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I've been given a master's topic that is quite complicated and feel it was not really well thought out to begin with nor communicated to me how difficult it would be when I asked. So naturally I'm having difficulties and am even questioning if the topic is appropriate in the first place.

The level of detail and expectations are quite fine and high (presumably because this is for the supervisors commercial gain), and I am not really able to make my own decisions because the supervisor will later say my decision was inappropriate because of something I couldn't have known or because of personal preference. The work in many aspects is also something that is not discussed anywhere really in books or texts so I cannot quite learn the methods on my own. The supervisor has stated that other students have had no issues doing this on their own, but I saw that this is not true, because their topics were so much easier in scope, complexity, and topic to begin with, they didn't require the type of work I'm being told to do. Their topic (not for supervisors gain) was set up simplistically to begin with, and basically did not involve any detailed analysis. The supervisor has told me that what I'm doing is not their requirement, but rather the program's requirement, which seems obviously false to me. I would think that I should at the very least be able to approach the problem equally simplistically if unable to meet the current level of complexity.

Since I have already spoken with the supervisor many times, and my situation is not improving, I do not know what to do. I do not want to continue working if I'm going to fail.

I understand that there's a gray area for various reasons, but is it ethical/legal for some students to be given much more difficult (in complexity) and time consuming topics than other students? If a student with the harder topic is having difficulty (which seems natural to me), it seems to me they will have a much more difficult time passing and could even be forced to drop out of their program because of this.

I'm not sure if I should bring up the fact to my supervisor that other students clearly did not do the type of work that I'm doing (for fear that the supervisor will be upset and quit or fail me). I'm also not sure if I should simply continue working on the topic and possibly file a complaint if I don't pass.

How do you think I should approach this? I am not quite familiar with academic regulations.

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  • How is it for the supervisor's personal gain?
    – Buffy
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 15:34
  • it's for their personal work at their job in industry. Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 17:29

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