I am currently doing my MSc thesis (in an area of science). I have completed the exams but I am having real difficulties with the research project. Both my supervisors are based remotely and when I ask them for help with the coding I am doing one of them says she is too busy going to conferences to Skype me and tells me to go back to previous 'training' we did: this training consisted of two Skype calls which were made 6 months ago and I did not really follow due to having problems understanding her English at times (made worse by poor sound quality and microphones). The second supervisor just keeps describing the task which I need to do, but is not explaining how to do it or how it works, even though I have said that I need some more guidance as I have limited programming experience. If I ask for guidance, he just describes what I need to do again: 'you need to do this and get some results' without explaining how to do it. I have tried for months but they are just not helping me, and the stuff is too specialized to get much help from anyone else.

I know, suck it up and stop whining, that is what I am trying to do, but theoretically, would it come back to bite me if I terminate and leave with a PGDip (or whatever you get for completing the exam component), as I feel like I could use the summer to get back in touch with my previous supervisor to continue with the project we were working on together. The offer I have for a PhD is unconditional and based on undergraduate results so I could theoretically leave the MSc now and then start the PhD regardless. The PhD is in a completely different area, not related to the MSc, and it is the only PhD offer I have received so I feel like this is all a pointless exercise and feel like my motivation to do this thesis is draining away from me every day, as it is mostly 'training' for a particular area which I know I am not going into now as I have not received offers in this area.

1 Answer 1


I would advise you to go on with your MSc degree, maybe right now the thesis doesn't seem relevant but the topic it covers may turn out to be essential in future (getting a job for example). Moreover by completing it you will learn how to code (to some degree at least) which is exceptionally valuable these days in every field.

having said that, what i would advise you to do is either asking somebody for help (or paying them to help you) by help i mean sitting with you by the same desk (or using TeamViewer) and writing code with you. learning on your own by referring to books materials etc is the most effort and time consuming way if you are a beginner (later on it is the best way to learn coding). Another thing i would advise you to do is online courses, programming on beginner level is probably the best covered skill you can learn in the internet. The courses are cheap and truly amazing for beginners.

you can try Coursera, but remember that courses where you don't have to submit your code to autofrader are not very good in teaching real coding skills.

Udemy courses are mostly video based and assignments are presented and then solved through video. there are interactive code assignments in more recent courses only.

you can try datacamp if the topics they cover are relevant to you. I find datacamp to be too easy - everything is interactive (you type code in your browser) and most of the code is provided, the user many times is asked only to fill it with some methods. datacamp removes all the stretches of programming and presents you with methods of doing stuff, but without going through the typos etc you will nkt learn too much IMHO.

there is also edx and LinkedIn learning and probably dozens more but i didn't try them out.

i would advise you to try udemy first and pay somebody to teach abd most importantly learn coding (by finishing your thesis), its the most important skill on a job market and in academia in 21st century. (sorry for formatting of text)

  • Hi pezet, time has passed now but if you are interested I did something along the lines of what you advised: I went to a PhD student who had done similar work to get the ball rolling with the code and then went on to finish the MSc thesis.
    – Tom
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 22:30
  • that's cool, didn't notice the date though :p
    – pezet
    Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 5:49

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