I am a mathematics Ph.D. student who are in my final stage of completing my Ph.D. programme. My advisor is visiting an institute for a few months. The institute that he is visiting is in another country; because of the visa requirements and many other practical reasons, I cannot go there with him.

Now my progress is, I have all the main results ready (most of them have been written down) and I need to finish writing my thesis in about three weeks. My advisor has guided my through all the mathematical difficulties; now he left me behind to write the thesis all by my own. Furthermore, he has clearly indicated that he will NOT help me with the writing process.

Now I need to figure out many things all by myself, from LaTeX to the organization, from the usage of languages to drawing pictures, etc. Also I need to verify the correctness and validity of all the results; he mentioned that he will not carefully read my draft. And I do not have much time to finish everything. I am feeling somewhat stressed and overwhelming.

In this situation, should I seek assistance from other professors/lecturers who do research in a similar field, or should I try to figure everything out by myself? Should I hire someone to proofread my thesis when the draft is finished?

  • 2
    What, specially, are you asking for? Also see "Here's my situation, any suggestions?" is not an answerable question Please edit your question to clarify what you are asking.
    – ff524
    Feb 3, 2015 at 7:23
  • Thank you @ff524 for reminding me! Will edit the question accordingly.
    – Zuriel
    Feb 3, 2015 at 7:25
  • 1
    ...from LaTeX to the organization, from the usage of languages to drawing pictures. See the theses of previous students for organization and of course supervisors cannot help you with your Latex issues.
    – Alexandros
    Feb 3, 2015 at 8:22
  • 3
    @Zuriel all that doesn't sound too bad, nor critical. Your supervisor probably assumes you are perfectly capable of doing a good job by yourself.
    – Davidmh
    Feb 3, 2015 at 9:59
  • 7
    now he left me behind to write the thesis all by my own.Good!
    – JeffE
    Feb 3, 2015 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


You are about to finish a PhD thesis. Somebody who obtained a PhD title is supposed to be able to organize and conduct reasonable projects independently. I think that your adviser is not being unreasonable in his demands.

Part of organization is also arranging to get more time, if your current time frame cannot be kept, or leads to serious degradation in quality and rigorousness. In some cases that might lead to working on your thesis without being funded. Personally, I would still advise to value doing a good job higher than meeting a deadline, but of course I cannot oversee all the consequences.


Now that you have number of weeks left for the submission deadline; you have two options:

Write up and Submit the Thesis: Finish the thesis as soon as possible. At this stage you should be able to write your Ph.D. thesis; without any supervision guidelines. Don't fall into 'what if' scenarios. At the end of the day the thesis and your defense on that day will grant you a Ph.D.

Possible Extension: Don't submit a very poor thesis if your thesis lacks the required material. You will put the examiners at the very difficult and unpleasant situation; because if the required material is not there you be more likely failing your defense. I suggest you to print out your latest version of your thesis and discuss the extension issue with an academic. You can send an email to your supervisor and ask for a name of an academic to discuss this issue.

  • Thanks for the answer! My supervisor has not moved to another institute; he is only visiting there for a few months; officially he is still a professor of my university and he will come back after a few months. In this case I don't think the university will assign me another supervisor. The deadline for submitting my thesis is only about three weeks away anyway.
    – Zuriel
    Feb 3, 2015 at 11:10
  • @Zuriel great! Just focus on the thesis, and its submission. The management issues are not your problem.
    – o-0
    Feb 3, 2015 at 11:12
  • Thanks! Now what I am struggling with is that I need to organize everything into a proper thesis for submission. For general LaTeX and thesis guides, I can find those online; but I find writing the background and introduction, or even the abstract challenging.
    – Zuriel
    Feb 3, 2015 at 11:17
  • Updating my answer now based on this.
    – o-0
    Feb 3, 2015 at 11:20

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