I have a double master's from two prestigious European universities with the highest grade, but my Ph.D. was a nightmare. My advisors were at loggerheads, never read any drafts, and finally gave me a cum laude, which in Germany is equal to "just pass" and It took me more than a decade, working in odd jobs, to get this Ph.D. which is in an interdisciplinary social science subject. I cannot go back to my violent home country in the Third World. Can I apply for postdocs with a Ph.D. that took years to complete and is interdisciplinary? My advisors may give good recommendations if only to get rid of me. My main aim is to immigrate. I would be happy to go to Canada or the US, but I understand getting permanent residence is easier in Canada.

  • Yes, as long as I can immigrate. I can t go back to my own country.
    – user78397
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 10:01
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    Rather than waiting for an answer on here, why not apply for a few advertised postdoc jobs and see what happens? Or have you already tried that? Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 10:30
  • What else are you going to do with it? Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 17:46

2 Answers 2


If your main aim is to immigrate, consider exploring career options other than an academic research track. With a double Master’s degree from prestigious universities and a PhD, even a (supposedly) mediocre one, your employment prospects in most western countries should be excellent, and some countries’ immigration systems will explicitly favor a person with your credentials (Canada and Australia come to mind).

A position as a lecturer, school teacher, researcher at a think tank, government agency or non-profit, and a variety of industry/private sector positions are all options that would be realistically within reach, and potentially easier to secure than a postdoc if you feel doubtful about your ability to present yourself as strong in the academic research context.

Of course, you might have additional goals other than the desire to immigrate. Continuing in the academic track is no less of an option than the other ones I’ve listed. Even from a shaky starting point, it is not too late to launch a successful academic career. Depending on the discipline and on how broad you are willing to make your search, the bar for getting a 1-year or 2-year postdoc can be pretty low. The fact that you are interdisciplinary, which you see as a disadvantage, can become an advantage in certain contexts, so try to look for places or opportunities where that will be the case. Being flexible about geographical locations can also be a big advantage. The world, and also the academic world, is a big place! Good luck in any case.

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    But avoid things like "adjunct professor", which isn''t a permanent (or desirable) position.
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 19:29
  • @Buffy sounds like a hasty generalization to me. A postdoc also isn’t a permanent position, nor high paying, yet many people regard both postdocs and adjunct positions as suitable and desirable for them.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 19:31
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    The warning, actually, was not to be misled by the name. Typically, in US, adjuncts are very poorly paid, at-will, employees with few benefits unless unionized. But the word "professor" in the title is misleading. Post-docs on the other hand are recognized researchers, not just abused, low level, instructors.
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 19:44
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    I think "look very carefully at a position labelled 'adjunct professor'" is maybe better advice. As a tenured academic, I agree that's the least desirable academic job and that someone could be a bit misled by it. On the other hand, the OP wrote "I cannot go back to my violent home country in the Third World," so maybe they have a different cost-benefit analysis than we do! Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 1:57
  • @Pete agreed, mostly. My point is it seems disrespectful to imply that anyone who takes an adjunct professor position is some kind of gullible sucker or a member of an exploited academic underclass. That’s far from the case. Is there a widespread problem of adjuncts being underpaid and overemployed by institutions keen on cost-cutting? Absolutely. Nonetheless it’s a job that many people are happy holding for part or all of their careers, for a variety of reasons. Some people here seem to have an axe to grind on this issue and keep beating up on the adjunct category, and that seems wrong to me.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 2:40

You can always apply, and the old adage is true as well: If you don't apply, you will never get the job.

For sure you are at a disadvantage compare to people with maybe smoother trajectories and CVs that more clearly show their strengths. But in the end, people mostly get hired based on (i) their qualifications, not on how they got them, and (ii) whether those who seek to hire already know an applicant. As a consequence, your #1 priority should be to make sure you identify people you know (and who know you) and make sure they know that you are on the job market.

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