I would like to know whether to escalate the issue when my masters thesis advisor is very careless, disorganized and does not provide anything useful to me.

I have started with him around 9 months ago. Following some disappointment over his choice of research topic, I have worked very hard, and now, after 9 months of my research, I am almost done.

However, my advisor is very unresponsive to me:

  • I have sent him tons of emails with no responses.
  • I have requested to meet him more than 15 times and I was only able to see him 3 times. However, he has confirmed most of these appointments and I ended by wasting my time waiting him in front of his office for 30 -60 minutes before I got the same exact answer every time (I have emergency case sorry)
  • Last week I was able to meet with him, and he did not remember the topic or when I have to defend my thesis. (I have sent him more than 10 drafts of my work during the last 9 months.)
  • Now, he promised to review my work and give me his feedback by end of Saturday. today is Sunday and I still did not hear from him.

Is it better to escalate the case? Or live with it for the time being and wait for my thesis result?

If I try to escalate later, will they ask me, why you did not speak before, it is too late now?

  • 2
    While I'm sorry you're having such a frustrating experience, you need to give us a specific, answerable question to answer. (See "Here's my situation, any suggestions?" is not an answerable question and Take a deep breath before writing). I've put this question temporarily "on hold" so you can edit it to fix this.
    – ff524
    Oct 19, 2014 at 11:03
  • 13
    "my second target is to punish him": If I were you, I'd reconsider this target. I doubt you'll find anyone willing to help on this and, moreover, there are more constructive ways to spend time. Oct 19, 2014 at 11:12
  • 2
    Exactly what @MassimoOrtolano stated - don't use energy 'punishing' someone - due to A) you don't know what extenuating circumstances held his time B) that kind of vengeful behaviour will come back to haunt you and C) you should be concentrating on your research
    – user21984
    Oct 19, 2014 at 11:19
  • 3
    I have edited the question heavily to focus on the main question: whether to escalate at this point.
    – ff524
    Oct 19, 2014 at 11:20
  • 9
    I did not speak to him but I show him that I am not feeling good with his way — Sorry, what? Either you've spoken to your advisor about your concerns or you haven't. Do not expect him to read your mind through your facial expression, your posture, or your tone of voice. If you want to be heard, you have to actually speak directly.
    – JeffE
    Oct 19, 2014 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


I think you should find a new advisor. You should definitely discuss the situation with an appropriate faculty member, perhaps the one in charge of the master's program, so that nobody will think you were not proactive in solving your problems.

The word "escalate" is vague and negative. Don't use it.


Escalation usually works out badly for the person lowest in the hierarchy.

(That feels like such a truism but apparently it bears repeating.)

Your department should have an academic tutor with whom you should consult. Some departments have a "no fault" policy where students are allowed to switch supervisors, quietly. However, there are students who do not do any work until the very last week when it finally dawns on them that it was all the supervisor's fault. To guard against this, there is often a point of no return. After x weeks, you have to make it work with the supervisor you have got.

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