Since professors are assessed by students, I think many problems PhD students confront could be solved, if they could assess their supervisors. At the end, it is the PhD student who is paying with his time and very low scholarship (in contrast to a industry job) for a good-quality supervision. And - believe it or not - many famous professors aren't good supervisors. Some of them don't have the time to supervise their student due to many projects and postdocs. So often a post doc is assigned to the supervision of a PHD student. Is assessment of one's supervisors a way how to put the things right again?

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    I would be surprised if any university does not have policies in place to address issues between supervisors and candidates. A simple assessment would not solve anything, if you have problems that a conversation with your supervisor cannot solve, find how to escalate things further.
    – o4tlulz
    Mar 24, 2016 at 13:04
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    That's a very philosophical question that I think is really not a good fit for this site.
    – xLeitix
    Mar 24, 2016 at 13:13
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    Also, I think nobody here will challenge you on your claim that not all famous researchers are good supervisors.
    – xLeitix
    Mar 24, 2016 at 13:14
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    "it is the PhD student who is paying with his time and very low scholarship". Nobody forced anyone to do a PhD. If you do not like the pay, the long hours or the hardships of the PhD you are welcome to find a work in the real world. Although, despite the myth that "the grass is greener or the other side", work in industry is no walk in the park either. But on both cases, if the PhD student or the industry employee fails on his "job", it is he that suffers the consequences and not the senior party (professor or employer). So, expecting things to be different is not realistic.
    – Alexandros
    Mar 24, 2016 at 16:59
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    The "PhD student" is costing the institution very real money, and a lot of it. In advisor's and other's salaries, in providing office space, in providing infrastructure (labs, library, ...) for research. They gamble to get it back (in prestige, papers, research results that can be monetized, directly or indirectly). But free it isn't.
    – vonbrand
    Mar 24, 2016 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Such assessment would be of very little value (or use, really). The selection of potential advisors is limited; each of them has an advisor-advisee relationship lasting a couple of years, for a very limited number of advisees; if somebody qualifies (or not) as an advisor depends on a raft of issues, of which "student satisfaction" occupies last position (is tenured, got the grant financing the student, heads the research group in the topic, has built up the lab and other infrastructure to house students, and a few others come way, way before).

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