I am a PhD student. At the beginning of my study, my supervisor told me that they are able to help me with my topic. However, later I found that they cannot even understand what is my topic. They wasting my time for more about one and a half year without any comments or help with my topic. Then, I worked entirely alone with my topic. I have done the first chapter of my study, they asked me to be co-authors with me for nothing but just because they are my supervisors. I refused this. Then, they asked me to add them in the acknowledgment as they are the supervisors of this project. They asked me to write this in every single paper of my Ph.D. papers. They did not help me with anything, they even cannot understand the difference between my objectives. My question, Must I acknowledge them in my papers?

I’m asking this from the perspective of the future supervisor. After a round of interviews I approached the highest ranked candidate. My error was not including a deadline in the initial email.

Now a week has passed from the last response I got from the candidate. I have sent another reminder recently. However, my patience is running out. I understand that of course the candidate might be trying to buy some time to make up their mind, and probably waiting for other offers.

Are there any other options apart from sending an ultimatum? If so, how much longer should I wait to filter out external reasons for the lack of responses? I.e. sickness, unforeseen events, etc.? This is in Europe.

I started a PhD programme 6 months ago. During the selection process you were asked which areas would u like to work in. My studies specialization is in microbiology and molecular biology, I clearly stated that i wanted to carry on my research in food microbiology because I carry out my master thesis in this area. What is more, after the interview I was contacted by a professor working in this area because my profile was totally fitting the PhD they were looking for.

However, a big professor was also interested in me (the rector of the university) and directly contacted me to work with him in biosensors applied to food. I tried to go back to my interest but I found the door closed (some matter of power around…). Despite of this, I though biosensors sounded very interesting and I would enjoy it.

After the PhD kick-off I found out that we did not share the same definition of a biosensor.. they were meaning just sensors made with organic polymers. I was told to do a PhD proposal in a short time of a topic I had no knowledge in.

Nowadays, my supervisor does not follow me and they group is so new that there is only a postdoc researcher who is an engineer, we have nobody from biotech,food science or a chemist who works with sensors in the “bio” part. I am totally alone in my research in a field I do not know. I told my supervisor and he told me to look for somebody who help me in the literature to help me. what the …..?? I really fear i do not manage to finish this PhD successfully.

I started looking for another PhD opportunities and I found one which I totally felt in love with. I would like to write the professor in advance but I am not sure whether I should mention that I am already a PhD student.

What would you do? In the applications I am doing I am commenting I am a PhD student that does not have interest nor the background in the area I was assigned..

Thank you,

I am second year CompSci student in Europe and in a short while I’ll have to start my undergraduate thesis research. The domain I want to research is cloud computing. One of my lecture professors suggested that I contact a master’s professor regarding my undergraduate research, saying that he’ll be alright with supervising my thesis research. My only problem is, how do I ask a professor I do not know to supervise my undergraduate thesis research?

I am a Ph.D. student. My supervisor frequently tells me if you want to do a review for journals, login into my account and perform the review. He never reviews any paper. He is very lazy and I have to do all of the submission of my articles into journal system myself using his account.

A while ago, I wanted to check a journal and I saw a pending invitation for review from a famous researcher, which I love his works very much, as associate editor of that journal. I accepted review and downloaded manuscript. I read the manuscript and wrote a detailed review of it, six pages long!. I recommended a major revision. It takes a lot of my time to read the references and perform the review. In my review, I suggested a set of improvements to the authors which I think will help them improve their work.

Today, I wanted to submit the review using my supervisor account. I suddenly noticed that my supervisor submitted a review. I am very upset as it took much of my time to perform this task. I read his review, a very short note to reject the manuscript, less than half a page long. Other anonymous reviewers recommended a minor revision.

What should I do? Is there any way to make the best use of my review? not to waste my time.

I’m currently finishing the corrections of the PhD I’ve done in the UK. In the meantime, I’ve returned to my home country, Portugal, and started working at a hospital as a medical statistician. I have several (no scientific tasks) to do and I would like to continue doing research. I have several projects that I would like to carry one. Some are not very complicated and I believe they could be interesting master degree thesis. While in the UK, I’ve supervised some undergrads and I really enjoyed. I would like to continue supervising students.

Does anyone have any experience or guidance about how could I start to supervise research students (proposing small projects)? I don’t need to be affiliated with a university to be a supervisor as my master thesis supervisor was not a teacher there. But, do I need to be affiliated with a university to propose projects? I imagine I can only be a supervisor in Portugal or has anyone heard about master degree supervisors from other countries? I understand this may differ between countries. I’m looking for some tips/advice/comments on how to start supervising students.

Thank you!

Recently I have finished my Masters. My relation with my thesis supervisor is very bad. He is a professor. I am very disappointed with his mentoring. He is very lazy and always kept himself busy in works except researching. I expressed my dissatisfaction toward him directly. That makes him furious on me. I have planned to pursue my Masters degree from university in North America region. Three reference letter are required. I don’t want my thesis supervisor as a referee. Other faculty members in our department are agree to refer me. But will it affect negatively in the admission procedure if I don’t submit any reference letter from my thesis supervisor?

This is a borderline IPS question, but I feel the academic aspects will be more relevant.

One year ago I switched supervisor. Went to him with a formulated project (but no concrete results yet) and I am now at a stage where I should discuss authorship, which I haven’t done before. This supervisor provided much needed guidance and support in meetings, but I am personally of the opinion that I should be the sole author of the paper, though this is obviously a grey area.

My question is then two-fold:

Does his contribution qualify him objectively (i.e. in most academic situation) as a co author ?
I have a hard time telling whether his contribution is enough for him to ask me to include him as a co-author.

On my part I have:

  • Formulated the core idea around which the paper revolves
  • Found a fitting mathematical formalism
  • Run all numerics
  • Ideated and wrote all mathematical proofs required

On his part he has:

  • Guided me in what could be considered an interesting result in the field (e.g. this would be an interesting statement, can you show that it is true?)
  • Guided me in constructing a coherent story around my idea compatible with the field

On the one hand, this paper would have never been born without his guidance. On the other hand I believe is contribution to the content is not big. I would like your thoughts on this, so that I can ponder the various sides of this and be ready if a discussion arises.

How do I discuss this with him?
I have a feeling he won’t ask me for co-authorship, but I might be wrong and indeed he might expect it as a counterpart to the time he dedicated to me.

I would like to bring up the topic in a way that recognizes the value of his support and express my opinion on authorship without causing conflict (with the person that will in all likelihood write me references for the future)?

One way I thought this could go is to just ask something like: “I will be writing up. Do you think such and such journal would be a good outlet for this work? Do you think we should author this together?”

I believe this sends the message: I am somewhat open/uncertain about co-authorship, what do you think? and leaves the initiative on the topic to him.

Some clarification : sole authorship is considered a good thing in my field, I am at a loss in assessing how much.

Also, I am responsible for my own funding which comes from a scholarship, none of my supervisor had anything to do with it.

Finally, my previous supervisor has explicitly stated he wouldn’t require authorship on this (saying he didn’t contribute enough).

I’m at the stage of my project whereby I need to perform some task that I have 0% background on originally. Hence I need to read papers and books to understand what I need to do.

So after burying myself in manuscripts, I got horribly confused and decided to email my supervisor some questions to help me understand. He has done the analysis before and is quite well versed in it.

Can this be seen as a bad thing? meaning I’m not independent? In the meantime, I’m worried that I understood wrong thing prior to start of the analysis and end up completely screwing things up and wasting time.

I am a second year international Masters student in the theoretical hard sciences at a top-ranked university in North America. I was very lucky to have a professor, let’s call him A, vouch on my behalf and enroll me into my present university for the graduate program using a fellowship external to the department.

Soon after I started my Masters, I found that my supervisor A has a very bad reputation in the department and does not really care about his students. I was also keen to do my Masters with him, but then switch to a different professor, let’s call him B, within the department for my PhD.

As it turned out, I did a class with professor B, and tried hard to impress him during the class. He took the cue and understood that I wanted to work with him. He was also in need of a Masters student, so that when I asked him for a research project at the end of the course (eight months into my Masters program) to keep in touch with him for when I apply for a PhD, he misunderstood and assumed that I wanted to switch to him immediately during my Masters. I panicked a bit and cleared the confusion immediately.

However, I pondered about the opportunity to switch while still in my Masters and after a few weeks, I entertained him with the idea. He then set the ball rolling and I started to work with him immediately after.

As it turned out, I visited a few relatives during the summer break and, seeing that they are so successful and wealthy without going through the pains of graduate school, I pondered if it was all really worth it. In the meantime, the unspoken assumption between me and my supervisor was that I would continue on for a PhD if everything went smoothly. However, after just two months of work with supervisor B,I became disillusioned and wanted to leave the field. I was working on the topic that I always wanted to work in but I felt no satisfaction deep within. I wanted to move into a hot field like machine learning in industry.

Therefore, I took the plunge when my supervisor B asked during the fall if I would like to do a PhD with him and mentioned that I cannot continue after a Masters. I told him that I was not sure what I wanted to do after my Masters because I did not want to make the conversation awkward. However, since then, I spent most of my time working on machine learning and scraped my way through research work assigned by my supervisor B just before the appointment time every week.

Come January, I was told to write my thesis. I was also asked what I wanted to do afterwards and I was honest with him this time. He was a bit perplexed and I probably should have kept my mouth shut. He advised me to write my thesis and study whatever I need to get a job in machine learning afterwards.

Sometimes I shudder at what I have done over the last two years. I was not really expecting to go through all this drama. Instead, I was really hoping to do a PhD and go for postdoc. But one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was going through drama that most grad students don’t go through. Add to that, international students in my department usually continue after Masters onto a PhD and I feel like the odd one out. If a student asks me about my future plans, I either tell them that I haven’t decided or that I need to take a break.

I just want to know how bad this situation is compared to what others have gone through or seen, or if this is not that bad or unethical a situation.