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Problems with PhD

When entering into a research degree, students are set up with the expectation of receiving adequate support and supervision, efficient equipment required to complete their research, help when writing up a thesis and finally when the thesis has been completed, a fair viva voce examination. However sometimes these expectations are not upheld and students are left in the position of having considerable supervision issues.

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Problems with your supervisor

  • No response from them
  • Lack of adequate communication – (communication is vital between a student and a supervisor as they will help you from the start with the things you are finding difficult. Ask your supervisor questions about anything you are unsure of – any question is a good question)
  • Suggesting information that does not fit in with your thesis
  • Being on extended holidays or breaks – if a supervisor is on a holiday or on leave you should try and set up a secondary supervisor to help you through their absence and to avoid disruption to your course.
  • Not providing you with enough feedback
  • Not representing you properly in a panel meeting

It is always important to try and form a healthy relationship with your supervisor. A good relationship can mean the difference between completing your research properly or not. Communication is key; if you have any issues it is always helpful to make your supervisor aware of them, a lot of the time supervisors have claimed not to know that the student is struggling and therefore felt no need to give them extra support.

Finally be realistic with your expectations, supervisors are very busy researchers and are often fulfilling many roles at the same time so its not always possible to receive a response from them straight away.

Problems with materials

  • Not receiving adequate materials from the university
  • Relying on a supervisor to obtain materials which they never followed through with

Other problems could be that when completing viva voce examination, examiners are too critical of vital research or conclusions written in the thesis, usually because the examiners do not have specialist knowledge of the field that is being examined and therefore are harder to convince that your evidence of research exists.

How can we help?

Often issues can be resolved internally and you will find you do not need legal help, however if there is anything you are unsure of and would like some advice on, Stephensons will be there to guide you through.

We are able to: follow up any inquiries regarding returning to a degree if you have left or been told to leave, challenge cases where supervision has been inadequate and it has negatively impacted your research, advise review panels to change a decision, help you when changing supervisors and even gain compensation in cases where the students has been treated unfairly and inappropriately by the university.

Your rights matter to us and we are always happy to help no matter how small the case is.  For any more information on how we can help you, get in touch with a member of our team on 01616 966 229.

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