It is frequently mentioned that PhD students are employed in Europe (e.g. the Netherlands, Scandinavia, etc). I still don’t understand how this affects a PhD program.

What is the difference when one enrols as a PhD student in the US or has a work contract in the Netherlands? Is there any specific difference in responsibilities, expectations, freedom, etc?

Please make a tangible comparison rather than listing various possibilities. If a student enrols in a PhD program in the US or in the Netherlands, how will their work and life be different?

I am currently a masters student that is due to finish early next year. I have a scholarship which covers costs and pays me a modest wage up until and including PhD. I would like to do my PhD but I am concerned about the job opportunities that will be available to me after graduating due to my age and skill set. I would be in my mid 30’s when graduating and would like to work in a non academic, non laboratory environment after graduating. At some time later in life I would like to return to academia but at least after graduating I would prefer to not do so.
How are somewhat older PhD’s perceived by employers outside of academia ? Do they have a harder time being employed ? I have read PhD’s are often considered over qualified or to focused in their knowledge making them not as desirable to employers, is this still the case ?

My friend is soon to obtain her doctoral degree in applied physics and start postdoc. She is provided by the department a chance to choose what to be displayed on her degree (between D.Eng. and Ph.D., but both in applied physics). She is actually doing purely theoretical condensed matter physics although her department is named applied physics. She says that she will try to stay in the same academia, but not excluding the possibility of moving out if not going well.

She asked me and it’s not quite clear to us what the difference might be and what might be affected in the future.

It is frequently mentioned that PhD students are employed in Europe (e.g., The Netherlands, Scandinavia, etc). I still don’t understand how this affects a PhD program?

What is the difference when one enrols as a PhD student in the US or have a work contract in The Netherlands? Is there any specific difference in responsibilities, expectations, freedom, etc?

Please make a tangible comparison rather than listing various possibilities. If a student enrol for a PhD program in the US or in The Netherlands, how will his work and life be different?

In some European countries, PhD programs are free. As I understand, PhD opening depends on the research funds of the supervisor. In other words, PhD research is funded by a national agency or EU.

Some countries offer the programs for free and an international student in the UK should pay about $20,000 per annum?

In addition to the research cost (which is funded through the same routes), a PhD student has other expenses for the university, which is provided by the tuition fee in the UK, while in countries with free PhD programs, the governments provides the supports (correct me if I am wrong).

My question is: Why/how such governments support PhD education of international students? And if it is reasonable, why isn’t it the case in the UK?

In some European countries, PhD programs are free. As I understand, PhD opening depends on the research funds of the supervisor. In other words, PhD research is funded by a national agency or EU.

Some countries offer the programs for free and an international student in the UK should pay about $20,000 per annum?

In addition to the research cost (which is funded through the same routes), a PhD student has other expenses for the university, which is provided by the tuition fee in the UK, while in countries with free PhD programs, the governments provides the supports (correct me if I am wrong).

My question is: Why/how such governments support PhD education of international students? And if it is reasonable, why isn’t it the case in the UK?

I began my PhD in September 2017 as a part-time student and have recently (May 2018) switched over to full-time studies. I am trying very hard to understand what it is like to be a PhD student, and how should I go about thinking about it and putting myself in that mindset. Essentially, what I would like to ask you all is, what mindset should I have while working on my PhD, and what are some mental exercises/tips that I can meditate on to reach that mindset? Thanks in advance for your help!

I’m at the stage of my PhD where I’m beginning to write my thesis.

At the beginning of my PhD, my supervisor asked me to go back and repeat some work done by the student who had the project before me. This was meant to be a ‘breaking in gently’ exercise, but ended up taking over 18 months because of missing data and incorrect conclusions necessitating things to essentially be redeveloped from scratch. I think in fairness there was a certain degree of naivety on the part of my supervisor not realising how long things take – he’s quite hands off, especially in recent years as he got elected to become head of the school.

That said, this situation has caused a fair deal of conflict over the last 4 years. My supervisor resents the fact that I spent so much time not ‘getting anywhere’, and I resent wasting a large proportion of my funding not really doing anything useful (the previous work has been published, and my new contributions don’t deviate so significantly to warrant an additional publication). The whole situation is compounded by the fact that the student in question was the ‘golden girl’ of the lab, so any criticism of her work falls on deaf ears (its something of an in-joke within the group, as the girl in question is generally understood not to be terribly great in the lab).

I recently gave a draft of a few chapters to my supervisor, and without reading them fully he immediately asked them to be re-written to avoid any criticism of the previous work, citing me as the issue, rather than the previous work (multiple people have verified the mistakes with the previous work).

I’m unsure of what to do, and would welcome some advice. I don’t really need my supervisor at this point as I already have a job and don’t need his permission to submit, but at the same time would like to ameliorate the issue to reach some kind of compromise. Equally, I don’t want to yield to his will, as after wasting 18 months fixing the previous work, I want to tell the story.

To clarify, and as I can’t comment – my supervisor wants me to ignore the entire 18 months of work. For obvious reasons this is undesirable.

I am a PhD student and research assistant at a US university. During this past spring, a group of newer students took to harassing me and blaming me for all of their failures even though I was the only one out of a group of more than 10 to actually commit to helping them. They have taken it so far that they have even tried to have me expelled. Even though my adviser prevented the expulsion, he still takes the stance that it is all my fault and is trying to force me to graduate this December even though I will not be ready. I am deeply worried that this is going to result in failure of my defense (by my adviser’s design) to the point that I don’t get any sleep.

I have been working at home now for nearly four months to protect myself from emotional and physical harm from these people. My property on campus has been vandalized, equipment that I built disassembled/defaced, and worse. Now that they can’t reach me at home, they have begun to take it out on my girlfriend who still goes to campus and works in our research group.

We have been told by university officials to file a complaint on their hotline, but we know that once the three other students find out a complaint was filed, they will undoubtedly fabricate another story to take it out on us. Two of these people hold US gov’t security clearances and our adviser thinks they are infallible and are not capable of behaving this way.

These people have been entrenched in their personal problems (which I have not been enlightened on) with me for so long that they are constantly angry. Our last group meeting ended with them arguing with my girlfriend. They then pursued her to our lab to continue the argument. I just don’t know what to do, it seems like the university just does not care what is happening. An HR representative is involved, but claims it is not his job to resolve the issue. She was set to go to Argonne National Lab in a few weeks to run experiments, but now, due to the fact those other people are going, she has cancelled her experiments because she is afraid of being alone with them (my adviser won’t pay for me to go anymore).

Does anyone out there have any advice? I’m worried the situation has progressed so far that I need to worry about hiring a lawyer.

I am a 3rd-year computer engineering student at a mid-tier state school with a high GPA (3.97/4.0), top of my class, and 1 semester worth of research. I am also currently participating in a very prestigious REU program, so I do have a decent amount of research experience. I have also taken the GRE and done pretty well (mid 80s) percentile in verb/quant and 99th percentile in AWA. I’ve also basically narrowed down my research interests to 2 fields, so I have a general idea of what I’d like to specialize in. My goal is to become a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and I’m starting to contemplate applying to grad schools. I really want a PhD because I know that it is absolutely necessary for my goals.

My only problem is that I am afraid of doing the PhD, because I feel that I won’t remember everything (or a good amount) of everything from undergrad. This especially scares me because despite my successes in undergrad, I’m not sure that I could pass the qualifying exams. I guess I’m just afraid of the unknown; do you think that I should just go for it?

Thanks, sorry if my question comes off as rambling; I really want to earn a PhD so I can be a professor or faculty member at some point and knowing that I could fail is very scary.