PhD problems - (Jun/18/2009 )
I wondered if anyone could offer some advice. I am in the final year of a PhD, with time fast running out and it is looking increasingly likely that i am never going to make it to submission. When i began the studentship in 2006 myself and another 4 phD students who started at the same time quickly realised that things were not OK. There were no post-docs, no technical support and we were all working on completely different things. The project made little sense and the head of the research group didnt seem to care, and consistently gave bad advice, both technical and project-specific.
The head of the research group has since left the university and the group has disbanded. Two of my collegues left science PhD-less, the others went elsewhere. Bottom line is my PhD is in a mess. Time is running out and data is very scarce. I am a competent microbiologist, i have supervised several undergraduate projects, who have since gone on to accpet phD studentships themselves. But without any support i worry that my own PhD is failing and i will fall to the bottom of the career ladder.
Could anyone offer advice on a course of action. should i look to go into industry?, should i apply for another phD and hope that the PI will understand why the first one failed?, should i just write up regardless and hope for the best (maybe an mPhil)? the stress of worrying about this is making me ill.
I am not familiar with the progress of getting a PhD in the UK.....so please correct me when I am wrong!
Who is going to approve you thesis? Here you need a Prof or PI who is officially supervising you, so when you are telling us that you PI left there should be someone in charge of your PhD programm???? Go and talk to this person. Maybe they can help you.
Second: I would advise you to sort your data and have a look what you can use for your thesis. Even if it seems that you have not much results you can do a very nice work when placing them in the context of a review of literature. If you really have not enough data to produce a "paper" with them, take the results and place them in the context of your field of interest.....or make a metastudy and add your data.....so you will get a good work. Look which kind of papers are cited most....mainly review papers
And third: it is not that worse as it might look at the first glance. Therefore sort your data, get your head up and talk to somebody in charge about your probelm! Usually this kind of problems can be sorted out.
I agree with Gebirgsziege. You should have a thesis committee? I think pretty much all PhD's in the UK do ( I sure did). This is something that they should be aware of and be able to help you with (or be made aware of, they are designed to give you support). I think if you sort through your data you may find you have more there than you think and if you discuss with some other people (like those in your thesis commitee etc.) then they should be able to point the way to the work that needs doing to bring it up to thesis level.
As UK PhDs are not based on publications I wouldn't worry too much about that ( I came out with one 3rd author paper from my PhD and I"m now post-docing in Japan so anything is possible), if you do have publications - great! that all helps support your thesis. You will probably have to put some hard effort in for the next year, but its always possible to get extensions for thesis deadlines, especially with your circumstances. Your funding agency should be notifified if you need an extension, they can sometimes give you extra financial support if there are special circumstances,again this is something to talk over with your thesis committee, etc etc. I'm sure people in your department wouldn't let you continue if they didn't think you could finish your thesis as it reflects badly on them so I think you really need to find some form of supervisor figure to help you and give you some support as its sounds like your feeling quite abandonded.
Can you manage to use your result data to write up a PhD thesis?