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Change of PhD


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34 replies to this topic

#16 lab rat

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:00 PM

I agree with than4. If 'general nastiness' is an issue, please find a sympathetic faculty member and switch. Some institutions have written policies against hopping labs, but dire circumstances can merit an approved switch. Sometimes, students get a raw deal or people just don't get along...and there is nothing to be gained by toughing it out.

I'm not surprised that the committee isn't involved; in my experience, they are typically the last to know about stuff like this. She should definitely speak with someone outside the lab, such as a graduate coordinator, and make her position clear before something (more) unpleasant happens--such as the PI deciding to drop her--so she can salvage some references if she does decide to move to another field/lab.

I have found that PIs tend to side with their staff over their students, as the staff are typically there for the long-term and good relationships with them are essential to the success of the lab.

Sorry I sound so pessimistic. The best advice I ever got from a prof was: "Flow like water." Sometimes that means passing through rocky paths. Sometimes that means cutting a new path altogether. Either way, move forward.
42..."An immutable fixed-precision number of unlimited magnitude." <a href="http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)</a>, accessed 25June2009.

#17 Kami23

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:43 AM

Noone seems to be interested in her at all and the situation is getting worse... She cries all the time....

What I really want to know is what are the chances of her getting another PhD post somewhere else if she walks away? Would future PIs touch her with a bargepole?

#18 Doki

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:55 AM

I have not been following this discussion but just my 2 yens .. if there is a chance of getting another PhD, what are the chances that the other lab is not similar or worse?
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#19 lab rat

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:06 PM

Noone seems to be interested in her at all and the situation is getting worse... She cries all the time....

What I really want to know is what are the chances of her getting another PhD post somewhere else if she walks away? Would future PIs touch her with a bargepole?


That's a question I can't answer based on my own limited experience. My faculty friends tell me that sometimes you must recognize when there is nothing left for you, where you are now, and you must find someplace else. The only thing to follow you will be the letters of recommendation that you choose to follow you.
42..."An immutable fixed-precision number of unlimited magnitude." <a href="http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)</a>, accessed 25June2009.

#20 than4

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:53 PM

From my own personal experience, having walked away from a "perfectly good job" that was making me unhappy others will understand and be willing to take a chance on you.

However, this means that your friend needs to have some sense of self-worth left to be able to sell herself to someone else and to make a case for why she left her current PhD position. She will need to do this as objectively and without emotion as she can. This will be extremely difficult and it may require her to have a break from science for a little while to get over it.

Keep supporting her and good luck to both of you.

#21 pito

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 12:04 AM

in Britain you dont need a masters to do a PhD just a good degree :P and yeah its just 3 years...



Its really strange, how its so different to get a Phd.

It seems almost unfair.

Here you need to have a masters degree and then its hard to even begin a Phd, and if you are lucky enough to start, its 4 years at least.
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#22 Kami23

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 04:50 AM

Ok guys.. she has a meeting with a second grad tutor tomorrow... is there anything she could adk to make the situation better but not ruffle any feathers? She has 2.5 weeks to hand in an upgrade peice that is examined and doesnt think she will make it...

#23 casandra

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 07:08 AM

Ok guys.. she has a meeting with a second grad tutor tomorrow... is there anything she could adk to make the situation better but not ruffle any feathers? She has 2.5 weeks to hand in an upgrade peice that is examined and doesnt think she will make it...

Hey Kami,

But would this second grad tutor really be able to help her out? She's definitely in a very tough situation bec if she starts "making her case" no matter how objective she would be, it would seem that she's merely giving excuses for unsatisfactory work....otoh, if she doesn't air out her difficulties, and her upgrade report (current status of her thesis?) falls short, then it would appear she's not cut out for a PhD which I think is probably not the case.....
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#24 Prep!

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 09:33 PM

in Britain you dont need a masters to do a PhD just a good degree ;) and yeah its just 3 years...



Its really strange, how its so different to get a Phd.

It seems almost unfair.

Here you need to have a masters degree and then its hard to even begin a Phd, and if you are lucky enough to start, its 4 years at least.


yeah even here its minimum four years!!!!! :)
may be tat is why people fly to places were its easier to do it!!!??!! ;)
no offence meant people!!! :P
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#25 leelee

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 09:52 PM

To continue the thread hijack.....re completion times and differences between......

I guess it depends how you look at it.
PhDs here in Aus don't involve any course work or lab rotations (which I have heard happens in other countries?? for a year or more??)- which means you start on your PhD research straight away.
And yes you don't need a masters to get in- but you do need an honours year at the end of your degree (an extra research year on top of your bachelor degree) with a good mark (or a REALLY good mark if you want a scholarship too). In Australia, in science research at least, masters degrees aren't really all that useful so most people wouldn't bother doing one.

I actually think it doesn't make it easier because its shorter. You still need to complete the same amount of work to get your PhD.
PhD theses are examined by people from all over the globe, so the amount of work that is accepted as reasonable to grant a PhD is independent of where or how long it takes you to do it.

I've also heard that in countries where it can take as many as 8 years to complete a PhD, that sometimes (or actually I heard often) the supervisors keep telling the student that they don't have enough and just need this result or that experiment or whatever to keep them going in the lab as free labour- when really they do have enough to write up.

But I think the true test is how well regarded the PhD degree is when going for jobs- if it really was easier, and therefore inferior in countries that have shorter PhD completion times, then surely they would not be as readily hired around the globe? And, correct me if I am wrong, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

#26 pito

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 02:56 AM

it doesnt seem the case because most people and companies only see the Dr. in front of your name, they dont think about how he or she got it.
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#27 Prep!

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 04:07 AM

it doesnt seem the case because most people and companies only see the Dr. in front of your name, they dont think about how he or she got it.



i completely agree to that cuase i know some companies and people who have Dr. XYZ with zero inclination towards the field and wen u see from were they have done their PhD's u can make out!!!
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#28 leelee

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 05:55 PM

it doesnt seem the case because most people and companies only see the Dr. in front of your name, they dont think about how he or she got it.


That may be true in some instances. But if there are several applicants for the job, the person with the PhD from the most reputable institution, working with the most reputable supervisors, will most likely get the position. It is like any job, the better your experience, the better the quality of your education, the more hirable you are. And the more likely you are to stay employed.
Getting the job is hard- keeping the job is harder!

#29 pito

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:19 AM

it doesnt seem the case because most people and companies only see the Dr. in front of your name, they dont think about how he or she got it.


That may be true in some instances. But if there are several applicants for the job, the person with the PhD from the most reputable institution, working with the most reputable supervisors, will most likely get the position. It is like any job, the better your experience, the better the quality of your education, the more hirable you are. And the more likely you are to stay employed.
Getting the job is hard- keeping the job is harder!



In theory it sounds nice what you say, in practise...

You cant imagine people or companies to know every school, company where someone worked or studied.

The first thing they check is Dr... if that is in front of your name for some reason they take you more serious..

I know someone who had 30 years of experience in his field, but he was not a Dr. , well they never took him serious (well some did, the ones that knew him or knew his work). It was horrible at some moments! He had to take a Dr. with him when he went to conferences or he had to ask a prof. to put his name at a certain publication just because he wasnt a prof or dr. .
Now he turned 55 and he is finishing his PhD ...
And the strange thing is that some people that never gave him credit (never answered his mails or listened to him) all of a sudden are listening and replying just because he has Drs in front of his name and soon he will have Dr. .

You know whats even more funnier? Three of the people of his jury (prof's) are people he trained and even still does teach. He has a teaching statute at university and teaches a very specific thing because he is one of the biggest specialist out there.


having a PhD is often the fist thing that opens doors while its not always correct: some get it a bit harder then others. Its a very subjective thing sometimes.
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#30 Lapsang

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:53 AM

Regarding pito's story, I have seen it written that a PhD is seen by some as a "rite of passage". I'm sure that many people (particularly older folk!) will see someone with a PhD as being "one of them" and will have been through some of the same hardships.




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