Yesterday, my mum was recently diagnosed with cancer. However, we have yet to know what stage is her cancer and whether the cancer can still be removed from her body or it has metastasized to other parts of organs. This is a major health concern and it will of course affect my health and mental being for the next several years.

I am a PhD student and I thankfully successfully submitted my thesis a few months ago. So far, I have yet to receive the news regarding my viva. Given the history of my university and accounts from other students’ experiences, my department is very tardy in processing viva examinations. It can take up to six months for students to finally undergo the viva and then a few months for correction afterwards. Now I have to worry and be stressful for two things: my mum’s health condition and my viva.

I want to e-mail my supervisor about the possibility of speeding up my viva process. I have been well prepared for my viva for a month. I have re-read my thesis multiple times and re-read the journals that I cited. I really hope that my department can speed up my viva so I can move on with my life (getting a good job, taking care of my mum, etc.). Delaying my viva will certainly damage my well-being. However, I don’t know whether emailing my supervisor will undermine my professionalism (the art of separating personal and work).

I am in my 20s with no experience of experiencing sudden loss of my loved ones and this news will definitely affect me in the immediate future. And I don’t write this post to look for sympathy or anything. This news will certainly make me appreciate life and moments that we have now.

Should I e-mail my supervisor to state my current condition and hopefully she could do something regarding my PhD limbo?

EDIT: I do have a very good relationship with my supervisor. However, I don’t want to come across as someone who tries to milk this tragedy for my own gain. Therefore, I am juggling the decision whether it will be fine or not to tell my supervisor and at the same time to request viva speed up.

Yesterday, my mum was recently diagnosed with cancer. However, we have yet to know what stage is her cancer and whether the cancer can still be removed from her body or it has metastasized to other parts of organs. This is a major health concern and it will of course affect my health and mental being for the next several years.

I am a PhD student and I have thankfully successfully submitted my thesis last few months. So far, I have yet to receive the news regarding my viva. Given the history of my university and accounts from other students’ experiences, my department is very tardy in processing viva examination. It can take up to 6 months for students to finally undergo viva and then a few months for correction afterwards. Now I have to worry and be stressful for two things: my mum’s health condition and my viva.

I want to e-mail my supervisor about the possibility of speeding up my viva process. I have been well prepared for my viva for a month. I have re-read my thesis multiple times and re-read the journals that I cited. I really hope that my department can speed up my viva so I can move on with my life (getting good job, have my mum taken care of etc.). Delaying my viva will certainly damage my state-of-health being. However, I don’t know whether emailing my supervisor will undermine my professionalism (the art of separating personal and work).

I am in my 20s with no experience of experiencing sudden loss of my loved ones and this news will definitely affect me in the immediate future. And I don’t write this post to look for sympathy or anything. This news will certainly affect me to appreciate life and moments that we have now.

Should I e-mail my supervisor to state my current condition and hopefully she could do something regarding my PhD limbo?

Thank you

Last two weeks, my supervisor texted me to inform that he had received the reports from my examiners and my PhD viva date had been set somewhere mid December. I was so ecstatic when I heard that news. However, it has been two weeks since my supervisor informed me that my date has been set yet he has been silent regarding the reports he received from examiners. For the past few days, I have been having nervous thoughts of why my supervisor was so silent regarding the reports. I texted her today and yet he doesn;t reply. I know the viva is still in two weeks but I also need to know a little bit of outcome from the examiners. Should I take this as bad news?

This question already has an answer here:

In my university, after passing a viva voce examination, it will take more than 3 months before the university issues an official letter/transcript/certificate to certify that one is officially a PhD holder. Of course, after PhD viva, it will take some time to perform correction as stipulated by examiners. It can be major/minor correction. After a PhD candidate passes viva exam, is she/he unofficially a PhD holder? Considering that one has yet to successfully correct one’s thesis as instructed by examiners during viva exam.

In a defense meeting, the PhD candidate was struggling to answer a question. His supervisor attempted to clarify the issue, but the examiner (chair of the jury) kindly reminded him that supervisor is not allowed to speak in the defense meeting. Somebody asked why and he replied:

The supervisor/advisor cannot criticise (because he has already
approved the thesis to reach the defense stage) or support (because he
had to prepare his student before the defense) the defense
presentation.

I wonder how much this policy is practiced in PhD defense meetings.

Is it acceptable to use personal experience when opening in presentation of my thesis as long as it is relevant and contribute to the presentation of the literature, justification or methodology of thesis?

I do not intend to reference or cite any of my experiences as a source, but rather, I am seeking to use my experiences to begin with the research story.

For instance,

“…I experienced event X and I observed event Y, which may potentially be manifestations of the phenomenon described in the thesis theory, with event A being a possible example of B and event C being an example of D.”.

Something to this extent.

I’ve witnessed various thesis defenses and seen many presentations on Youtube. They gave me an idea of adding a “personal touch” to the presentation.

Please note that I’m referring to my thesis defense rather than the thesis itself which focuses strictly on the hypothesis, methodology and findings in third persons.

English is not my mother tongue. Please forgive any misspelling and inconsistencies.

Thank you.

I have submitted the PhD thesis for examination more than 2 months ago. I am currently working with full time job as a researcher in industry. While I am still subject to my supervisor as I have yet to undergo viva voce, I am tired with how my supervisor is treating me now. She likes to boss me around with work at university.

She asked me to provide training to new PhD students in the lab. While I don’t really mind do it during my free time (i.e., weekend), she forced me to do it as soon as possible so that she can get the results and publish them in short time. This has led me to ask for leave from company just so I could demonstrate lab techniques to her new students.

Furthermore, she nonchalantly gave my phone number to new grad students to contact me should any problems arise in the lab without my permission. To make things worse, I was the one held responsible to troubleshoot the problems if the experiment was not successful. Also, she just e-mailed me any papers or manuscripts for me to analyze/check the statistics without me being involved in the project. Then I found out that she didn’t even acknowledge me when the paper was published (as co-author/ acknowledgement section).

I am tired of the way she’s been treating me. I know I am still bound to her as I have yet to undergo viva. I am scared to tell her that she needs to back off as this will definitely affect my viva voce. What should I do?

I have been awarded a PhD today with minor corrections (yay!). I am not very relieved yet, because I signed a job contract that says that the deadline to provide a proof of a PhD award is September. I tried to search for the answer in the research regulations of my university but it was not there. I also asked my supervisor and she told me we’re going to try to do that. Do you know roughly how long does it take usually to receive the letter after the viva in the UK? (minor correction that need to be sent to my supervisor).

I am preparing for my PhD oral defense in engineering. It is constituted of two parts: first, a 40-minutes long (public) presentation; then, Q&A with the jury.

Question: Is it advisable to give a handout with presentation slides to the jury?

On such document, there would be 2-3 slides per page plus a large margin so that the jury could take notes, as well as the bibliography with references I cite in the slides. There are about 30 slides, which are very illustrative (i.e. without complex equations, but rather made of diagrams with little text).

The pros would be to make easier for the jury to take notes, to follow the slides (slides are projected above my head in the amphitheater) or to go back if they missed a step. Moreover, most of the jury are not native speaker, when both the slides and the talk will be given in English.

The cons would be that they could be tempted to ‘fast-forward’ and/or get distracted instead of concentrating on my talk. (Even if I do acknowledge it’s hard to be fully concentrated during 40 minutes straight.) They would also not benefit from the explanations (i.e. the step by step construction of diagrams using beamer’s slides).


There are no rules fixed, neither by the University, nor by the common practice in my sub-field. My supervisor has no opinion on the topic.

I submitted my PhD thesis more than a month ago. I was told by the Postgraduate Department that I would have my oral examination in six weeks. It’s been six weeks already and I haven’t heard any news. I heard from former students that in some cases, the viva could take up to three months to be held.

I am so stressful right now. I have been unemployed for more than 6 months now and I am running out of money. Currently, I am living with my parents to cover my expenses. While they welcome my living with them, they seem to be disappointed that I have yet to land a job. Not to mention I have to worry about my viva as well. I have unsuccessfully applied for jobs while waiting for the viva. Most employers didn’t want to hire me because they viewed me as overqualified and they thought I would leave the job once I obtained my Ph.D.

I have reached out to my supervisor to get the information when my viva will be but she said it all depended on examiners. It’s so disappointing to know how unprofessional my examiners are. I know they are busy with their work but to think that I paid a large sum of money to get my thesis examined, it’s just so unacceptable. Does anyone know what should I do?

EDIT: Large sum of money refers to thesis examination fee. My university increased thesis examination fee by two-fold to get faster feedback from examiners. Although my university has changed its policy in viva examination by making it faster hence increment in thesis fee, it still disappointing to find out that it stays the same.