A bit of background of the problem->

I am a masters 2nd year student( 4 th semester)in mathematics .During my masters degree I self studied 3 books of number theory because I was really interested in learning it and no faculty in my Institute is specialized in it( most people in my Institute are specialized in Applied Mathematics) . I am in an 3rd world country.

I want to do phd in number theory in Europe. So, for my Masters thesis I wrote to one of professors in a top Institute in my country and she said yes.I visited her Institute in January,2020 for 8 days but she abandoned me and didn't even bothered to tell as she didn't replied my e - mails and despite the fact that she gave me a research paper in January to study and after completing it I e-mail her on 20 Feb asking her to tell me which paper to study now/ problem to work and when should I visit her Institute again . I e mailed her on 29 Feb, 7 March, 25 March, 4April.

In between I began studying papers myself and complleted 2 papers while waiting for her reply. In April I realized she would not reply.

The situation in my country is miraculously better than other countries in terms of Covid 19 and I am sure she is not suffering from it because I also contacted her PhD student and then her PhD student said that she is in campus in her office . Now, I have studied another research paper and now I will study another research paper if time permits.

Also I am 100% sure that she is not suffering from covid as when I asked her Phd student about her she said she was in office. ( it happended in March) .Then I asked her PhD student to give me her contact number the student refused furiously without giving any proper reason and straightly told me i am not her spokesperson or secretary.

My Question is -> I am filling phd application forms of various Institutes in Europe so in what way I can tell the admission committee that it's not my fault and I have worked hard on project ( as much as I could) . I had no guidence. How to present this situation in my CV's thesis part so that bad effect of it is minimized. I was hopeful of writing a really good thesis and ready to work hard, had necessary background but all of it has been nullified by that self centered and shameless professor. Clearly, it was not my fault and she could have told me when she decided to change her mind. Can anyone please tell how to write about it in a manner so that chances of my admission are not further hampered.

  • 4
    Whatever you do, don't write that your professor is self centred and shameless in your applications! Name-calling won't get you far in any career, no matter how much it may be true. Apr 22, 2020 at 15:31
  • @astronat I know ,I will never write it!!
    – user135061
    Apr 22, 2020 at 15:33
  • @astronat just want to ask this because it comes to my mind now a days repetitively : Does the way that professor didn't replied to any of my e-mail and left me in middle of thesis a normal thing ? How can anyone justify it?
    – user135061
    Apr 27, 2020 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


Three things:

1) Your angle should be that due to local institutional factors such as expertise availability in your sub-specialist field you have had to pursue your strong interest in number theory with intermittent supervision. Therefore the work you submit largely represents your own drive to pursue this sub-specialty and is the product of your own self-discipline and self-taught knowledge without the high level supervisory input afforded to some other students. This is one of the reasons why you are applying to department x, because the expertise aligns with your passion and you do not have access to it at home. You could even consider saying that you would be very interested to receive feedback on your work as well as being considered for the application.

2) You should also seek feedback anyway on your work beforehand if possible. It does not necessarily have to be a professor and does not have to be face to face locally. I don't know if this is the done thing in maths, but perhaps approach an academic (who you know has done similar work) with a specific question based on your work. You might get a positive response and who knows where it will lead.

3) You seem quite upset about whatever was going on. Relax and let it go, because these sorts of behaviours are encountered all the time (and a lot worse actually). Don't take it personally, you just have to find a work-around. It is what it is, let it go and work around it.


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