Supervisor quandary.

(5 Posts)
Nightwish Thu 28-Jan-16 14:19:20

I am currently in the process of writing my application for a PhD studentship but have a bit of a dilemma.
I need to choose who my supervisors will be. There are three options, two of which I need to choose, but I am finding it difficult to know whether I should go for the logical answer or a personal one.

First person - supervised my undergraduate and now postgraduate dissertations, they don't have any specific knowledge of the area I want to study but have been extremely supportive and enthusiastic. They do however have limited experience of supervising PhD students, one current student that I know of, so I am unsure if they are wanting to supervise me just for their own career development.

Second person - only person in the institution who has a research area that links directly to mine. Senior member of staff with a very good publishing record and name in their area. They will be my main supervisor regardless.

Third person - research area doesn't link to mine in most ways but there may be one small aspect that does have a link. Has experience of supervising and has a good publishing record.

Fourth person - Professor of the area, does research into a similar area but focuses more on a different methodology than what I believe I will use. Prolific published works and extremely well known.

So I suppose what I am asking is, do I go with the person who has supported me to where I am now even though they are possibly in a lesser position academically and with experience, or go with the logical reasoning of someone who may contribute a bit more to the area around what I am researching and has a better profile?

MedSchoolRat Thu 28-Jan-16 16:14:41

Presuming you need to choose 2?
1 for sure. Lack of supervisor experience isn't that important.
Whichever of 3 or 4 that is better about answering emails.

Parietal Thu 28-Jan-16 16:46:44

you should have a 1st and 2nd supervisor for your PhD, though often the 2nd does very little or only steps in if there is a crisis.

get the gossip from other phd students in the dept and find out who is good to work with / supportive / helpful. that is a MAJOR factor in doing a PhD, and you really want someone who will look out for you and support your career.

from your description, I'd be inclined to go for no2 with no1 as second supervisor.

Nightwish Fri 29-Jan-16 11:24:59

Thanks for the input.
I was leaning towards number 2 as my main and number 1 as the second supervisor but was worried the lack of experience would be more of an issue than good communication.

Person 1 is definitely very good at regular contact and replying, is extremely supportive and knows how I work.

getyourgeekon Mon 01-Feb-16 06:36:26

1 sounds great as the second then--the good working relationship you already have will be really helpful during the tougher times.
In my area we often have 3 people as supervisors and if you had the option I might also include the prof. I had this, and although they didn't come to all meetings etc they were very useful for some things (collaborations, wider application of my research...)

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