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This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


Anxiety over minor corrections

User: phd_candidate - 15 March 2022 09:47


I have passed my phd with minor corrections.
I have made the minor corrections following closely the recommendations in the joint examiner report, run the amended thesis past my supervisor who was happy with it and sent it to the examiners. I have published my results twice and collaborated successfully with industry during my PhD research. On the surface, this is a satisfactory outcome.

However, my internal examiner was rather rude during the viva. He basically accused me of "somehow faking" my work. He then went on to falsely accusing me of misrepresenting my qualifications on LinkedIn.
Before starting the PhD, I worked for over a decade in financial services, I have a professional charter and have been registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK as my roles were controlled functions. For all my roles, I have undergone thorough background checks and I have certainly never misrepresented my qualifications.
My PhD is in Computer Science and my untergrad degree is in Business Studies (completed 18 years ago). Over the years, I learnt to code with MOOC's and have been applying my skills in a professional context. I had the impression my examiner found it very hard to respect my "diverse" background - it is true that my profile does not match that of the the typical PhD student if there is one.
Are examiners allowed to behave this way?

I found the experience very upsetting and enfuriating. The fact that I now depend on this internal examiner (as well as the external one) to approve my corrections makes me feel utterly powerless as I fear that the internal examiner will try to find anything to reject the corrections.
The latest I heard from the internal examiner was an email asking me if I had tracked the changes in my thesis as it looked as if it was written with Microsoft Word (it was written with latex using the same template as many other students in the department). Again, I found this rather belittling.

Has anyone had a similar experience? Should I tell someone higher up in the department? (My supervisor said he would certainly not use this person again as examiner.)

I'd appreciate any thoughts and advice.

User: Nead - 21 March 2022 18:43

Did they accuse you of misrepresnating your qualification during the viva- if so why didn't the chair step in and state that it was inappropriate. The viva should be about the thesis and work alone- not you as a person. If they had an issue with the work done, that was slightly different.

I didn't experience this- I wouldn't worry too much about the corrections, send them in. Maybe there asking about word so that they can see where the changes are made?
I would make a document and highlight where all the changes were made etc- don't give them a reason to reject.

On bringing it higher up - talk with your supervisor before making any move. You don't want to piss anyone off while you walk out the door as you never know whom they know or when you might need them again.