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Contemplating changing supervisor

Hello all,

So, I'm a PhD student at Oxbridge, now in my second year.

I'm going through a challenging phase, where I'm waiting to hear from a Committee about whether I can continue as a PhD, rather than an MLitt, candidate (long story, but for Oxbridge people, I'm challenging the results of a Transfer of Status assessment that has failed twice).

This is a complex process, and recently my relationship with my supervisor has gone a little sour; they would like me to suspend based on medical grounds, but I firmly opposed the idea for various reasons (e.g., feeling ok, financial concerns...). They haven't taken it well, and whilst I'm trying to keep the peace, I feel I need to be aware of all my options.

Does anybody have previous experience of this, or valuable veteran wisdom for a rookie in the Oxbridge academic system?

Thanks for your help!
Hiya, sorry to hear of what you're going through. I'm not a PhD student at Oxbridge (am a PhD student at the University of London, but did undergrad at Oxford), but my key piece of advice (as someone who's part-time and changed lead supervisors after nearly 9 years of working with the original one!) is to know what you're getting into if you change. What I mean by this is, if you do decide to change, make sure it's to someone who you know (or at least can be fairly sure) is going to be better than the current supervisor/situation you're in. Do you have someone in mind for the new supervisor role, and do you know any of their students (so you can find out what they're like as a supervisor)?

Wishing you the very best of luck, it's horrible when supervisor working rapport breaks down :hugs:
Reply 2
Original post by the_lonely_goatherd
Hiya, sorry to hear of what you're going through. I'm not a PhD student at Oxbridge (am a PhD student at the University of London, but did undergrad at Oxford), but my key piece of advice (as someone who's part-time and changed lead supervisors after nearly 9 years of working with the original one!) is to know what you're getting into if you change. What I mean by this is, if you do decide to change, make sure it's to someone who you know (or at least can be fairly sure) is going to be better than the current supervisor/situation you're in. Do you have someone in mind for the new supervisor role, and do you know any of their students (so you can find out what they're like as a supervisor)?
Wishing you the very best of luck, it's horrible when supervisor working rapport breaks down :hugs:

Many thanks for your reply, The_Lonely_Goatherd, and for your support! 😸

Knowing what I'm in for does seem like the sensible thing to do. I guess I could have a look around the different people working in my area.
Changing my supervisor is not my first choice, but if things keep deteriorating I might have to.
It must have been a hard decision to seek someone new after 9 years of work, I hope the change went well for you research-wise. 🌼
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Claranon
Many thanks for your reply, The_Lonely_Goatherd, and for your support! 😸
Knowing what I'm in for does seem like the sensible thing to do. I guess I could have a look around the different people working in my area.
Changing my supervisor is not my first choice, but if things keep deteriorating I might have to.
It must have been a hard decision to seek someone new after 9 years of work, I hope the change went well for you research-wise. 🌼

Yeah, you don't wanna be in an "out of the frying pan, into the fire" situation by changing. It'd be good to do some discreet, informal digging about who else you could potentially work with, if it came down to needing to change supervisors. But as you say, it's not your first choice and other things, e.g. mediation, might be a better first port of call :smile:

It was a hard mutual decision for me and ex-supervisor to come to, yeah! My second supervisor (who had been part of the team in various different roles for almost 5 years at that point) took over as lead supervisor - so I knew I was in very safe hands to finish, and so did ex-supervisor. That made the process a lot easier than it would have otherwise been, thankfully :redface:

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