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How to avoid lab during PhD thesis writing

  1. Mar 18, 2015 #1
    Hello

    I will defend in a couple of weeks and I have been asked to do experiments that are not directly adding to my thesis (I can force it and add If I wanted but not really critical). Normally PhD candidates in the final stage are given a time to work on their PhD thesis and in my situation I am expected to attend all the meetings and still do very active research. Finally I wrote an email to my Prof that I cannot do any more experiments until I finish my thesis. His idea was to extend it, but my thesis is already extended due to project deadlines and I am already talking to companies for job interviews and I do not want to extend it anymore. So I wrote an email about it. Shouldn't the deadlines be for out lives instead of project deadlines which never end? Professors wants to keep the senior students as long as they can since they know they work hard an produce data really fast. But thats it, I am done.

    Thanks for listening.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2015 #2

    ZapperZ

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    It is definitely reasonable for you to ask your advisor that you finish up your Thesis and then graduate. All of the physics professors that I know of will want their students to graduate as soon as they can. However, it appears that your professor is taking advantage of you by trying to delay your graduation.

    Now, this has happened before, and in such cases, the students themselves did not mind it. In fact, I knew of one who would like nothing better than to be a perpetual student before his professor pushed him out of the nest. So if it by mutual agreement, there's no issue here. But in your case, you clearly want to move on, and that is perfectly reasonable, and your advisor should had given you time to finish your writing.

    Zz.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2015 #3

    Choppy

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    Maybe they do it differently at your school, but in my experience you have to submit your thesis to your committee six weeks prior to your defence date. That gives your committee and external reviewer time to look critically at the thesis and evaluate it. So you really shouldn't be making changes to it in the "couple of weeks" up to your defence.

    That said, while it is entirely possible that he is trying to get some extra work out of you, it's important not to burn bridges. Presumably your supervisor is going to act as your primary reference for the jobs you're applying for. Also you have to be careful to think about his comments. Some supervisors will suggest that you extend your PhD because they don't feel you're ready to submit and defend.
     
  5. Mar 18, 2015 #4
    I would agree with Choppy. Most in may experience would let you finish uninterrupted at this stage. Yours for whatever reason seems a little demanding.You might have to do a balancing act in your final months. You probably will have a while after you submit your thesis to help out in the lab full time before your defense.. Alienating your adviser at this stage is just not a great Idea. Perhaps giving him a token attention to research activities during your final stage of submitting your thesis may satisfy him. Your adviser should tell you if he thinks that your thesis is lacking. Has he seen all your data and have you discussed the results and conclusions with him? Has he given his blessing to write? He may think you can write adequately part time. Maybe he did it. In negotiating a job just give yourself additional time before you commit. Sorry about your predicament.
     
  6. Mar 18, 2015 #5

    ZapperZ

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    Er.. people, he's DEFENDING IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS!

    If his advisor doesn't think he's ready, or if his research work isn't sufficient, he would not have signed off on the defense! You know, the part where you fill in some forms, have your advisor sign it, before the committee is informed of the date.

    He clearly stated that none of what he has been asked to participate in will contribute to his thesis! And nowhere in what was stated was anything mentioning that his advisor didn't think his thesis was inadequate.

    Zz.
     
  7. Mar 19, 2015 #6
    I didn't read the initial post carefully enough. You defend in a few weeks. Your thesis has been submitted. You are done, fini, You sit waiting for that date.. If you are not prepared to defend it at this point then ....? You have time to do some work in the lab, what are you doing now? Not much. so help out in the lab.
     
  8. Mar 23, 2015 #7
    ZapperZ, thanks for getting my point.

    gleem and Choppy. If I am working in the lab day and night ? when do you think I get ready for my defense?! I am not magic. I am a human. This is when I need time to get ready. "what are you doing now? not much" I am surprised how you can ask this question, I am waiting for feedback from my advisor which he takes 3 months to review one chapter. I am doing the measurements day and night for a research project which there is no publications in the end, while waiting feedback and trying to set a defense date.
     
  9. Mar 23, 2015 #8
    Well, my response was based on your original presentation and what I would consider a normal state of affairs. I wouldn't expect any one to work day and night everyone know fatigue breeds mistakes and errors.If the experiment by virtue of it design demanded continuous attention and then I would expect assistance from others in your research group. However you so seem to have a unique situation. I cannot for the life of me see how your adviser can take three months to review one chapter. So your problem is not how to get out of the lab or even get time to prepare for your defense but how to get your adviser to speed up his review. I would expect there would be some guidelines regarding the time you submit your draft and when your adviser is expected to return it with comments. Have you checked with the office of the Dean of the College of Science or whatever the call the governing body for your department?
     
  10. Mar 23, 2015 #9

    Choppy

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    What confused me was that you said you needed time to to "write" your thesis. So something doesn't add up. As I explained, in my experience, the thesis is written and submitted six weeks before the defence. Students are not still writing it in the weeks leading up to the defence. They can't. Supervisors have already given all of their feedback by then as well.

    Time to "prepare your defence" is understandable of course. But that wasn't what you asked initially.
     
  11. Mar 23, 2015 #10
    Our school have 3 steps. Qualifiers, comprehensive and thesis. Thesis is only 2 weeks before the defense. I have no idea you assume all the universities need to have 6 weeks before the defense and the thesis submission. In our case, we submit most of it in comprehensive and there is some to add. I am not here to let you lecture me. I am here to share and relax and unfortunately I will kindly ask you to keep quiet If you will keep punishing me by the rules our university does not have. I don't need more stress.
     
  12. Mar 23, 2015 #11

    Choppy

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    Sorry, I know the PhD defence can be a stressful time. I didn't mean to add to it.
     
  13. Mar 23, 2015 #12
    No worries, I am sorry If I overreacted. We talked with Prof and looks like It will be OK in the end. I decided to take everything a little more easy , doing my best and leaving the rest to him :) Thanks for your comments.
     
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