I am a 6th year Ph.D. student in the sciences. The typical duration of a Ph.D. in my program at my institution is 5 years. I am months away from finishing the last component of my research; however, issues have arisen.
I am having strong doubts that my advisor cares about my success in my future career. In addition, she is forcing me to graduate in 2 months. While I myself would very much like to graduate as early as possible, I am faced with a series of challenges:
1. There is unfinished research work. While I'm not trying to solve the problem at hand completely, I do wish to produce something of quality, and for the manuscript under preparation to have a reasonable chance of being accepted.
2. I wish to spend adequate time preparing my thesis.
3. I need time to prepare postdoc and job application materials.
While someone as capable as my advisor may be able to finish all these in the time allotted, knowing myself, these tasks will take more than two months for me. And yes, I've discussed this with her many times, and she has been quite adamant about not financially supporting me after two months.
Recently, she has also asked me to withdraw my paper in a respected international conference, which has been accepted and selected for a meritorious award.
My specific questions are:
As a student, I may not understand the rationale of the decisions of my advisor, who is not only technically competent but abreast of the research community. However, I am having strong doubts that my advisor is advising in my best interest. I've had several arguments with her about the remaining work and I feel even if I do somehow defend my Ph.D., we will be on negative terms thereafter. Is it uncommon for Ph.D. students to leave on less-than-amicable terms with their advisor?
One of the options I've thought of is changing research advisors. However, I'd rather not change my research topic - the scope of my dissertation research has been approved my Committee after all. So, is it likely that a faculty member would be willing to serve as the Chairman of my committee in a topic only peripherally related to his/her expertise? As my advisor is senior in her field, I'd think a junior faculty member is unlikely to take on this role, in avoiding any run-ins with my advisor. Are there other considerations I've missed that may discourage a senior faculty member from agreeing to be my Chairman? (The university department is usually able to provide funding to students in their final semesters, so financial support may not be an issue.) And my committee members are either junior faculty or close collaborators with my advisor, so I doubt any of them would be willing to replace my advisor as the Chairman. Should my new advisor approve of my work, he/she may also serve a reference, which I will very much need for my upcoming job search.
Thank you. All advice is surely welcome.