I've started a PhD last year but due to financial reasons I don't think I can stay for the whole program since it's not fully funded. I've received a job offer from a very reputable company which solves my money problem & looks like a promising career path. I've accepted the offer several months ago and so I've thought very carefully about it and my mind is made up.

How do I tell my university and more importantly supervisor without causing any havoc or emotional strains since they've both been very supportive so far. Another thing is that I'm on a student visa and need to obtain a work permit which requires the school's help so it's very important that I maintain a good relationship even though I'm quitting.

Thank you very much.

  • 1
    If a company is hiring you, what role does the university play in a work permit? Why have you waited several months after accepting the offer?
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 9, 2019 at 17:49
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    so essentially my job is a structured graduate scheme and so starts in September with all other graduates and until then I remain "sponsored" by my university to remain in the UK until I successfully complete a work permit application after which I become "sponsored" by my employer to remain in the country. If my university decided to end this sponsorship before then I must return to my home country which adds a lot of complexity. To obtain a work permit I also need few documents from my university since I didn't complete the full PhD and so they have to apply discretion in my favour.
    – Zhen
    Jun 9, 2019 at 18:06
  • Let me just tell you that your supervisor has no reason to act emotional, nor should they "forbid" you to quit. Even if they do, it is still your life. You need the money to live. A good supervisor respects that.
    – user109595
    Jun 9, 2019 at 18:06
  • totally agree, I don't think they have an authority to stop me quitting or force me to stay but I still wish to leave positively (as much as possible). Do you recon I should get to the point and say that I'm quitting or would it be better to give a detailed explanation?
    – Zhen
    Jun 9, 2019 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


Whenever a professor takes on a grad student, there is no guarantee that the student will be able to complete the program. The vast majority of people (advisors included) understand financial hardship.

Ask to have a face-to-face meeting with your advisor. Be honest about your reason(s). Your advisor is likely to be willing to keep working with you as long as you are able to. If you're worried about how to word what you will say to your advisor, something like "I wish I could have completed the program, but, due to financial burdens, I won't be able to. I've enjoyed my time and got a lot of out the experience." (Expand and reword as needed.) And then give details about dates and answer questions. If you've maintained a good working relationship with your advisor, they will likely be able to help you navigate dealing with the university.

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    perfect, thank you very much for your reply. Given that I can't really start my job before September, should I have the talk with my supervisor now or later?
    – Zhen
    Jun 9, 2019 at 20:14
  • @Zhen glad I could help. Good luck!
    – Van
    Jun 10, 2019 at 11:10

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