I am a graduate student in pure Mathematics. My supervisor gave me an idea to work on, and in 6-9 months I found enough stuff to write 3 papers. After I did that, I was eager to work on some new idea, but my advisor only gave me “learning projects”, so that I just read many papers without doing any sort of research. After 6 months, I would like to start a research project, but all this reading didn’t really help me in finding one (of course I thought about questions on my own, but since the area is quite old and competitive, I was not able to find a reasonable question that was not already answered). My advisor still does not give me anything concrete to work on, but merely suggests to read this or that paper. All of this is very weird, because his other students are treated very differently, they all have projects that started from ideas of the supervisor, and some of them even publish with him!

I am quite desperate, because I get really anxious about wasting my limited time, and I would like to know what you think about this.

About a year ago when I was a first-year graduate student, my advisor wanted me to follow up on a project left behind by an honors student. I agreed because, at that time, I thought the topic was important and the findings were rather interesting. However, over the past year, I was busy with other projects and my qualifying exam, so this project was put on hold for almost a year. This summer, my advisor urges me to get it done as soon as possible.

I’d be more than happy to, had I not realized the original project is not methodologically sound. My RAs who re-coded the original data share the same feeling: The experimenter made various mistakes and was overly flexible, yet all data points entered into final analyses. I don’t want to spend months chasing after effects that don’t exist. Moreover, due to the complex study design, I can foresee what a nightmare it can be to build computational models in the future.

I suggested radical changes that make the experiment more rigorous and subsequent modeling efforts more tractable, but my advisor refused my proposal several times, arguing that making any changes will only delay the starting time. I feel stuck: On the one hand, I don’t want to pursue this project as it is since it’s most definitely going to fail; on the other, I don’t have the courage (or “moral capitals”) to defy my advisor because I have put off this project for so long. To make matters worse, I only have one advisor, so if our relationship deteriorates, I have no one else to turn to.

Any advice on what I should do is much appreciated!

I will try to make this brief. I am a student at a prominent university in the UK, and while I was showing my thesis work, a website, to my supervisor, the website crashed. Then I was asked to close the browser and open it again.

When I did, it seems a tab of adult content was open from the previous day with explicit content, when that happened, I immediately (without thinking) pressed Cmd-W to close it but it was evident he saw it.

The conversation continued normally and my supervisor completely ignored it. I feel very embarrassed and I am afraid I could be reported or anything.

Am I in trouble? Will I face issues because of this? Thank you in advance.

I will try to make this brief. I am a student at a prominent university in the UK, and while I was showing my thesis work, a website, to my supervisor, the website crashed. Then I was asked to close the browser and open it again.

When I did, it seems a tab of adult content was open from the previous day with explicit content, when that happened, I immediately (without thinking) pressed Cmd-W to close it but it was evident he saw it.

The conversation continued normally and my supervisor completely ignored it. I feel very embarrassed and I am afraid I could be reported or anything.

Am I in trouble? Will I face issues because of this? Thank you in advance.

I am a postdoc and currently co-supervising a novel PhD student who works very very slow and needs to be spoon-fed most of the time (which is reasonable considering she’s in early stages of her PhD). We are working on a very hot topic and have defined a research problem to work on. She has been working on it for 2 months, but I’m afraid we are going to miss out on publication due to her slow pace. I, however, can see where the work is going and can do it on my own very quickly and maybe get it published right way. This work is an incremental research on something I did before, but for the student to climb the learning curve, it will take a considerable time.

Thinking about this, I have two options:

  1. Let her take her time and do research as any usual PhD student but
    push her to be quicker (not sure how).
  2. Do the research work myself and get it published much sooner than pursuing option 1 above, and list her as a co-author.

Now option 1 gives the student a fair-go in risk of missing out to another research group that may be doing similar research. Even under this option, I’m not sure if the student will really do a fantastic job eventually.
Option 2 seems unethical to me because a student should have his/her time to learn and experiment, but will allow her to learn the publication process and contribute to the production of the paper.

What do you think I should do?

I did my graduate studies in Mathematics at two completely different universities, A and B, from my country. During my studies from university A, I had a very good professor X in theoretical statistics. In my studies from university B, I had a very good professor Y in stochastic calculus. Professors X and Y do not know each other and have not worked together before. Moreover, although both belong to a statistics department, their areas of research are not exactly the same. University A is good and is near my home. University B is top ranked and far from my home.

In my country, opportunities of job at university for young researchers are little, so doing a PhD at two different universities would certainly enlarge my possiblities for a job in the future. My question is whether it would be acceptable to pursue a PhD at university A with advisor Y and co-advisor X. I mean, is it acceptable to do most of the part of the thesis with professor Y and some research with professor X, although both areas of research are not exactly the same, but both are from a statistics department?

For co-supervised PhD in USA, I am wondering if it is possible to have two supervisor in two un-related field. (For instance, telecommunication, and database). These two fields are about 90 degree dispart (just rough estimate). If this possible? If yes, should the thesis include work from both field?

I am doing my PhD in a high prestige UK university.
I am finishing my second year and I have funding for three years in total.
I have already two papers finished (pending to be published) and working on two more.

I like research and I like being pushed to achieve the best I can. What I don’t like however is introducing unnecessary stress into my daily life. With this I mean the following:

I think that it is totally acceptable and expected of me to work overtime when nearing a deadline. Usually the month before a deadline I work 12 hours per day, 6-7 days a week. This is totally fine and to some extent I enjoy it.

My supervisor is a brilliant researcher. Young and successful in his field with many publications in high prestige venues. However, he’s also the classic stereotype of the super-workaholic academic who works 7 days a week, from early in the morning until late at night.

It’s common for him to send messages or emails at 23.00 or during weekends asking for something. This could range from asking to complete a certain task or a simple “What is the status of X?”.

I find this exhausting. To work hard during the week I need to have a “safe space” where I know that I can relax without worrying about work. Otherwise I feel demotivated to work hard. Due to this behavior I have anxiety issues. Recently, after a very stressful period mostly due to work, my hair started falling. This was identified by my GP as “Telogen effluvium”. It can happen after very stressful periods. Thankfully it stopped but it’s a clear sign that I’ve been stressing too much.

Ignoring my emails and messages is not an option for me. The reason is that I know that he genuinely cares about my PhD and many times his messages may be about the changes he has done on my paper. Ignoring this makes me feel ungrateful.

My most important problem is that, looking back, 70% of the stress introduced by supervisor could have been totally avoided if he could relax a bit. He’s micromanaging me and wants to know everything. And many times we could have taken a month more on a project instead of rushing things.

Moreover, because he’s always pressuring me to do as many things as possible as fast as possible, I feel that I cannot do any quality work. I prefer quality for quantity. He’s the opposite.

I have tried to convey my feelings to him multiple times already. He does not seem to get it. Or he may back off for 2-3 weeks and then resumes his previous behavior. In a recent confrontation I mentioned the words “unnecessary stress” and he didn’t take it very well.

Many colleagues have told me that I should be thankful because he’s actively working on my PhD while other supervisors are totally absent. I find this unfair. None of the two should be OK.

Overall I feel burned-out and demotivated. This saddens me because I really like my PhD and research in general.

However, I don’t think I can take this for one more year.

Question: How to deal with a workaholic supervisor who is introducing unnecessary stress into my daily life?

p.s. It’s important to mention that my supervisor probably suffers from anxiety as well. This is somewhat known by his PhD students and he has implied it one or two times.

I have been working for two years after my Master and I am now looking for a PhD. I got a PhD offer from one university, met the person who would supervise me and told them I am very interested, while making it clear that I also applied to other PhD offers and am waiting for answers. They said that that it was not an issue for them.

But now he just sent me an anonymous paper and suggested to me peer-reviewing it to help me “get a foot on the ladder”. I am really confused by this proposition since:

  • I am still working for my company
  • I am still searching for PhD offers to apply, which takes me all my free time,
  • I never reviewed a paper before.

So, I am not really in the mood to do this now since I have more urgent concerns. However, I do not want to upset this potential supervisor, nor make them believe that I am not motivated.

So, should I do this review or not, and if I don’t, how can I refuse without upsetting this potential supervisor?

Let me precise that I am likely to do my PhD there if my other applications don’t get accepted.

EDIT

The paper in question is anonymous and I am asked to peer review it for a journal publication. The paper subject is in my field of research but not really in the field of my potential supervisor.

I have been working for two years after my Master and I am now looking for a PhD. I got a PhD offer from one university, met the person who would supervise me and told them I am very interested, while making it clear that I also applied to other PhD offers and am waiting for answers. They said that that it was not an issue for them.

But now he just sent they a paper and suggest to me reviewing it to help me “get a foot on the ladder”. I am really confused by this proposition since:

  • I am still working for my company
  • I am still searching for PhD offers to apply, which takes me all my free time,
  • I never reviewed a paper before.

So, I am not really in the mood to do this now since I have more urgent concerns. However, I do not want to upset this potential supervisor, nor make them believe that I am not motivated.

So, should I do this review or not, and if I don’t, how can I refuse without upsetting this potential supervisor?

Let me precise that I am likely to do my PhD there if my other applications don’t get accepted.

EDIT

The paper in question is anonymous and I am asked to peer review it for a journal publication. The paper subject is in my field of research but not really in the field of my potential supervisor.