I am currently in a Masters program which was supposed to take 2 years and I am in my third year. I was completed with my research in my 2nd year and only continued because my supervisors felt I was missing an essential part of my studies. I agreed to the further studies, and submitted an application for approval in August last year. I heard nothing back, even though I pestered everyone, until January of this year, after I basically begged the committee for an answer. I got the approval, through no one's help but my own. The next available date for me to start my additional research was in February. It would delay me from graduating in June as I had originally planned, but I accepted it. I began in February. The study was supposed to take one month. I finished it in May, due to a lack of support from my supervisors who would not lift a finger to help me, even when there was a delay out of my control but within theirs. I was told that they would not intervene, as they would ngo risk upsetting anyone, but I was welcome to fight my own battle. I did. Still, I finished the study in May.

At this point, I had already submitted my thesis to them with the intention that they would review it, and we could fix it and once I got the results of the latest study, I would put them in and would be able to submit my thesis immediately. That was in April.

They got back to me last week Friday telling me I had additional research to do. In frustration, I requested a meeting with them. They have not replied.

Other instances which have frustrated me include: Taking over a year to submit my paper to be published (note that during this time, no changes were made and the paper was accepted with minor revisions so no idea why it took so long), making me write a paper within 3 days and 8 months later it still hasn't even been looked at, ignoring all requests for help, ignoring all emails, demanding that I reply to their emails with immediacy and then ignoring me, demanding that I do other work for them which does not constitute part of my program, and I have a whole other list but at this point I'm too drained to continue.

What do I do? I'm depressed and I HAVE TO GRADUATE, and they just don't seem to care. I can't afford to be there another year, doing NOTHING.

Do I report them? I don't want to burn bridges, but I don't see a way around it...

Thanks in advance...


You say several times that you are being asked to do more research, but you don't give any indication of why that is. The reasons could be good, or bad, or even very bad, but it is hard to know what to suggest without knowing a lot more.

But, while it may be satisfying to report your supervisors, claiming misfeasance, it probably is much less important to do that than to find a quick way to the exits. Preferably by completing something that they will accept.

But it also sounds a bit like you and your advisors aren't really communicating. It is possible that that alone is the root of the problem. It can be a mistake to send something to someone for review and then just wait several months. It can be a mistake to assume someone will just do something if you don't ask for it explicitly. Be more proactive. Go to see them. Ask for advice.

It is hard to see that reporting them gets you closer to a degree and might result in a major setback. Try other solutions first, at least.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you so much for your response. With regards to the reasons behind making me do more research, I honestly couldn't tell you. The research that I have completed is novel and completely in line with my protocol. Ergo, I have completed the necessary components of my research which were required in order to graduate. Everything that I am being told to do now is, in my opinion, to benefit my supervisors for when they want to take my work further. A lot of the recent results, they have even told me will be published at a later stage, when I am done. – MasterOfDepression Jun 23 '19 at 19:40
  • With regards to communication, I really am not sure what else I can do. I have sent emails, tried to set up meetings, actually gone in to see them even without scheduled meetings and still, nothing. An example of this is a meeting I had in the beginning of June where I asked when I would be receiving feedback (as no one was responding to my emails), and I was told I would receive feedback that week. I didn't, and once more, followed up. I ended up receiving feedback the week after from ONE out of FIVE supervisors. – MasterOfDepression Jun 23 '19 at 19:45
  • When it comes to the papers, I followed up almost every two weeks in person. Each time I was told they were busy, and would get to it. Or they had a meeting coming up where they would discuss it. I know they see my emails - I also know they just ignore them and when I ask, they say they've been busy. I don't know how much more I can try to communicate with what are essentially brick walls. I don't want to burn bridges. I just also know how much I've put in to this and how little I'm getting out. I do understand what you're saying though, and would like to try to be better... Any suggestions? – MasterOfDepression Jun 23 '19 at 19:48
  • Have you tried asking for regular (at least monthly) face-to-face meetings with your supervisors? If so, do you both leave the meetings with to-do lists that you both revisit at the next meeting? Have you discussed the situation with your graduate director, department chair, or some other trusted senior faculty member? – JeffE Jun 24 '19 at 4:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.