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You Must Know the Rules of Your PhD Programme: Written and Unwritten

Date : August 24, 2015

After when you have finalised your university for your PhD the next best thing to do is to familiarise yourself with the department, institute rules that are general and the ones that are specifically applicable to PhD students. A PhD orientation programme is the best place to do that and often doctoral students are so elated of having got through into the programme that they do not pay attention to the orientation. They are busy day dreaming about their discoveries in research which are far away in the journey. Rather, it is imperative to go through the handbooks that the university offers to you so that you know the rules well and you aren’t caught breaking any.

Sometimes, scholars feel that it is their professor’s responsibility to tell them the rules or their professor would know them all. Mind you, this does not happen usually. Professors have a pile of their own problems and keeping abreast with the rules for the scholars is the last thing on their priority list. If you have that dependence on your mind, you yourself are responsible for the vulnerability of your own situation.

It so happened with me as well and I would want to give you an example of my own experience as a scholar. Our professors expected us to produce a paper after each seminar and because it was so difficult for us to write papers on subjects that we were novice at. When we did not do it we kept getting “incompletes” after each seminar and eventually after 2 years. More than 6 “incompletes” lead to a big “F”. Getting “F “onto our transcripts actually became an easy thing, so as to say it which was breaking an unsaid PhD rule. So, remember there may be more to rules than what is written in the handbook.

So, you yourself are responsible for making yourself vulnerable if you refrain from acquainting yourself with the rules of the programme , the written and the unsaid ones then there is bound to be trouble. Stay cautious before you get into it.

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