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I have a nightmare adviser, who is also the head of the Department. The problems are:

  1. he has too many students,
  2. never reads my chapters,
  3. he is trying his best to sabotage TA or RA opportunities that are my only source of funding,
  4. he discourages me from attending conferences, and
  5. refuses to introduce me to anyone in his network.

The worst thing is that I am an international student in the social sciences in Germany where professors have too much power, and there is no system of redress.

I have a second supervisor from another university, but he does not want to get involved as he is not the primary adviser.

I am three years into the program and have a nearly completed thesis. Without his comments on my chapters, I fear that I will end up with a lower grade (PhDs are graded here) which marks an end to my academic career. I was the top student in the Masters program and that is why I was offered a fully funded PhD. My adviser was very happy with me until I spoke to him about trying for a job in Germany or in Europe. Since then he is distant because I think he expected me to go back to my Third World country and create links for him.

  • What can I do?
  • Should I drop this PhD and apply for another one in the US or Canada? (I am not sure he will give me a recommendation)
  • Should I complete this PhD in a multi-disciplinary field (Global Studies/Global Integration) and start another one in a related discipline such as Political Science or Geography or another traditional discipline, in Canada or the US?
  • Should I apply for post docs and hope he will give me a recommendation?

Any other ideas. Please help. I am severely depressed.

1 Answer 1

My 2 cents :

  1. Graduate as soon as possible, The fact that this is with high or low grades is not relevant here
  2. Apply for a postdoc position in a place where PhDs are not graded (France for instance)
  3. Publish the (very good) stuff that you intentionally kept hidden until your graduation

After step 3 your record will be clean, and all this "hell stuff" will be far from you. To obtain a position in academy, the only thing that matters is the quality of your research (that can be seen in the papers) and of your teaching (for that you requires references), nobody will care about what happen during your PhD.