner Disagreement
T

A BIG congratulations to Dr faded07. I am extremely happy for you. You have fought until the very end and won. All the best to you in your future career and may things be smooth sailing from now on.

Thinking of changing supervisors...
T

hi, Tudor_Queen,

It depends on what changes you want to your supervisory team. IF your PhD is going in a new direction which your supervisors have no interest/expertise in, then adding new supervisor(s) in the new field may be the way forward. Bear in mind to be very diplomatic when asking for it. I have seen relationships fails because the original supervisors took it as an insult to their knowledge and ability.

If your PhD has been going through many rabbit holes and dead ends, and you feel that your supervisors are lacking interest or not giving you any/sufficient feedback due to lack of knowledge/expertise, changing supervisors may be the way forward. If the project you are on is the supervisors', then you may have to change project as well. Changing of supervisor and project would be recomended only when you are in the early stages of your PhD. Eg. First 1-2 years in a 3-4 year PhD. If you are past that and feel that there is not much hope in finishing with a good PhD, perhaps go for a masters, then do another PhD. Academic career post PhD is quite competitive and you can only apply for fellowships within limited time after your PhD. So, if you finish with no/little paper, this unfortunately makes you less competitive for fellowships. Try to give yourself the best fighting chance, if you want to be in academia.

Think deeply about what is best for you. All the best.

Examiner Disagreement
T

Just hang in there. Stay calm and continue ticking along. You are so near and things seem to be going in the right direction. Good luck

Examiner Disagreement
T

How is everything, faded07? Did they sort out the internal examiner for you?

Post-Phd... No post! Advice appreciated
T

Hi, Jewel17,

You asked if I think job recommendation applies across the board for academic positions and if they are filled internally usually. Absolutely YES to both questions. Not only for academic position, but across all types of jobs, they will prefer someone who is recommended by someone familiar to the hiring manager, and better yet if they know the applicant personally. I think that networking and finding a good career mentor who can advise and perhaps recommend you for jobs (not just inform you of opportunities, but actually go - Hey, Prof XX, I know someone who is excellent for that role you are advertising!) are the answers to your problems. Good luck.

Issues with supervisors
T

Hi, somthingsomethingtired,

You're in your first year. If the supervisors and project are poor matches for you, consider jumping ship to a better matched project and supervisor. You should be able to take your scholarship with you if you change within the same uni. You can read in this forum all the horrible stories from bad projects and supervisors. If you think that you have a high chance of being part of the bad statistics, you might as well take actions now to prevent that. Talk to your postgraduate coordinator in confidence to voice your concerns and see what he/she can suggest. Have a look around and talk to students from other groups or departments to see if there is potential vacancy, and importantly ask about the student-supervisor relationship. You want to go to a good supervisor, not another ill-fitting one.

Internal examiner pulled out
T

Be glad that your examiner informed you that she can't do the job. My friend just learned very recently that his examiner did not response to any email after 3 months wait on his thesis, so now they have to send his thesis to another examiner ie another 2-3 months' wait for feedback.

Post-Phd... No post! Advice appreciated
T

Hi, Jewel17,

You did not mention anything about recommendation. If you had teaching experience at your former uni where you did your PhD, would it be possible to keep in touch with your fellow tutoring group leader or lecturer to ask if they know of a position coming up? How about your colleagues where you were doing short term teaching? Do they know anything? Can your former PhD supervisor recommend you to his/her network?

Most positions are not advertised. It is up to you to initiate in making that connection. Start where you are. Ask people who have been teaching for a while at your uni out for coffee. And learn what they did right during the early stages of their career. You need a career mentor.

Examiner Disagreement
T

Hi, faded07,

I think that you do not recognise that this outcome is in your favour. Let me break it down to you.

I have expected an independent internal re-examination of your thesis. See my previous post. They can't just gift wrap it to you even if they recognise that there were deviations from normal procedures and an OK to pass from one of your previous examiners. They have to resolve the conflict between the two examiners and this is the best way forward. It is good that they did not insist on you working on your latest comments too.

Someone of significantly high position has to be one of your panel member to fend off problems with the external examiner. You do not want the external coming back and questioning the reexamination. Your Deputy VC fulfills this role, even if he is not in your field.

Your second panel examiner has to be chosen carefully, because this person should be someone who is closer to your field of study. This expert will be the one who gives comment on your content and whether your work is up to par. Together with the Deputy VC, you could not have asked for a better team to stop your pesky external from questioning and interfering, if they decide to pass you. So, no, there should not be another round of corrections after this. This should be the final decision from uni.

Your clock has finally moved again. Great. Perhaps you could consider making a table with columns highlighting all the examiner comments given, the corrections you did and location in your thesis. Make life as easy as you can for them so that they do not need to read the entire thesis again.You can submit this with your thesis.

Good luck to you, faded07. I am happy for this good outcome and respect the efforts from your chair. Imagine how difficult it must have been to convince the Deputy VC that they messed up (Whoops) and need his help to solve problems. Persevere on. You are nearly there.