I am a PhD student. I need to finish my study in 6 months.

My story and problem:

I always send my work to my supervisors on time. For each work (objective), they take about one to two months to respond to me. Therefore, I need to send them a reminder after one month. After my reminder, they ask me to resend it again as they forget it and do not want to search for it. Then, they take about 2 weeks to respond.

After that, they asked me to do some more work, which I do and resend my work to them again. They agree that this version is good and ask me to do my next objective based on my study plan.

After finishing all my tasks and sending them my thesis, they asked me to go back through all my objectives and do further work. These objectives have been already proven many times in many different areas and are not related directly to my topic. I explained to them that I will be in trouble if I do not finish my study at the time that is specified by my sponsor. The university has put me under review as I did not finish on time already. Also, I have had to request two extensions from my sponsors.

In addition to their delay in responding, they sometimes travel overseas for about 6 months without regular contact. This happens every year.

What do I have to do now? Any help, please?

  • 2
    If the further work they want you to do has been proven before, ask if you can cite those papers instead. And don't wait a month. Contact them after a week or 2 weeks. In fact, see if you can schedule your viva now (in 5 or 5.5 months time, whatever makes sense) so they know you're serious about finishing on time. – mkennedy Jan 9 '19 at 19:09
  • @mkennedy thank you so much. I have already cited all the work and even explain to them that these works have been already proven. But they do not care and ask me to do so. If I send them an email after a week then they send me that they are busy and I must wait. – Maryam Jan 10 '19 at 11:17

There isn't a lot you can do on your own. The supervisors have their habits. The best advice I can give is to try to find someone to speak to them on your behalf to get them to help you meet the deadlines. You want an advocate that will be respected by the supervisors. Deans are good for this sort of thing, actually.

But if you can meet face to face with people, either the supervisors or an advocate to help impress on them the urgency it would be better than trying to do things by email, which is asynchronous by design.

  • There is an email option to communicate you are serious about deadlines: "I intend to do X, Y, Z unless you tell me otherwise by (date)". It is heavy-handed, but if the deadline is justified it works on reasonable advisors (nothing will work on unreasonable ones). – UJM Sep 5 '20 at 12:36

I had a very similar situation as yours for a couple of years when I studied statistics as a master's degree. My supervisors used to send me emails back after 1 or 2 months and one of them liked to be away out of the country. I was so much struggling with the supervisors' issue, so I decided to change my supervisor at another faculty.

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