I am a first year Ph. D student, and I have been working on a new topic of research. I worked day and night to prove something new and verified it. I began my Ph. D while my supervisor was on travel, but he returned before I had been here for long. When he returned, he told me we have to stop and not continue without any reasonable reasons.

After a few months he began treating me poorly---always belittling and underestimating---although I got two grants from a top conference, made videos and podcasts, and constantly received praise for my good work and personality.

It seems that I have been treated as a competitor, not a collaborator. Although agreeing with my approaches in private, my supervisor said false words to the committee to take the decision and stop my Ph. D work!

It is not surprising, as there was another former senior Ph. D student who I met on campus, who was not allowed to defend his Ph. D: this same supervisor claimed he was not able to finish his dissertation although he had published in a peer reviewed journal and having citation as well, it was scary and not familiar.

In front of committee, he lied, and said something without proving. I asked if he can make a detailed constructive criticism, but he could not. All I can say that they are a gang literally, and he said words that show that he is jealous and doesn't want to see me having self confidence in my self. I know no one will believe me, but this is the truth.

Honestly, I am distressed and I'm losing sleep. I had this dream where there were many people who saw me fail. All things considered, I don't know whether what happened is good or bad, and I definitely don't know what I should do next!

I would be grateful for your advice and whether there is someone has encountered any similar situation.

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    What is your question?
    – Nobody
    Sep 12, 2018 at 14:21
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    First, my condolences. It might also make sense to seek professional help, be it either psychological or a lawyer. However, the goal of my comment is to remark that having good publications is already something. You may not have your PhD (yet), but having 3 papers on a CV in the first PhD year is rather impressive and might score you a PhD position elsewhere. Sep 12, 2018 at 21:04
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    I am sorry to say that but as I said, it is like a gang, many engineers have been kicked out, although being professional. However, it seems that many PI dont like to have a good student and strong personality, they get afraid from students that could endanger them in future, of course those are psycho PI. All I wish to have a good sane supervisor.
    – user39171
    Sep 12, 2018 at 21:25
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    @Monika I'm asking about the committee you mentioned. Why were you meeting with a committee? Sep 12, 2018 at 21:35
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    As this part of laws at the institution, but this just false image, because he agreed with the committee to write false things about me. I was shocked, I was forced from informal meeting of the committee that the reasons mentioned are funny even for the kids, you will not believe, but I am shocked and after crying all night and remember his words and lies in front committee and agreeing with them to false report. I said I can trust him as a supervisor, he didnot mentioned the grants, the hard work. Hope you can understand how the system is corrupted and protect PI, it hard for me honestly.
    – user39171
    Sep 12, 2018 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


You describe a very difficult situation that has only difficult solutions. It seems pointless, even dangerous, to continue with this supervisor and, perhaps, even at this institution. It may be impossible to change the behavior of the supervisor, even if the department puts pressure on him to change.

However, though difficult and disruptive, you may be able to take the work you have done and use it as a firm basis for application elsewhere. I would normally just suggest changing supervisors at your current place, but it may not be possible and if the current supervisor is truly vindictive, then he might still be able to interfere.

But if your current and previous work is good, you can find an academic home somewhere. If you decide to move, investigate any future supervisor at least a bit so you don't get in to the same situation again.

You don't suggest that this could be a case of pure sexism. If it is, then in some places you can make a case for sanction of the professor, of course. Sadly, sexism is too accepted in too many places.

Let me add that I can't judge your work. It may be that your advisor thinks your work has less value than you do and that is his reason for his behavior. Of course, you have stated that others (reviewers, editors, etc., if that is the meaning of your second paragraph) have given validation to your work by publishing it.

But even if the professor is correct, it doesn't excuse bad behavior toward a student. If he thinks you are on the wrong path, his job is to guide you to a better path, not to disparage you.

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    I agree with the answer "above the line" and I upvoted it. Concerning: "Of course, you have stated that others (reviewers, editors, etc., if that is the meaning of your second paragraph) have given validation to your work by publishing it." I see nothing in the OP's question suggesting that her work has been published. To be frank, the language she uses to discuss the validation she has received from others is rather odd, so whether the work is actually correct seems to be a key question (that we cannot judge). I also firmly agree with "But even if the professor is correct..." Sep 12, 2018 at 14:31
  • I am sorry for commenting, but I am in severe pain and alone in a foreign country and there is no one I can speak, every one is afraid. All I can say, he didnot read my work this is the truth, besides he is not specialized in the topic and the collaborator really a devil person didnot accept that I developed a new model, he deprived me to go the other lab without any reasons. If I wrote new question based on my work, he accuse that I have stole it, if I do very impressive cartoonish drawing, the same. He didnot praise me, always belittling, I made many correction for him during my work.
    – user39171
    Sep 12, 2018 at 14:34
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    @ Peter, I have published my work in three top conferences, two of them gave me travel grants for my participation, I dont know if you could believe that or not, but as I said in my previous this is the truth, it is quite shocking, and there is a former phd student after 4 years was not allowed to defend although publishing in peer review journal and have being cited, he was accused was not able to finish although he completed the thesis, but no one dare to speak.
    – user39171
    Sep 12, 2018 at 14:38
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    @Monika: That you have published in three top conferences is critical additional information. I strongly recommend that you edit your question to add this. (By the way, I have absolutely no reason not to believe you...so I do believe you.) Given this, I think you should be able to transfer to a different and better graduate program with a different and much better advisor. Sep 12, 2018 at 14:44
  • Now the HR and director of school want to me, I know may be I have to sign papers to terminate, I dont know, I am thinking about runaway and not sign any thing, I feel terrified, I still have to the end of the month and go. Please advices, I dont want to sign to something I forced from awful and racist supervisor, please advices.
    – user39171
    Sep 14, 2018 at 13:35