I am about to finish my first year of MS leading to Ph.D. Our team works on cable Robotics. At first, when I joined prof asked me to do a computer vision problem of tracking. I spent 5 months to do that job with my coursework as well, and then he asked me to do a human-robot interaction job. I did that as well within 2 months. I've written 2 conferences and 1 journal and about to start the 2nd journal. But my supervisor is not happy with me. He always complains to me about you are slow in learning and doing things. I've changed my major and working in a country where I have a language barrier as well. My prof is not helping me in my research work, he is working on a different field. I came here for the purpose of learning from the Prof. And he will assign me some material to learn as I've just an undergrad degree. What should I do? Should I ask him to split my degree into 2 parts, a Masters and a PhD? So that in a worst case scenario, I can leave with one degree.

  • In Robotics, also I've experienced, that it is not enough if you solve the problems. To work on robotics in the Academia, you have to perform super-well to be considered "acceptable". I think it has mainly social reasons (everybody can build a robot, it is not really science but engineering, so handling it in the Academia you need to provide some "plus" over the ordinary problem solving what an engineer is doing).
    – peterh
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 3:25
  • I'm happy with him. But he seems a moody or volatile person. He started comparing my research work with another local guy who is almost doing same but he is presenting more in weekly lab meetings. Whenever I present with few slides in the meeting that he always said you are slow. I was thinking of asking him are you just analyzing my progress by the number of slides? Should I ask him this? Yes, I keep on asking him if you were expecting me to learn this than why you gave me other tasks when I reach here. I also found linguistic misunderstandings and they are not good at English. Yesterday, I d
    – leo90
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 3:49
  • I don't understand perfectly but to expect from a beginner isn't it too much as I changed my major and never studied robotics officially.
    – leo90
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 3:52
  • Package it super-politely! And work so hard as you only can. If he can see that you are doing all what you can, it helps a lot. Note, all Uni is hard, it is their nature.
    – peterh
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


Sometimes it's helpful to factorize this into two questions:

(1) Are you happy with the professor? You say he "is not helping" you in your research; yet, it sounds like you've made considerable progress in a short time. Assuming he never changes his ways, do you still want to work with him?

(2) Is your professor happy with you? You have said that he is critical of your slowness, but it's not clear [to me] whether he is definitely unhappy, or if maybe he is just awkward, or maybe there is some cultural/linguistic misunderstanding.

In either case, I think you should schedule a meeting with him -- actually send an e-mail and ask him to set aside 15-30 minutes to discuss your performance in the lab. Then you can ask him directly about his comments and ask whether he is still interested in having you do your PhD with him. You can also address your concerns about him (e.g., "I was hoping you'd be able to advise me more about X; do you think we'll be able to do that in the next few months?").

  • I've shared detailed response of your comment please check that also
    – leo90
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 3:50

Find out your University's policies and procedures for post-grad students complaints/ problems with Advisors. Now.

I am at the other end of a PhD with a very troublesome advisor who was always changing my projects partway through and always telling me how bad I was, how I didn't understand....and who even advised me wrongly in a few areas..... and under my Uni procedures I cannot now proceed with an appeal based on poor Advisory practice because I did not raise an early complaint at the local level at the earliest opportunity.

So check your University 's stipulated way of dealing with these problems and follow it!

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