My Master thesis is under review, may be it will finish in a week. I had a discussion with my thesis supervisor about a potential PhD position. He applied for a 1 year grant, with my name as student beneficiary. Together we decided to apply for some more grants once I graduate.

In the mean time, I got an interview for PhD in another much better university. If I clear the interview, this employer would contact my supervisor for reference and my supervisor might think that I am playing a double game. Did I do something unethical? How to handle this situation?

I will inform my supervisor about the interview sooner anyway. I am extremely worried about this scenario that I could not focus on preparing for the interview at all.

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    Did I do something unethical? Absolutely not. How to handle this situation? Tell your advisor now.
    – JeffE
    Feb 22, 2014 at 20:04
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    When you tell your advisor, you could say something along the lines of, "If this falls through, I'm hoping we can still arrange something here. I've enjoyed working with you." That might make the situation less awkward for you, particularly if your words are heartfelt.
    – J.R.
    Feb 22, 2014 at 23:42
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    By the way, note that as a PhD student, you're not typically an employee, so this other university would not be your employer. Feb 23, 2014 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


No reasonable person can fault you for exploring different options since

  • there isn't a guarantee of a job
  • you haven't committed to this job.

Definitely tell your advisor so that you'll be in the right frame of mind for your other interview and can excel there as well !

  • 4
    * And one year's funding isn't nearly enough to do a PhD. Feb 23, 2014 at 10:42

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