I'm a PhD candidate in Industrial Engineering and currently in my fourth semester. I passed my qualifying exam in the second semester. Till then I was a TA and I was fully funded by the department. starting from the third semester they started giving half stipend which drags me into endless financial issues in my life. I talked wih my advisor, graduate program director and the chairman, but no one exlplained me why that happened. I'm not the only PhD student having the same issue in my department. I can't concentrate on my research and day by day I'm becoming a debtor.

I find it very difficult to approach my advisor. When ever I wanted to meet him, I have to take an appointment and he'll give a date in a month. Once we had a research meeting and that was the only one for these two years. When I see my senior students, I feel like they are used to this way.

Should get a Master and leave the PhD?

  • 4
    Unfortunately, we will not be able to give you a useful answer without understanding your situation. I find it hard to understand how nobody could explain to you why your stipend was suddenly halved, and you sound as if the other Ph.D. students were in the same position - not only with respect to having their stipends halved, but also with nobody explaining why. Is your institution perhaps in serious financial trouble? This does indeed sound like an alarming sign, and you should certainly start making contingency plans, but as per above, random strangers on the internet won't be able to help. Feb 6, 2016 at 22:35
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    It sounds worrying. You should check: do you have options to go somewhere else? If not, try to establish whether you could transfer to another location. After you have done so, you could talk to your advisor and explain that you are not able to fund yourself at this rate. If you are both not able to work on your research and enter debt, it means, you cannot wait. Also, given that you get very little supervision, you should ask yourself how good your chances are of doing good research and graduating in the present climate. Bring this up with your advisor in an emergency meeting. Feb 6, 2016 at 22:44
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    In regard to your stipend, you can ask people in your university's HR or financial departments. They might provide you details on why the change occurred, which you can then bring up (via both snail mail and e-mail, with confirmation) to the relevant faculty contacts. In regard to issues with your advisor, instead of leaving the program, you can consider other, less radical, options, such as changing your advisor, changing your major or transferring to other program or even university. That is, after you have tried everything you could to normalize work relationship with your current advisor. Feb 7, 2016 at 0:15
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    Having to wait a month to see your advisor is also a big warning sign to me.
    – mhwombat
    Feb 7, 2016 at 3:23
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    There are many nice and intelligent advisers. Do not waste your time pleasing an educated fool; they are worst type of advisers!
    – o-0
    Feb 7, 2016 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


How long do you have to run on half stipend ? How much debt will this rack up ? Do the maths and work out whether its worth it or not .How much extra income will you be able to get in industry with the PHD ? If you are just going to get a job like most people do then you really must weigh this thing up .If you want to return to the fold so to speak and become a lecturer then the PHD must be finished come hell or high water.

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