Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Finishing the PhD

6. Supervisors are people too (Finishing the PhD)

(Part 6 of 10)

One of the things that needs to be taken into account as you struggle to finish the thesis are your supervisors. For you, finishing the thesis has probably become you entire life and it’s easy to assume the same of your supervisors. However, they have their own lives to live – and your project is just a small part of that, along with their own teaching, research, other grad students, marking, and their life outside of university.

Simple courtesies really.

  • Don’t dump 50,000-100,000 words on them and expect it back tomorrow or the next day with comments.
  • Check that they’re not disappearing off to conferences etc. when you need them to sign essential forms for submission or to cast an eye over a final draft. Also, check what they have to do for you to submit.
  • By the end of the process you should be defending your research and writing decisions to them as peers and colleagues. If you differ in opinion (and you will in places), then you must be prepared to defend that to the examiners (and in the oral exam, if you have one).
  • Don’t forget to thank them for their input and work in the process – in person and in the thesis acknowledgments.
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