I discontinued my PhD two years ago due to the reasons that I was not getting along with my supervisor. I had completed all my course works and comprehensive exam plus the committee had approved my proposal. The committee then assigned me an advisor who I felt was not so interested in me (the professor had given me a really bad mark in one of his classes which I took as a coursework). I too was not really interested in him. He did not have a strong publication, in fact he did not have any. I honestly could not find any except one paper dated 10 years ago. I am still curious of how the system works and I wondered how he became a a full professor in the department with such a poor publication. A friend of mine informed me that it is because of the length of time a professor serves within the university that he may receive full professorship. However this is another topic. So, going back to my situation, after the committee assigned him as my advisor, I tried to work with him. However, after a couple of meetings with him, I realized that this was not going to work.
One day, after a long – little heated - discussion between the two of us, feeling my frustration, he advised me to request the to Head of Department and the committee that I be appointed a new advisor. I sensed that his advice was not sincere, however, that was what I exactly did. I met the Head of Department in his office with my advisor. We had a lengthy discussion. To make a long story short, the Head of Department turned down my request, saying repeatedly that (quote): “you can only change an advisor if you have a 'cause’”. I thought to myself that don’t I have the right to at least choose or request an advisor.
During the holidays, when I return to my country, at the end of the holidays, I did not go back to the university. I emailed them that I will have to discontinue my studies. I eventually resigned from the program as I saw the Department could not accommodate my needs.
As I look back, of course I feel a sense of misery that I wasted two years of my life in this PhD program. Just to add, I was living in a foreign country far away form my family (wife and kid) which I could only visit once a year during the summer holidays. The program was a fully funded scholarship program with a very basic monthly subsistence stipend.
So my questions are:
How much right does the PhD student have to choose his own advisor? I understand that there are universities in certain countries that assign the advisors to the students which was the case for my situation. Since I was on scholarship from the university, does this mean that the university has the full right to assign the advisor and that I would have to fully comply to their requests?
How much would this ruin my reputation and credibility to be granted another PhD scholarship from a different institution?