As generally expected the doctoral review committee has to evaluate the PhD student by asking questions, by debating etc.,

Faculty in doctoral review committee can give soft suggestions and are capable to provide grade for student for that particular semester and can even fail the student.

All the above are not insulting since all are dependent on performance of student.

But how to respond to the intimidating comments by faculty in the committee that are harsh and targeting personally, which are not deserved for a doctoral student?

Example for harsh suggestions includes follows:

1) Don't roam outside too much, sit and do work silently;

2) Better to eat less and work more;

3) It is not worth for you to do this degree;

4) Can't you understand the content that bachelor degree students can understand?

5) The work done by you in this semester can be done by masters student in a week.


  • So what suggestions ? – Solar Mike Feb 3 at 18:28
  • Getting 3), 4) and 5) means you may not be equipped to do a PhD degree. – Prof. Santa Claus Feb 3 at 19:09
  • 3
    Have you actually received these comments or suggestions? – Anyon Feb 3 at 19:09
  • 1
    So, how do you get these scenarios? From a dream? Or were you present at someone else's review? Or repeated to you by other students (who could by winding you up...) – Solar Mike Feb 3 at 19:53
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    1-2 are inappropriate, it is nobody's business how much one eats or spends outside, as long as officially required hours (if there is a requirement, which I personally find unproductive) are put in; or results are obtained. Possibly, if the latter is found wanting, remarks 3-5 may reflect reality or not; we do not know. But they are very rude, in any case. To something like that, the response needs to be - "What is it concretely that you expect me to improve?" – Captain Emacs Feb 3 at 21:18

Avoid getting spun up into a fight. Or saying poor me. Or conceding global negatives about yourself. Just ignore the gratitous observations on you. Concentrate on the content.

Fix any issues with your work (or your response to questions). Get corrections done. If a re-exam is done, make sure you can cover questions that were a problem last time.

[Even if the observations were to be "right" (and they may not be), it's not like you can flip a switch and radically change your capabilities at this stage. Concentrate on the objective which is passing.]

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