I am an undergraduate student writing a thesis. I am stuck in a cycle of revisions and would like to be able to complete my thesis and move on to other things.

I have both an advisor and co-advisor. They have different ideas about the structure and content of the thesis, and my advisor will ask that I re-revise after getting comments from the co-advisor, even if this goes against their initial instructions. I don't communicate directly with the co-advisor (we communicate through my advisor) due to previous disagreements.

How can I let my advisor know that needing to make multiple conflicting changes is frustrating me, and that I need to finish this thesis?


The best word for this situation is "sufficient." I would write and say the following:

  • You appreciate all the help thus far
  • You are concerned about other projects coming up
  • You (and, if they agree) and your advisor feel that they current paper is sufficient. Do you agree that it is sufficient?

something like the following - edit to make more or less forceful/deferential, as needed

"Dear Co-Advisor,

Thank you for your recent comments on this chapter and for all of your help thus far. At this point, Advisor and I feel that the chapter is sufficient, and I would like to make time for other projects/additional chapters. Do you agree that the chapter is sufficient in its current state? If not, please highlight the one or two issues I could address, at which point I will need to start focusing on other projects; given time constraints, I won't be able to do another round of review on this chapter.

All the best,

Hmm Idk"

  • 3
    This seems wrong - backwards. The question was about communication with the advisor, not the co-advisor. I something needs to be said to the co-advisor it is the place of the advisor to do so, since the OP doesn't normally communicate directly with the co-advisor. I smell trouble if you do this. Beware.
    – Buffy
    Nov 16 '21 at 0:13

"The main problem that I find here, is that, it's seems that there's not a defined end." - this is the case with research overall. Fortunately, a thesis (especially undergrad one) is more of a technical kind of work. Unfortunately, it seems your advisor is not a very experienced one.

So, start with the thesis structure. Start fleshing it out, maybe put some lorem ipsum in parts you haven't done yet: it is important to get a vision of the "final product" for people who never know where to draw the line.

Focusing on the research itself is good for ideas but can be terrible for planning and interpersonal communication (in the sense you do need to agree on some set of mutual obligations without goal posting).

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