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I will ask this question trying to be simple, but hoping to be understood on the complexities of my problem. I have looked for questions alike and my answer is not in any of them or, combined, the answers cannot make up for what I need to know.

a) I am a PhD Student, no fund is available at my university right now, it is a very good university, but they will not make anything in my favor, as I could see last week from their attitude towards me. They will rather have me working for free and pay another one when they have more money. Two PhD students for the price of one.

b) I took this position because I wanted to study with professor X and he would care about my situation/he does, but the faculty now is cutting professors and professor X is going away to a much better, 1st-tier university.

c) I got this position and cannot just give up because it would be the very bad thing for my career. I come from a country where you need to study 7-8 years prior to PhD, so I am rather old compared to the European or American students, even though I have much more experience, it is not an advantage when it comes to finding a job and etc.

d) To go join the professor X is not possible right away, to stay in this program with no money is not possible. I can, however, sustain myself for more 6 months and it is all I really can do. I know is a ridiculous question, believe me, I know, but if you had 6 months and 3 months prior to research at the PhD program, it sums 9 months, how would you manage to finish your dissertation to get out of this problem? I have the first draft of my dissertation (80p.), more research needs to be done. It is not the result of 3 months research, but prior to accepting the offer I was doing my work anyways.

The question: How would you organize with the rest of the research and really finish it within 6 months? Have in mind that your supervisor would agree to that because he knows what you can do, and if you have a good dissertation, he would go with you to the defense committee.

Thank you all, sorry for the errors, I am writing with my phone on the train, I have not the time to write at home or in my office.

I really appreciate your time.


Edit: I study Philosophy (continental philosophy, but with much of analytic in it). I started my PhD 3 months ago. I have worked 1 year on my project before start the PhD. I need to finish the argumentation on the basic work of others (some of the secondary literature). It is the lesser important, but without it, my work will show up as a weak, incomplete, an amateur attempt of an essay, it will not even be a dissertation. (It takes time, but if I could find a strategy, I could do it working 10-12 hrs a day). I have my idea almost complete or as complete as it can be, but it could always be better, simpler, more transparent. It needs to be better displayed. I need to do it in 6 months or I need to give up on this career I have struggled for my entire life. I think I can make it, but I would like to know what would be your strategy in your particular case, so I could learn something from you. I, unfortunately, have not the privilege of doing it in the mood of "maybe it will work". I have just one option, make it work. Above all, there is always a bit of depression and despair that makes the work even more difficult.

Thank you all for your support.

1 Answer 1

If you already have a first draft, then I think you need to have an honest conversation with Prof. X. The primary question needs to be "given what I have right now, is it actually possible to finish in 6 months? If so what are the crucial things that have to get done in order to pass the defense?"

The best case scenario here is for Prof. X to respond to you with a list of specific, targeted issues that need to be fixed and a rough idea of which are the most important.

If you can get that list of items to fix, then it comes down to prioritizing. If you can fix everything that simply must be fixed in 6 months, then I'd say maybe it's worth going for it. If you can fix all that in 4 months, and then fix medium to minor stuff for a month and revise for a month, all the better.

On the other hand, if Prof X comes back and says, "Well I think you need more experiments," or "the results don't look significant enough yet" or "it isn't clear yet what all the issues might be" or something like that, then you're project probably simply isn't well enough defined yet to be able to be defensible in 6 months.

That said, don't underestimate how much can be accomplished in 6 months, if you're focused, well-prepared and willing to work long hours. You just need an expert opinion from somebody familiar with your work that obviously we're not going to be able to give you here.

Best luck!