Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Counterpoints to the 10 Point Presentation: Letters

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Counterpoints to the 10 Point Presentation: Letters

Article excerpt

Most of Tara Brabazon's 10 tips for PhD students (11 July) are sound advice, but the headline "10 truths a supervisor will never tell you" is unfair. "10 truths you need to know about supervisors" would have been better. I am sure that the problems Brabazon mentions can occur, and students should be aware of the possibility. But many supervisors provide very similar advice as a matter of routine.

I know I did, and so did most of my colleagues; as far as I know, they do still. Over 40 years I supervised about 70 MSc and 30 PhD students; I also advised many potential postgraduate candidates at open days. I told nearly all of them at least seven of Brabazon's 10 truths, and much of this was departmental policy. I think it was fairly typical of mathematics departments. A PhD in mathematics is often very personal, whereas in other subjects the student may be part of a team, which can make some issues more troublesome. …

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