Next week, I will be meeting with both my supervisors (and the PhD course director) to discuss coming back to the PhD after a break.

This, I think, is a good chance to voice a variety of concerns. One of them is that I feel my 2nd supervisor should have more input. I'm interested to know if, generally, that is acceptable?

My specific case, fwiw:

On paper Professor X and Dr Y (national lab) have equal supervision. In reality, Professor X has contributed almost nothing intellectual to this project; this, really, is Dr Y's project. Professor X will ocassionally invite me to lunch and 'check in', which might be fine if serious intellectual progress could be made. Instead, I just recount what I've already done, discuss some university admin, and then we part ways.

I'm sure Professor X is a capabale researcher, but I just personally haven't seen it. On the other hand, I don't think Dr Y is all that great, but we meet (too) frequently. Perhaps its the national lab, but I want more exposure to the University - not less. Hence I thought to bring up at the meeting whether we should aim to have Professor X and Dr Y meet me at the same time, so that we can brainstorm progress / direction together. This, naturally, would ensure Professor X is able to contribute to the academic picture better. Good or bad idea?

1 Answer 1


My suggestion is that you ask X directly in a private meeting for more guidance, saying that you think his expertise will help your project. I wouldn't do this in a meeting with both as it might make one or the other uncomfortable.

But it may well be that X doesn't actually recognize your need, or even your desire for more contact. They may well think everything is fine and that Y is giving the right inputs.

An additional reason for closer contact, however, is your long term career and the possibility (hope) that X will be your strong advocate. If you work more closely with them it could be good. But you can express it, also, as your interest in them and their research directions and your long ter goal of keeping connected with that.

And if you want an academic career (rather than in a lab) you can mention that, and the fact that closer contact might make that easier.

Make it a positive thing, though, so that it doesn't sound like criticism.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .