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146 votes

My PhD supervisor cannot promise me a date to defend my dissertation before my visa expires. Should I just quit my PhD and start over?

You should talk immediately with the International Office (or equivalent) at your university, as well as any student-coordinated offices at your university. This is by no means the first time that ...
aeismail's user avatar
  • 174k
143 votes

Is it inappropriate for a student to attend their mentor's dissertation defense?

It's fine. As you say, these are open to the public, and it's common for family members, department members, and friends to attend. Since you perhaps are not "firmly" in any of these categories, ...
cag51's user avatar
  • 70.5k
126 votes
Accepted

Gift for mentor after his thesis defense?

A short (1-2 paragraph) hand written note on a card or postcard would be an appropriate gift. I have mentored about a dozen undergraduates and I still have the thank you notes they sent to me on my ...
Richard Erickson's user avatar
126 votes
Accepted

One reviewer in the committee rejected my Ph.D. defense but he didn't attend

Ask for a different 3rd reviewer. This person clearly does not respect the doctoral process and does not give you a fair chance to gain your PhD. He should be removed from the committee and replaced ...
Captain Emacs's user avatar
115 votes

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

I'd suggest that the viva is possibly the worst time to do this. Almost anything you say could be interpreted as whining and trying to deflect responsibility for any shortcomings. Many things you ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 376k
112 votes

Is it inappropriate for a student to attend their mentor's dissertation defense?

I think @cag51's answer ("it's fine") is actually a bit too mild. Please go if you can! Attitudes towards thesis defenses seem to vary a bit from program to program. My PhD program had a pretty ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 5,218
102 votes
Accepted

Thesis reviewer requests update to literature review to incorporate last four years of research. Do I need to do this?

The criticism is that you're not up to date on the current state of your own field of specialty, and it is not a light matter. If the "reviewer" is some sort of committee member that can throw a ...
Scott Seidman's user avatar
86 votes

My PhD defense is next week and I am having negative thoughts about my work and knowledge. Any advice on how to tackle this?

Take a deep breath. You will be OK. You're suffering from impostor syndrome. PhD defenses are traditional formalities. Your advisor wouldn't let you schedule yours if they didn't think you ready. ...
Ethan Bolker's user avatar
  • 37.5k
78 votes

Thesis reviewer requests update to literature review to incorporate last four years of research. Do I need to do this?

First, if a reviewer stated that you should better do something, then you better do something (in most cases, do what the reviewer says, unless you have a very good reason to do something else). ...
Dirk's user avatar
  • 38.9k
64 votes

Gift for mentor after his thesis defense?

Actually, the thing that would be most appreciated - and valued - is a hand written letter on nice stationery giving congratulations and thanking him for his help in your own work. Short, ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 376k
63 votes

What might be a "compelling" reason for applying to defend my ph.d. degree remotely?

The flight ticket is extremely expensive A reasonable person would consider that a compelling reason.
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
57 votes

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

Let me rephrase what you're trying to do: You want to complain about your supervisor, in front of your supervisor and in the presence of your supervisor's colleagues. That seems like a generally bad ...
Wolfgang Bangerth's user avatar
52 votes

My supervisor is suggesting I will fail my PhD, is this possible?

There are definitely fails in PhD defenses. It may depend on the specific system and I don't know about Canada, but I know of a number of them in the UK, where the candidate was asked to rework and ...
Christian Hennig's user avatar
45 votes

It has been 6.5 years of my PhD and I am not seeing the end. What to do?

The way you describe your situation, your adviser's refusal to graduate you is her attempt to protect you. Once you're graduated, you have to move on. The only alternative for her to keep you around ...
gnometorule's user avatar
  • 12.4k
44 votes

As a new faculty, should I attend students' thesis defense in my department but not in my field?

It's normal to advertise PhD defenses broadly in some systems; in many cases defenses are open to the public (at least in part; detailed questioning by the committee is often separate), but as in just ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 123k
40 votes

Viva voce question about another student "validating" my results

I suspect your supervisor was thinking about how that student confirmed your results. A classic way this could happen is, if you solved a problem with one method and then the other student solved the ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 133k
38 votes

One reviewer in the committee rejected my Ph.D. defense but he didn't attend

Too new to comment, so following up on CaptainEmacs answer and whether it is "too late" to change reviewers. I have a friend (albeit in the US) who had one reviewer out of three, not approve. And ...
dwbarkley's user avatar
  • 489
38 votes
Accepted

Can you defend your thesis without any slide presentation?

Of course, slide presentations are a very recent development. Even the humble overhead projector didn't exist when I defended. We wrote with chalk on a slate like material. Yes, you can do a ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 376k
37 votes
Accepted

I conceptually understand a result, but not its mathematical implementation – how can I defend using it?

When it comes to applying mathematical results, it is the norm that you do not understand all the nuts and bolts of what you are applying. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, it’s the only way ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 62.7k
36 votes

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

Everyone is correctly saying don't do it, but my answer is stronger than "it's unprofessional" or "it's irrelevant". I think it increases the chances of failing. In the system I know (Ireland, similar ...
jmmcd's user avatar
  • 1,241
36 votes

My supervisor is suggesting I will fail my PhD, is this possible?

Your supervisor is aware of expectations for a PhD program. Their role is to help you understand these expectations and develop your PhD work to this standard. Having one IEEE Trans publication and a ...
Dmitry Savostyanov's user avatar
36 votes

Can I ask a specific person to leave my defence meeting?

Keep calm and get your defence done with. Live a 'happy' research life after! Can I ask her to leave if my supervisor invited her by any chance? Can you? You can. Should you? You shouldn't. Things ...
semmyk-research's user avatar
33 votes

What to do if you disagree with a juror during master's thesis defense?

Blame yourself for the misunderstanding, then fix it I am assuming here that you are the student who is the writer of the dissertation. If not, my advice applies to the student working on the ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 70.1k
31 votes

My PhD defense is next week and I am having negative thoughts about my work and knowledge. Any advice on how to tackle this?

Here's the thing: People's dissertation work is usually not an earth-shattering achievement. I feel that I have just not done enough. I feel my Ph.D. was sorta-kinda enough; and a "strict version ...
einpoklum's user avatar
  • 39.4k
30 votes

What might be a "compelling" reason for applying to defend my ph.d. degree remotely?

You can only ask and learn, but I'd think that the combination of cost and COVID (including the lack of social distancing in air travel) goes beyond questions of "convenience". If the ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 376k
27 votes
Accepted

How to deal with an absentee advisor who is unreachable when trying to set up thesis defense

I would reach out to someone who has a role in overseeing or administrating the graduate program - you could probably start with the "department coordinator" you mention. It's not clear to ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 123k
26 votes

Can I ask a specific person to leave my defence meeting?

If the supervisor invited her, I'd suggest you not ask. It could get very awkward. Taking credit for your ideas is a different matter, but the defense is not the time to deal with it. You don't want ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 376k
25 votes

It has been 6.5 years of my PhD and I am not seeing the end. What to do?

Since gnometorule left a few things unsaid, let me try to complement it a bit. If you quit, what will you have? That "feels" like the worst option of all. Times are bad, not just for you. ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 376k
24 votes

Is it advisable to give a handout with the slides to the jury of my PhD defense?

In my department, students usually give out a handout with slides to members of the committee. Many seem to find it helpful - they use it exactly as you said: to take notes, to follow the slides (...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
24 votes

My PhD supervisor cannot promise me a date to defend my dissertation before my visa expires. Should I just quit my PhD and start over?

I think the easiest way to resolve your dilemma is to apply for an extension of your stay in Germany. Even though you got your visa in your home country, you don't necessarily have to go back to your ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
  • 2,951

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