I am currently doing my Masters in a program that has both a practicum component and a thesis component. My research supervisor and I had been working over the past few years on a thesis topic. The last time I spoke with her was at the end of March and we were close to defending a research proposal (I just needed to do a few edits to the proposal). Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic happened, and research was closed down for a few months during the summer. At the same time, I had to adjust to doing my practicum placement online. I didn’t hear anything from my supervisor during the summer and to be honest, I didn’t get in contact with her because I understood that her expectation was that I would get in touch once I had something to share.
In September, I tried to get in touch with my supervisor using her university email and I kept getting an error that it was “undeliverable”. I tried looking on the faculty listing and noticed that I could no longer find her there. I got in contact with one of the graduate student assistants in my program and told them about the situation and they told me to email my supervisor on her personal email. I finally received an email from her, and she informed me that she left the university at the end of June because her the funding for one of her programs was cut. She also mentioned that she had informed the head of the department with my name and thesis topic and asked them to check in with me. I was never informed about this change. My supervisor didn’t send me an email to inform me when this happened in June and I still haven’t been contacted by anyone from the department.
I have tried to get in contact with a professor at my department and they basically said that I need to get in contact with a different person who would set me up with a new supervisor. This prof informed me that depending on how that conversation goes and who the possible available supervisor would be, I would have the following two options:
start working on a completely new research topic + proposal with a new research supervisor – which would mean that I would have to start my lit review all over again
possibility of continuing my current proposal if someone is willing to take it but knowing that no one has any expertise in that area
Considering that there is no one else in my department that focuses on my topic and I was counting on my supervisor’s expertise to guide me, my only option is to start all over again. This means that I will have to delay my graduation by a year. I feel so burnt out and the thought of having to start all over again is excruciatingly painful.
So, my question is:
Am I right to be upset that no one informed me that my supervisor was leaving/has left? I am not sure if I am justified in expecting the department to have gotten in contact with me by now? And expecting them to not have put the burden on me to figure out who to get in touch with to sort this situation? I feel like if I was informed in June, I could have started on literature review for a new topic much sooner rather than wasting time on my current topic.
What are my options here? have you been in a similar situation? what should I do? Part of me wants to just push through and start the new project. Another part of me wants to give up on the thesis and just switch to an equivalent program without a thesis.