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    I did a CDT course at a university in London. Due to bad financial circumstances, I was forced to do 16-20 hours of part time work a week (sometimes up to even 30). I was doing this while having to submit 4 coursework deadlines a week. No one else in my cohort worked a single part time job. In fact, we were told to because the Masters course is extremely intense.

    The reason why my financial situation was bad is because I come from a very poor household; no one in my family has a job. Even though I was receiving money from scholarship - it wasn't enough to cover both rent and living expense in London.

    Also, before I even started the course, I was already £2000 in debt, due to having to pay £3000 in advance for my flat. Despite this I managed to score 59.4% in the taught element of the masters course. The thing that really let me down was the research element of the maters course. Basically, I was given an extremely incompetent supervisor whom didn't know what he was doing, didn't give me the necessary softwares for me to actually achieve what he wanted me to do, and was asking me to do things that he had no real understanding of himself. I would email him my codes a week in advance - only to meet him in his office to find out that he hadn't looked at it (despite asking me to send it to him a week in advance).

    Our meetings mostly lasted 10 minutes. And he was happy with me just achieving the bare minimum. I complained about him, to my CDTs personal tutor, but nothing happened. In the end, I ended up achieving 54% in the research part of my course.

    My overall grade was 57% - unneeded 60% to progress into the PhD part of the CDT. I appealed immediately after receiving my grades. I appealed about the terrible supervision I received.

    My first appeal was unsuccessful. Despite writing a lot of paragraphs about how terrible the supervision was (and showing email proofs and everything) - the decision letter from my university stated that "because he only achieved 59% in the taught part of the course, we feel that the 54% was a fair result; he hasn't shown that he's above this grade". The CDT did not know I was working 16-20 hours a week. I submitted my second stage appeal nearly 2 months ago.

    I gave additional proofs about my financial situation. I haven't heard anything back yet. Is this normal? Thank you for reading.
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    (Original post by skyonly)
    I did a CDT course at a university in London. Due to bad financial circumstances, I was forced to do 16-20 hours of part time work a week (sometimes up to even 30). I was doing this while having to submit 4 coursework deadlines a week. No one else in my cohort worked a single part time job. In fact, we were told to because the Masters course is extremely intense.

    The reason why my financial situation was bad is because I come from a very poor household; no one in my family has a job. Even though I was receiving money from scholarship - it wasn't enough to cover both rent and living expense in London.

    Also, before I even started the course, I was already £2000 in debt, due to having to pay £3000 in advance for my flat. Despite this I managed to score 59.4% in the taught element of the masters course. The thing that really let me down was the research element of the maters course. Basically, I was given an extremely incompetent supervisor whom didn't know what he was doing, didn't give me the necessary softwares for me to actually achieve what he wanted me to do, and was asking me to do things that he had no real understanding of himself. I would email him my codes a week in advance - only to meet him in his office to find out that he hadn't looked at it (despite asking me to send it to him a week in advance).

    Our meetings mostly lasted 10 minutes. And he was happy with me just achieving the bare minimum. I complained about him, to my CDTs personal tutor, but nothing happened. In the end, I ended up achieving 54% in the research part of my course.

    My overall grade was 57% - unneeded 60% to progress into the PhD part of the CDT. I appealed immediately after receiving my grades. I appealed about the terrible supervision I received.

    My first appeal was unsuccessful. Despite writing a lot of paragraphs about how terrible the supervision was (and showing email proofs and everything) - the decision letter from my university stated that "because he only achieved 59% in the taught part of the course, we feel that the 54% was a fair result; he hasn't shown that he's above this grade". The CDT did not know I was working 16-20 hours a week. I submitted my second stage appeal nearly 2 months ago.

    I gave additional proofs about my financial situation. I haven't heard anything back yet. Is this normal? Thank you for reading.
    Unfortunately, you cannot appeal based on the fact that you were overworked by your external job and financial situation. If you couldn't afford to undertake the CDT then you shouldn't have taken at on at this point in your life. To do so in the way you did, was your own decision. The uni cannot be held culpable for not treating this as extenuating circumstances. They even advised you not to work due to the course intensity. You need to abandon this aspect of your appeal - it is irrelevant.

    This leaves you with a complaint regarding the quality of your supervision. However your appeal is again based on the fact that your external working commitments were not taken into account. The uni are under no obligation to do this.

    Sadly, I don't understand how your case has even been permitted to reach an appeal stage. At my unis, your complaint would not have been permitted to progress into the first stage of consideration. It is standard that the only grounds for appeal, are that assessment or marking processes have not been followed. I don't see anything about this in the situation you describe.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    Unfortunately, you cannot appeal based on the fact that you were overworked by your external job and financial situation. If you couldn't afford to undertake the CDT then you shouldn't have taken at on at this point in your life. To do so in the way you did, was your own decision. The uni cannot be held culpable for not treating this as extenuating circumstances. They even advised you not to work due to the course intensity. You need to abandon this aspect of your appeal - it is irrelevant.

    This leaves you with a complaint regarding the quality of your supervision. However your appeal is again based on the fact that your external working commitments were not taken into account. The uni are under no obligation to do this.

    Sadly, I don't understand how your case has even been permitted to reach an appeal stage. At my unis, your complaint would not have been permitted to progress into the first stage of consideration. It is standard that the only grounds for appeal, are that assessment or marking processes have not been followed. I don't see anything about this in the situation you describe.
    My main appeal had nothing to do with external working commitments because I wasn't working much during the summer. I didn't even mention my working commitments until the second stage appeal.
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    Honestly by phD level you should be working pretty independently - not relying on your supervisor for everything. The university are right in that if you didn't acheive 60% in your coursework where the supervisor was not an issue then there's no evidence you'd have acheived it with a different supervisor. It wouldn't be right for them to allow you to continue to a phD when you're not going to be academically able to complete it - it's a waste of their time/money and a waste of your time/money.
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    (Original post by doodle_333)
    Honestly by phD level you should be working pretty independently - not relying on your supervisor for everything. The university are right in that if you didn't acheive 60% in your coursework where the supervisor was not an issue then there's no evidence you'd have acheived it with a different supervisor. It wouldn't be right for them to allow you to continue to a phD when you're not going to be academically able to complete it - it's a waste of their time/money and a waste of your time/money.
    Actually, the reason why I was allowed into the CDT in the first place is because I scored 75 % in the research component of my undergraduate masters - I'm good at research. The supervisor I was given for this CDT wanted me to do the things HE wanted me to do. He gave me a list of things I should do and follow. We only had 3 months to do a project and write a dissertation about it (unlike my undergraduate masters were I had a bit more time). Plus I didn't have my own office, communication with my supervisor was hard. I also said I didn't have the right software to even generate the graphs because my former supervisor didn't have the licience for the software... So he didn't think through what he was asking me to do
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    (Original post by skyonly)
    We only had 3 months to do a project and write a dissertation about it (unlike my undergraduate masters were I had a bit more time).
    This is standard for a postgrad Masters dissertation. I did mine in three months - and from a standing start when my initial project collapsed shortly before I was due to start it. See below.

    Plus I didn't have my own office
    Again, standard. As a Masters student, I only had access to shared study spaces. Most of those were monopolised by undergrads. At my current uni, even the PhD students hot desk in shared open plan offices.

    communication with my supervisor was hard.
    I met with mine three times before he left for a summer research project. Most of my supervision was done via email, which he answered sporadically. He asked me to send draft chapters but his inbox was always full, so few documents ever reached him. Basically, yes, supervisers can be less than ideal. Standard stuff.

    I also said I didn't have the right software to even generate the graphs because my former supervisor didn't have the licience for the software... So he didn't think through what he was asking me to do
    That has to be worth focussing on. On the other hand, you should have been doing your own research rather than theirs. By agreeing to do their research, you tied yourself to a project without knowing whether it was feasible. I ditched my first Masters diss supervisor when they tried to do that to me. You've learned a lesson about standing up for yourself in academia.

    But overall, there was a good point made above that baldly, your performance in both assessed work and the dissertation, were not great and were not PhD potential. If it was just the diss you might be able to home in on that and blame the supervision and facilities. But it wasn't. I think you're better off letting it go. It's not like you'll gain anything even if you win an appeal. You won't get a remark, a refund, or be allowed a second attempt. You certainly wouldn't get any kind of academic reference to give it another try elsewhere.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    This is standard for a postgrad Masters dissertation. I did mine in three months - and from a standing start when my initial project collapsed shortly before I was due to start it. See below.


    Again, standard. As a Masters student, I only had access to shared study spaces. Most of those were monopolised by undergrads. At my current uni, even the PhD students hot desk in shared open plan offices.


    I met with mine three times before he left for a summer research project. Most of my supervision was done via email, which he answered sporadically. He asked me to send draft chapters but his inbox was always full, so few documents ever reached him. Basically, yes, supervisers can be less than ideal. Standard stuff.


    That has to be worth focussing on. On the other hand, you should have been doing your own research rather than theirs. By agreeing to do their research, you tied yourself to a project without knowing whether it was feasible. I ditched my first Masters diss supervisor when they tried to do that to me. You've learned a lesson about standing up for yourself in academia.

    But overall, there was a good point made above that baldly, your performance in both assessed work and the dissertation, were not great and were not PhD potential. If it was just the diss you might be able to home in on that and blame the supervision and facilities. But it wasn't. I think you're better off letting it go. It's not like you'll gain anything even if you win an appeal. You won't get a remark, a refund, or be allowed a second attempt. You certainly wouldn't get any kind of academic reference to give it another try elsewhere.
    Well... They told me I would be allowed to do my PhD if I win my appeal (the CDT).

    And how can you say "not great or PhD potential" when I said I had no access to what I needed? I couldn't change supervisors and had complained about him months before the deadline? I think you're grossly underestimating the situation

    Edit: I'm not complaining too much about the lack of office. I'm complaining because my supervisor dictated what he wanted me to do but had no clue about what I needed - i.e. The software. Even the people he asked to help me couldn't help me... Including the person that "wrote" the paper he wanted me to - essentially - remake.

    Don't forget - I made it into this course on the strength of my RESEARCH grade in my undergraduate MASTERS. I could have gone straight to PhD if I wanted but chose this particular CDT due to the fact that it had - apparently - a lot of computational opportunities.
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    (Original post by skyonly)
    Don't forget - I made it into this course on the strength of my RESEARCH grade in my undergraduate MASTERS. I could have gone straight to PhD if I wanted but chose this particular CDT due to the fact that it had - apparently - a lot of computational opportunities.
    A lot of people do well at one level, and then fail at a higher level of study. Think of how many people do well at GCSE but then fail at A Level, or get into uni but then fail there. So saying you did well in an undergraduate thing is irrelevant, a it does not show your ability for higher level study. even if you had gone straight onto the PhD it's likely you would have got a similar result, because both of your current marks show a similar ability.

    I understand that it is a hard thing to hear, but by scoring in the 50's for both parts, you've shown you're currently capable of achieving marks in the 50's. Making excuses will just mean you drag out the problem and mean you waste another year or so. You've already said you're struggling for money, so rather than wasting money on academic study you should look at other options.
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    (Original post by Juno)
    A lot of people do well at one level, and then fail at a higher level of study. Think of how many people do well at GCSE but then fail at A Level, or get into uni but then fail there. So saying you did well in an undergraduate thing is irrelevant, a it does not show your ability for higher level study. even if you had gone straight onto the PhD it's likely you would have got a similar result, because both of your current marks show a similar ability.

    I understand that it is a hard thing to hear, but by scoring in the 50's for both parts, you've shown you're currently capable of achieving marks in the 50's. Making excuses will just mean you drag out the problem and mean you waste another year or so. You've already said you're struggling for money, so rather than wasting money on academic study you should look at other options.
    I'm sorry but HOW does it show I'm likely to get the same score? Imagine working 16-20 hours as a tutor AND doing 4 hardcore deadlines a week. The reason why I had to work had to do with flat situation. I don't want to go into too much details, but I'm the debt happened very shortly before the term started. With a PhD do you get 4 weekly deadlines EVERY week? No. Do you have much more time? Yes. You have a very simplistic view of the situation. I did very well in my exams except one exam. You're basically implying that I don't have the ability. So I don't have the ability to do well when I don't have the software. Is that what you're telling me?

    Edit: You WOULD have a point if these problems didn't exist - but that isn't the case. I was also strongly encouraged by some academic members (outside of the CDT) to appeal.
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    Klix makes some good points.

    I'm not quite as pessimistic, but you do need to take account of the issues he's raised. Some of the things you think are strong imo are not. Go and get help from one of the student supervisors or enlist the help of someone who is capable of writing appeals. I think you should appeal because you have nothing to lose, but have a think about which points you wnat to make and how to effectively present them. the tone and emphasis of what you write can have a big impact on the way your case is perceived. Dont be whiney and straight blaming oher people, think about how you wish to mention your economic hardship. Understand the appeal rules and what you need to prove. GL anyway.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    Klix makes some good points.

    I'm not quite as pessimistic, but you do need to take account of the issues he's raised. Some of the things you think are strong imo are not. Go and get help from one of the student supervisors or enlist the help of someone who is capable of writing appeals. I think you should appeal because you have nothing to lose, but have a think about which points you wnat to make and how to effectively present them. the tone and emphasis of what you write can have a big impact on the way your case is perceived. Dont be whiney and straight blaming oher people, think about how you wish to mention your economic hardship. Understand the appeal rules and what you need to prove. GL anyway.
    Thank you! I did try my best to read the rules. And the hardship wasn't mentioned in the first stage appeal - it was mentioned in the second appeal; but only 1 paragraph (out of 5 or 6 was written about it). I sent my second stage appeal over 2 months ago - but i haven't heard back. That's why i made this thread to ask if that's normal. i only wrote as much as I did in the OP to give background to the situation.
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    (Original post by skyonly)
    Thank you! I did try my best to read the rules. And the hardship wasn't mentioned in the first stage appeal - it was mentioned in the second appeal; but only 1 paragraph (out of 5 or 6 was written about it). I sent my second stage appeal over 2 months ago - but i haven't heard back. That's why i made this thread to ask if that's normal. i only wrote as much as I did in the OP to give background to the situation.
    Sorry am not paying attention. If you have already submitted your appeal, then you just have to be patient. If you wnat to find out then ask them how long it usually takes. All the other stuff as in what to right is irrelevant now. The financial commitments needed to be presented carefully as mostly its your repsonibility.
    The complaints about your supervisor needs to get the correct pitch and I thought you were overegging it, but hrad to say without having read it. I'm just pointing out there are ways of saying things that know how to place the correct emphasis.

    You should identify from the rules which committee handles these appeals. It may be the head of department or it may be entirely independent people. You should be able to find out plus what the projected waiting time is. No need to give your name if you dont want.

    I would think second stage appeals stand much less chance than first, so be cautious and hope for the best. Cant give you anything other than common sense. If you feel like you are being compromised and backed into a corner then its at the time you need to start covering your back as its much easier then. I cna honestly say if he money didnt add up, then I would have simply got a job, saved and gone a year later. Perhaps they might have discretion to let you submit a new project with a different supervisor as a one off. I have seen that before. Fingers crossed.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    Sorry am not paying attention. If you have already submitted your appeal, then you just have to be patient. If you wnat to find out then ask them how long it usually takes. All the other stuff as in what to right is irrelevant now. The financial commitments needed to be presented carefully as mostly its your repsonibility.
    The complaints about your supervisor needs to get the correct pitch and I thought you were overegging it, but hrad to say without having read it. I'm just pointing out there are ways of saying things that know how to place the correct emphasis.

    You should identify from the rules which committee handles these appeals. It may be the head of department or it may be entirely independent people. You should be able to find out plus what the projected waiting time is. No need to give your name if you dont want.

    I would think second stage appeals stand much less chance than first, so be cautious and hope for the best. Cant give you anything other than common sense. If you feel like you are being compromised and backed into a corner then its at the time you need to start covering your back as its much easier then. I cna honestly say if he money didnt add up, then I would have simply got a job, saved and gone a year later. Perhaps they might have discretion to let you submit a new project with a different supervisor as a one off. I have seen that before. Fingers crossed.
    Thank you very much for this! The thing is the first stage appeal went through the CDT - so I never expected that to be successful. Perhaps the second stage appeal will do better, because there's less likely to be bias because no one from the CDT will influence the appeal.

    I think the flat situation is what messed everything up for me -- I would have been able to cope if it wasn't for that. I applied for a hardship fund, but the money I received was insufficient to cover debts.

    But it was the research project that was the main reason why I didn't get the 60% in the MSc. I don't know anyone that has ever done a second stage appeal (or even a first).
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    (Original post by skyonly)
    Thank you very much for this! The thing is the first stage appeal went through the CDT - so I never expected that to be successful. Perhaps the second stage appeal will do better, because there's less likely to be bias because no one from the CDT will influence the appeal.

    I think the flat situation is what messed everything up for me -- I would have been able to cope if it wasn't for that. I applied for a hardship fund, but the money I received was insufficient to cover debts.

    But it was the research project that was the main reason why I didn't get the 60% in the MSc. I don't know anyone that has ever done a second stage appeal (or even a first).

    The flat was your responsibility though. If tims were financially too tough that is when you needed to say that you would wait a year because you couldnt afford it. Its not their problem, but your poor planning. If you had been made redundnant etc, then they might have biewed that as beyond your control.

    You will have simply needed to state according to the rules a list of points that meant their course provision fell below an acceptable standard, which meant you were prejudiced. Hopefully you looked at the rules and understood the criteria they make their decision on.
 
 
 
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