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Can I move Unis with my Supervisor?


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Say my supervisor moves to a new University and is keen to take me with him, how easy is this in practice?

I'm about to start final year in Oct, and move might not take place until Dec/Jan.


I have worked closely with and published with this supervisor whilst second sup has been away for about half the process.  no-one else in my department is capable of supervising my work (dealing with some quite complex theory no-one in dept is familiar with, there aren't many research active staff in my area in the department and of those that are none have supervised a PhD before). I worry that I would lose contact with my sup and I might lose my way at a crucial moment (I'm still analysing data and will be beginning to write up after Xmas). Furthermore, since the new institution is better all round (think 40 places higher in league tables, Russell Group, more research active) I am also aware that from a practical perspective a PhD from this institution would improve my career prospects. 

I have published and won awards for my research, and feel I would be reasonably attractive PhD candidate for new Uni, and my sup is keen to continue supervising me and ideally take me with him. However my funding is a 3 year bursary from from my current institution. I am required in T&Cs of bursary to give 1 months notice if I plan to withdraw, but there is no mention of transferring to another Uni. I can imagine they wouldn't be happy since they've funded me for 2 years, but can they do anything?

Destination Uni accepts transfers with supervisors, requires students to be at institution for at least a year before submitting thesis (may involve submitting 2-3 months later than intended) but makes no mention of funding for students transferring in. Funding-wise I could get by with a lower bursary, (maybe even no bursary at a stretch, if I thought it was worth it) for a year so long as the fees are waived. My current outgoings are only £250/month and I do have some savings from the last couple of years of my PhD & from teaching. But obviously things would be much, much easier with funding.

Is it common or even possible to transfer at a later stage in PhD? How would funding work? Could my sup ask them to fund me for my final year as a condition of him moving? Or at least waive fees? If so would my PhD be from the new Uni or old one? 


P.S. Both are UK Universities

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When do you expect to graduate? At the end of this year or next -- and how will your time have been spent, how long at your current university and how long at the new one, if you move? What stage in the development of your thesis are you in? Also, how much supervision do you need? Do you meet on a weekly basis or once a semester? Can you just meet over skype and get emailed comments, and is your advisor good with emails? 


Personally since this is the only person you could work with, I'd move if it was early in my degree and would try to make it work without moving if I was close to finishing. 

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Depends on how influential your supervisor is and how strong a student you are.  If your supervisor is starting over as an assistant professor at his new institution and you're an average to marginal student, the new school might resist it.  If you're an outstanding student, or your professor is a distinguished chair or other endowed professor or bringing a lot of grant money, the new university may welcome you - especially if your professor is going to fund you.  Your supervisor could ask them to fund you as a condition of moving, but whether he's likely to do that depends upon how badly he wants and needs the new position.

Also, the policies of the institution may differ - some schools require students to pass qualifying exams in their department or even take some required coursework.

Can't your supervisor just advise you from a different institution?  You can select a new sponsor at your home institution who is charge of managing things on the home front, but still work with your supervisor remotely/electronically - perhaps with some travel if close enough.  A lot of students do that if they are in the dissertation phase when their advisor moves; it's what I would do if my advisor moved, since I am less than a year from finishing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This happened to a fellow I knew.  He switched universities and took all his grad students with him, as he was basically the only prof who studied the topic.

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It turns out transferring to the Uni wouldn't be problematic in itself, but there are 2 key issues:

1) Need to be registered there for 1 year before submitting. As Sup is moving in Jan this means instead of October 2014 it will be Jan 2015.

2) I appear to have missed funding deadlines 


However there is an issue with staying at current Uni - my second sup, who I assumed would take over, can't because she hasn't supervised a PhD to completion before. So even though sup is happy to supervise from new Uni I would need another first supervisor at my current Uni, and there's no-one suitable in the dept- so I could end up with someone completely inappropriate.


So, do I:


A) stay at not-so-great Uni, keep my bursary, finish 3 months earlier, but risk having an inappropriate 1st sup come on board

B )Move to top Russel Group Uni with my sup, finish 3 months later than intended, and have to dip into savings for final year/get part-time job to cover living costs


What would you do??? Big decision :S :( Neither is an ideal option.




- Do you know of any sources of funding outside of the Uni for this type of situation.

- Would it be a major issue in applying for jobs that start September 2014 if I have my thesis and consequent publications written ready to show them, and just hold of submitting to new deadline in Jan.

Edited by Doodlebug89
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  • 3 weeks later...

I wouldn't want to swap institutions if I were that close to finished. Presumably your committee already has someone at your current university...take a close look at your academic handbook, because that may be sufficient for graduation, even with a (now) external supervisor. Have you talked to your dean in charge of student affairs, academic advisor, another trusted faculty member at your current institution? I suspect this also depends on your field--in mine, the advisor and committee members, as well as coauthors on papers, matter more than the name of the university, and it sounds like that list of names would not really change regardless.


EDIT: and I just saw how old this post is...

Edited by Usmivka
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  • 2 weeks later...

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