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Not taking recommendation letter from my pHD supervisor

User: lmksiglmk - 31 January 2010 10:36

I am having very bad relationship with my PhD supervisor. I can't change my supervisor at this stage as i am going to sit for my viva. i am starting to apply for post doctorial without his letter. I have talked with my previous MSc supervisor and explain my situation. My previous supervisor agreed to give a very good recommendation. I plan to apply for a lecturing post also. I work with a consultancy company few years ago. The MD of the company also agreed to give a very good recommendation. Will this effect my application? I am really worried that my career will be effected for not getting recommendation letter from my PhD supervisor.

User: bewildered - 31 January 2010 14:24

This would be a problem I think. You need at least one referee who can speak about the quality of your PhD work / teaching experience etc if you are applying for lectureships. Two very out-dated references would set off alarm bells. If you are determined not to use your supervisor, I would suggest asking either your internal or external examiner after the viva if they would act as a referee. They'd have read your thesis so could speak to your current research ability. Or do you not have a second supervisor that you could ask?

User: lmksiglmk - 01 February 2010 02:15

:-( I have a second suvervisor, who I can trust but she does not know my work well. What about senior lab members, research officer from my lab that knows my lab.

User: lmksiglmk - 06 February 2010 06:56

pls give comments.

User: hamburg113 - 27 April 2011 05:01

======= Date Modified 08 May 2011 01:46:36 =======
======= Date Modified 08 May 2011 01:44:08 =======
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User: Mackem_Beefy - 27 April 2011 09:55

I'm sorry, but if possible you should obtain your supervisor's reference, if only to verify what you were doing during your PhD. A prospective employer expects a reference from your last post and in your case, this is your PhD. Wait until after viva and a pass with minor corrections may mellow your supervisor's mood towards you. Ask for and accept that reference, keeping in mind at best it will be ambiguous. If your supervisor gives a really bad reference, the that reference needs to be specific in what your faults were otherwise the supervisor may lay themselves open to a conversation with your solicitor about further action (yes, you can take action for a bad reference in extremis if liabellous comments are made). The worst that should happen is your supervisor may refuse to give you a reference and if this happens, you can then say to a prospective employer that this was the case (still not ideal), using your prefious good references. I can relate to your problem as I have an extremely bad relationship with my direct line manager and (de)mentor (yes, that bad)at post-doc. I left without a reference and it took nearly a year to find fresh employment. I did the same as you and eventually a series of good references from my PhD supervisors, other colleagues from PhD time and a couple from previous employers helped. (As I've commented elsewhere I also had to conceal my PhD, as I was seen as overqualified, however, as you're applying for a psot in academia that is not relevant here.)

User: goldribbon - 15 June 2011 02:09

As from the above posts, you should do two things: 1) You should be willing to ask your internal and external examiner for a reference. They should know your work well enough that at least one of them should be willing to comment on it. 2) You should ask your supervisor for one anyway. a) After the viva, your supervisor may be happy to be done with you that he/she may give you a perfunctory one b) You need to know what they will say in case anyone wants to email or call for a reference from him/her in the future and c) there is always the chance that your supervisor may be a jerk in person but nice on paper. Whether good or bad, better to face it head on.

User: sayanriju007 - 24 February 2014 23:02

I have been through a terrible experience during my graduate (MS) study in an US university. I have finished it successfully.During that time I have faced severe problems with my mentor. He was not compassionate or co operative towards me and my problems. He often bullied me infront of undergraduates due to some negligible mistakes. There were cases where I was doing some experiments for the first time and I was not successful and he accused me of wasting his precious time and money.He never allowed me any holidays.Even he called me to come to the lab when I was sick and I emailed him about my sickness.He never appreciated any of my endeavors and always criticized my efforts.I could not quit the lab at that time because I had finished significant amount of research work at that time, required for my degree.There was a chance that if I join a new lab, I have to start from scratch.He never took any effort to publish or present my research work.I was also selected to present my research in a conference but when I informed him, he never replied me back.He was so critical that once I was late on a Saturday and he told me that I am not focused and undergraduate students are better than me.He said that infront of all the undergraduates.Despite staying loyal, and working hard, when I asked for a recommendation letter in December 2012 and January 2013, he was very reluctant and he asked if I really need the letter. There were some universities where I applied and some of them said that I have very high chances of getting into the Doctoral program. After receiving his recommendation letter, they cancelled my application and rejected me. In this case, I want to mention that he told me in august of 2012 that I am not capable of doing PhD studies and I do not have required skills. But in 2013 September, he told me I have the zeal to do PhD and he wants me to do PhD under his guidance. I said I am not staying in the lab and I decided to move on. After receiving my degree, he told me if I go to some good school, I will fail and my intellect is very low and skills are not at per although I graduated with a GPA of 3.7/3.8 out of 4. Most of my committee members and other professors in the department recognized my hard work.Fortunately I got accepted to a doctoral school without his reference letter and my committee members provided me with reference letters. Now my dilemma is if my mentor comes to know about this and if he tries to inform my new university will it hamper my doctoral studies? I am in a very depressing situation and I don't want to lose this opportunity after all these hard work. As I always wanted to do PhD and I want to make a new start forgetting the debris of the past. Please help me. I will be grateful for your advice.

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