I am a student at Cybersecurity master's degree program in a Greek University and I choose as my topic on "Multiparty chat privacy protection mechanisms" my idea behind this was that I wanted to implement on a post-master's time a system so a Bibliographic Research on that topic would provide me this knowledge.

So I started doing that and I found myself bombarded with new ideas and approaches for the Msc Thesis while I became more knowledgeable about the technologies on this topic. Therefore I discussed my approaches with my supervisor and came up with one approach. I followed that one but suddenly I became stuck and I see time slowly ticking towards to the end (It is far away but I do not want my work to become last-breath patchwork).

Therefore I contacted with my supervisor via email and to make up with time started to work on a second approach. And here's the problem:

  • I sent 3 emails towards him and still no response. (I sent 1 email every 3 days in order not to fill it with spam and being way too pushy/impolite.)
  • I find myself drowned and with an unmanageable heap of ideas.
  • I do not feel confident I can manage in time at least one of the 2 approaches.

In other words I feel drowned with knowledge, stuck on an unmanageable heap of ideas and alone whilst I work on my MSc Thesis. How do you suggest to manage that?

Ps. On of the 3 emails I sent towards him is a physical face-to-face request and I have no other means of contacting him.

An approach to fix that is to ask for external help/counseling regarding this issue. But would that be offensive/rude towards him. Also my first email is at 29th of October and the last one 1 day before posting this question.

  • How about arranging a face to face visit? That is much better than emails. Organize your thoughts as best you can before the meeting, though.
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 21:58
  • I changed your title to replace "now" by "not", which I think is what you wanted... Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 22:02
  • @Buffy Well I did that via telling an email to arrange the face-to-face meeting via one of the 3 emails I sent towards him. Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 22:03
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    How do you have "no other means of contacting him"? Does he not have a telephone number? A mailing address? A physical office? Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 22:36
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    Also, you can check with others in the department to see if there is some reason why he's unreachable (vacation, illness, etc). Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


You don't have to arrange a face-to-face meeting to meet your advisor face-to-face. Just go to his office when he's in and knock. Start with "Are you free?" If he says yes, you're gold. If he says no, ask him when you can come back.

It might sound pushy, but if you're not making progress at all, you're wasting time. Your time may not be as precious as his time, but it's still precious. Don't rely on email; arrange a meeting.

  • 1
    +1 for stating the obvious approach I was thinking of before I even finished the question. Indeed, I might not even have emailed first, but rather just drop by during an office hour when I was at the department for classes (taking and/or teaching), and mention my concerns and ask when is a good time to talk about them. I suspect this issue is heavily dependent on the OP's local academic standards of conduct, and maybe your answer will generate a needed clarification in the question as to why the obvious (to many others) approach has been avoided. Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 7:50

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