Questions tagged [supervision]

Questions relating to academic supervision, which is broadly defined as the supervisory relationship between advisors and their students.

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208
votes
22answers
34k views

What to do when your student is convinced that he will be the next Einstein?

As an adviser, I have found it to be a detrimental motive for a student to focus solely on surpassing Einstein in achievement, for many reasons. One student in particular has busied himself with the ...
151
votes
15answers
32k views

How to deal with failing a student?

I supervise a student who is working on her bachelor's thesis. The problem is that she has not delivered anything, never asks for any help, and when I offer her some help she claims that she ...
120
votes
13answers
44k views

How to supervise a bad PhD student

I am a postdoc helping in the supervision of a PhD student who is finishing his 2nd year now. This is in Europe, meaning the student came in with a MSc degree and these 2 years have been of research. "...
115
votes
7answers
20k views

Advisor tries to reproduce my results to ensure my honesty. Is it the norm?

I am a M.Sc. student in Machine Learning, about to finish my thesis this month. My advisor wants me to meet him in person to reproduce my results under his control. It is obvious that the main reason ...
114
votes
11answers
28k views

What to remember when supervising female PhD students?

I have been supervising a female PhD student for a couple of months. She is the first female PhD student I am supervising and got the position on merit. My view is that her gender does not/should ...
99
votes
12answers
25k views

One of my student researchers is likely falsifying some results/data. What are the consequences?

Relevant info and background: I'm an engineering Post Doc at an American university. One of my roles is to basically function as a 'project manager' for a couple projects that have a number of ...
93
votes
15answers
42k views

Should I report a PhD student’s incompetence to their supervisor?

I had a short exchange of mails with a PhD student who wished to ask some questions about a paper of mine, which was troublesome in many respects: The student had a blatant lack of basic knowledge ...
84
votes
4answers
15k views

Am I being exploited by my supervisor?

It has been 4.5 years since I joined as a PhD student. My supervisor asks me to draft almost all of his important emails. He will begin by briefing me the issue, and ask me to draft the email in a ...
84
votes
11answers
10k views

How to train students to write high-quality research papers?

As someone supervising postgrad students, I wonder what is the best way to train these students to write high-quality research papers? The best way seems to be through coauthorship but ... On the ...
82
votes
9answers
13k views

Is it acceptable for a professor to ask post-doc student to babysit for free?

Like the title says, I have a friend who is a post-doc and her professor is asking her and another post-doc to baby-sit for him. He does not pay them, he simply expects them to baby-sit for free ...
76
votes
5answers
15k views

My supervisor misjudges my knowledge

I started working on my master thesis a few weeks ago. When I talk to my supervisor and try to discuss new ideas she always starts to explain very basic material that is only tangentially related. ...
71
votes
13answers
33k views

Dealing with a PhD student reneging on an agreement to appear in social media

Inspired by this question, I have a similar but somehow different problem. I recently assumed a tenure-track position. One of my strategies for a visible start is to have a strong presence in social ...
70
votes
7answers
7k views

How to motivate students you supervise to produce high-quality research when other graduate students in the program don't?

I have a good friend who is in his first year as an assistant professor right now, having earned his PhD last year. He is frustrated because in his new department, standards for graduate student ...
69
votes
7answers
8k views

Are PhD supervisors responsible for informing students about legal issues pertaining to research?

After an extreme amount of effort, I am now in possession of a very large dataset of human experiments which is required for my research. However, after speaking with some of my colleagues about ...
68
votes
10answers
13k views

Graduate student with abysmal English writing skills, how to help

I am a math professor at an R1 university. I have taken up a new graduate student (my n'th for n<=10), who is mathematically quite strong, but whose writing skills are a couple notches below what I ...
65
votes
8answers
18k views

While showing my work to my supervisor, an adult website appeared. Am I in trouble?

I will try to make this brief. I am a student at a prominent university in the UK, and while I was showing my thesis work, a website, to my supervisor, the website crashed. Then I was asked to close ...
64
votes
8answers
20k views

I'm in a religious country, and my religious supervisor is praying. What should I do?

My supervisor and all his other doctoral students are practicing religious, while I am not, I am "non-religious". We never discuss religion together, but sometimes they all leave to pray together, ...
63
votes
11answers
18k views

PhD supervisor wants me to quit after break

I have been studying for a PhD and unfortunately had been suffering from depression during the first year and on medication, so I didn't make much progress at all. My supervisor seemed understanding, ...
62
votes
16answers
13k views

Inadmissible theorems in research

One of my engineering friends told me how he once had to take a make-up calculus I exam due to being hospitalised and so self-studied a lot of the missed topics. For the make-up exam, he used L'...
61
votes
13answers
9k views

Should I avoid admitting female students for now?

I am female and an early-career PI (principal investigator) in a discipline that tends to attract women, and people with high levels of anxiety (this is documented). In my first years as a graduate ...
60
votes
5answers
11k views

As a new PhD supervisor, how should I deal with taking a student to a wrong direction?

I am a postdoc who was supposed to co-supervise a PhD student along with another academic who invited me for that. However, I ended up fully supervising the student after the supervisor became too ...
59
votes
13answers
26k views

Is it fair to my PhD student if I ask them to do “miscellaneous” work for a paper they're not going to be a coauthor of?

I've started work as an assistant professor recently, and my first PhD student has just started her first semester. I'm working on a paper with my collaborators which is almost ready to submit. I am ...
57
votes
5answers
3k views

How to ask for feedback from research students on my supervision abilities?

As the lone experimentalist in my group, I end up supervising most of the students (M.S., B.S. and high school) who do experimentation-focused research in my lab. I am always trying to improve my ...
56
votes
11answers
12k views

How to deal with unnecessary stress introduced by the supervisor?

I am doing my PhD in a high prestige UK university. I am finishing my second year and I have funding for three years in total. I have already two papers finished (pending to be published) and ...
55
votes
9answers
7k views

Telling a former supervisor you don't want to publish

I graduated from my PhD in the middle of last year and have since landed a full time job in industry. Currently I'm pretty ran off my feet with work, but I'm also enjoying having free time at weekends ...
52
votes
10answers
20k views

Is asking your PhD supervisor a basic question considered inappropriate?

I've done my Master's degree in Computational Mathematics. Then, because of several reasons, I decided to pursue my Ph.D. in the field of Quantum Chemistry. The problem is, obviously, my lack of ...
48
votes
8answers
6k views

How can a researcher in his early career attract good PhD students?

As stated by the title, I want to know what a researcher in his early career, i.e., having not had any graduated PhD student yet, can do to attract good candidates. The reason I am asking this ...
47
votes
11answers
18k views

PhD: When to quit and move on?

I am a second year PhD student at a technical / interdisciplinary lab in Europe wondering when to quit and leave a seemingly unbearable situation behind. My supervisor (a young-ish professor) mostly ...
47
votes
3answers
6k views

Whether/how to list a failed student on my CV

I'm a postdoctoral researcher. My professor recently asked me to co-supervise one of her doctoral students, whom she also employed full-time as a research scientist. Since I had no prior experience ...
40
votes
4answers
7k views

What should you do when your professor does not pay you for completed research work?

I had an oral agreement with a supervisor that I was to complete research work for him. We established how many hours I was to work, and my hourly rate, when the work was to be done, etc. I completed ...
38
votes
12answers
11k views

How to explain to a student that it is common to include a supervisor as a co-author?

In my field of research, it is common to include a supervisor as a co-author of a student's PhD research related papers. A supervisor mainly contributes by helping to improve the writing of a paper, ...
38
votes
6answers
2k views

What do you do when your PhD student is spending too long on a problem?

I am in math and I am fairly new in supervising PhD students, so I need some advice. I have a fairly good student who has made very good progress initially. But after a promising start, he's been ...
37
votes
12answers
10k views

How to address in-group bullying without compromising PhD/career?

I've been bullied by my supervisor and other members of my research group for the past couple of years. Some of the things which have indicated bullying include snide remarks being made during group ...
37
votes
3answers
6k views

As a supervisor, what feedback would you expect from a PhD who quits?

I’m quitting my PhD. The decision has been made. The reasons boil down to diminished interest in the research subject and disappointment with the university’s managerial practices (nothing is done on ...
36
votes
5answers
12k views

How serious is plagiarism in a master’s thesis?

I published my PhD thesis three years ago. I have just come to know that a master’s student has copied three chapters from my PhD thesis half a year later. My PhD supervisor was also the supervisor ...
35
votes
7answers
7k views

1.5 years later, how to make sure unprofessional behaviour by former mentor has consequences?

I was a post doc at a large US university for a year and after took another postdoc position in my home country. My mentor was a tenure track assistant professor. It pretty soon became clear that ...
34
votes
10answers
8k views

Is it pointless to bring up poor supervision during PhD viva?

I should defend my PhD in the UK near the end of the year. Unfortunately I fell into the class of horribly supervised PhD students - with an ill-defined research project and an absent supervisor who ...
34
votes
5answers
5k views

How much help is a PhD supervisor if you only see them 30 minutes a month?

I often hear from PhD students that they see their supervisor only 30 minutes per month, or 30 minutes per semester even. According to my calculations, this adds up to a whopping 13 hours and 6 hours ...
33
votes
7answers
11k views

Applying for a postdoc. Should I mention that I completed my PhD with no supervision?

I'm hopefully in the last half a year or so of my Ph.D. in a subfield of mathematics/theoretical physics and am considering applying for a postdoc within the next three months. My supervisor works (...
33
votes
9answers
9k views

How do I tell my supervisor his idea is incorrect?

My supervisor gave me some guidance in order to complete my Masters thesis and to publish the result in a journal. His idea to develop the work is not correct and in this case I know my thesis better ...
32
votes
8answers
8k views

Should I make my research students' pay contingent on completion of tasks (such as reading/summarizing papers)?

I received a fund that I can use explicitly for paying graduate (master's and doctoral) students for research. These students already receive a stipend from the university, but most advisors who can ...
32
votes
10answers
13k views

Do professors get paid for supervising students?

Do professors get paid for supervising PhD students / honours student's projects? If so, typically how much?
31
votes
6answers
11k views

How to write an effective but very gentle reminder email to supervisor to check the Manuscript?

I had submitted my first manuscript to my supervisor in 2013. He checked it after one year and finally submit it to a journal in Jan 2015. After one major revision, it got accepted with a minor ...
30
votes
5answers
3k views

Should academics allow student to submit a possibly flawed paper?

I let a student associated with me (but who is not really my PhD student) submit a paper to a fairly-local meeting (some people do come from abroad). Because I'd been tasked with supporting the ...
30
votes
8answers
6k views

Postdoc that refuses to follow the terms of her contract

I am supervising a research group. Each year, our institution offers several four years postdoc positions, and one year ago I told a friend of mine to apply to it because we work in very similar ...
30
votes
4answers
7k views

My current PI is telling me that I am a very shy person and he is really pissed off, what I should do?

Today in the lab we had a birthday, I had participated, but not so much as I feel anxious in crowded areas. I felt very shy and that's true, so I withdrew from the party after 15 minutes and wished ...
29
votes
7answers
15k views

I ghosted my previous supervisor for 15 days. How to improve my situation?

TL;DR: I ghosted (i.e. suddenly ceased communication with no explanation) my previous supervisor for 2 weeks when I had to do some minor final job regarding to my already finished thesis work due to ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

What would be a good approach to make sure my advisor goes through all the report?

As the question suggests, is it ethical for me to check if my supervisor is reading my whole report/paper? If yes, then can I add a line somewhere in the middle of the report to test whether or not he ...
29
votes
6answers
10k views

Is it possible to restart a PhD due to issues with supervisor (and should I do it)?

I am a PhD student in Europe and I am in the state of permanent crisis because of my PhD supervisor. He is a very nice person, who is very active with public engagement, very successful at grant ...
29
votes
6answers
6k views

Minimal supervision in Phd

I started my PhD three months ago in the UK. I am a biologist, but my project lies more in the synthetic chemistry field and all the experiments I have to do are completely new for me. My problem is ...

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