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How To Choose A Good PhD Supervisor?


Your happy PhD journey lies on the chosen supervisor.


If you had to tell your juniors or colleagues what is the factor that determines the success of a PhD research study, what is your best answer? The answer to these questions would be choosing the right PhD supervisor. But, how to choose a good PhD supervisor? Getting a good supervisor is a serious matter to be considered. Getting a good supervisor is a lot like marrying your boyfriend or girlfriend. But, you might end up in a terrible divorce if you don’t like your supervisor. Here’re the truths that you must know on how to choose a good PhD supervisor.

1. Choose Your Own Supervisor

Remember that you have the right to choose a supervisor whom you feel comfortable. Never let the university choose the supervisor for you. Do consider the following methods on how to choose a good PhD supervisor.

Method 1: After you have identified the PhD research interest, you can enter the research topic keyword in the provided search bar. The research topic keyword should be general. It will then display the list of researchers who match your research interest. After that, you can start to email them.

Method 2: For those who still under indecision state, you can go through researcher profile by department one by one. Read through their profiles to identify your PhD research interest before communicating with them through email.

Method 3: If you know the researcher from that university that match your PhD research interest (probably recommend from your professor, friend, or senior), you can email him or her directly. It might take sometimes for researchers to reply your email as they are busy. You just need to communicate with them accordingly. You can also know their personalities based on the way they wrote and replied your email. Follow your intuition. You have the right to know more about them.

How to Choose a Good PhD Supervisor?-EdiThumbs

2. Choose a Supervisor Who Can Guide You PhD

Your PhD need to be supervised by an experienced researcher or professor. Reputation may sound good especially when they write references. But, you need to make sure they can guide you both in thesis and journal research publication. Your supervisor shouldn’t put the name only without contribution. A responsible and caring supervisor will attend all meetings to know your progress and give you suggestion instead of leaving the campus to advance their own career or personal benefit. Besides that, a good supervisor will advise your PhD research and career path after PhD. They are welcoming you to ask questions. This is one of the important criteria on how to choose a good PhD supervisor.

How to Choose a Good PhD Supervisor?-EdiThumbs

3. Choose a Supervisor Who Can Inspire and Motivate You

There are many supervisors that can guide you. But, not many supervisors can inspire and motivate you. It is very important to have a supervisor who can encourage you to never give up especially when your experiments are failed. They can challenge you to think beyond and train you to become an excellent researcher. This can increase your journal research publications and finish your thesis in time. Always remember that your future dream lies on a supervisor that can inspire and motivate you from time to time. A good supervisor can even become your life mentor or friend. Don’t neglect this truth when you come across on how to choose a good PhD supervisor.

How to Choose a Good PhD Supervisor?-EdiThumbs

4. Choose a Supervisor that Match Your Needs and Goals

You must know your needs and set your goals when selecting a supervisor. This is one of the strategies on how to choose a good PhD supervisor. There are 3 categories of supervisors that you should know on how to choose a good PhD supervisor. Don’t simply select a supervisor for your PhD. Otherwise, you may regret choosing the wrong supervisor.

Junior researcher: They are quite new to research which makes them less experience. Most of the time, they are willing to spend more time on your research. You have high chance to meet them regularly to discuss your progress. They may suggest a lot of idea or solution to you. But, you need to try them one by one on your own to see which one is working out.

Senior researcher: They have published many research papers and experienced in guiding students. But, they are very busy and might have less time guiding you. Most of the time, you need to plan and run your research. But, with their reputation and influence, they can recommend you to other institutions.

Professor: They are experienced and expert in their own field of research. Most of the time, they won’t give you stress because they expect you are mature enough. They know the exact scopes that you need to do to get a PhD. They are welcoming you to propose anything that you would like to do for your PhD. With their guidance, you won’t be doing your research towards the wrong direction. Their recommendation will be helpful for your future career. But, they are very busy. You must be independent to carry out your own research. Don’t expect to get a quick and direct answers from them without trying first.

How to Choose a Good PhD Supervisor?-EdiThumbs5. Choose a Supervisor that is Helpful

You should know that administration matters or tedious bureaucracy are the main things that you want to avoid during your PhD study. What is the connection between this statement and how to choose a good PhD supervisor? Well, a helpful supervisor will help you to speed up the process so that you will get a rapid response. This is because they not really care about the bureaucracy. They only care about your research performance and outcomes such as publications, conferences, and thesis. This can increase your research efficiency and graduate faster.

How to Choose a Good PhD Supervisor?-EdiThumbsWrap Up

Your happy PhD journey 100% lies on how to choose a good supervisor. Besides that, your supervisor is the key towards publications, thesis, and not to mention he might be the person that can help you to hold a decent position in the well-known universities. With the right supervision and guidance, you can finish your PhD in time. All that’s left to see is how you maintain your relationship with your supervisor and impress him. Good luck!

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Chiong Sie Jing

Sie Jing is an experienced proofreader and copyeditor with 8+ years of experience proofreading and editing for a variety of clients. He has helped many PhD students to publish their research in international journals with high impact factor. He is also a Certified Internet Marketing Practitioner (CIMP) & Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB).