Dealing with a Demanding PhD Advisor

“Thou Shall write your dissertation and 3 papers by tomorrow noon.”

Said a demanding PhD advisor


A PhD or a ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ is the highest university degree obtained after completing the Bachelors and Masters or any other degree.

A PhD advisor is a faculty member of a university whose job is mentoring and counseling the students who are PhD candidates, to assist them to choose coursework and to form, refine and administer the chosen subject of the candidate which they will be studying in. However, not all the PhD advisors are the same and at times, it’s hard to deal with them regardless of the situation.

Some professors are very demanding and have their own style of teaching, researching- which, for a student, might take quite some time to be adapted. The relationship between a PhD candidate and a PhD advisor is unlike any other student-teacher relationship. As PhD is considered to be the highest peak of education, you need to learn to deal with the demanding PhD advisors in order to avoid any undesirable circumstance in your way of success.

Here’s how you can deal with a demanding PhD advisor:

demanding PhD advisorCommunicating positively

This is a very effective key to deal with your PhD advisor. There are situations where people deal with personal problems, lack of rest, workload, which affects human emotions and behavior and your PhD advisor is no different. Like all of us, he can be eccentric, yell at you or put you in an adverse situation. But as a PhD candidate, you’ll have to understand that every human being is rational and no matter how bad he reacts to you, your positive communication will definitely make him budge at one point in time.

demanding PhD advisorUnderstand that not all the PhD advisors are the same

They have their own criteria of demands which they expect from their students. If you fail to fulfill them, they might make you feel like a dumb, shout at you or even insult you. But never let that make you disrespect your PhD advisor. Instead, despite the shout or yell, give them the proper respect that they deserve and it sure will melt them down a little bit.

demanding PhD advisorCollect the research materials and resources

Do this as soon as you receive the orders from your PhD advisor if they’re too demanding. Because advisors like them like candidates who are resourceful and punctual. It will make them believe that you, for real, are hard-working and enthusiastic about your PhD.

demanding PhD advisorDon’t overwork

Sometimes to please the most demanding PhD advisors, candidates tend to go overboard with a given task which pisses the advisors more. This makes them feel like you’re too ‘try-hard’ or trying to butter them, which can actually turn out to be bad for you. So just work according to their instructions, make sure they’re neat and perfect and always communicate with them about your aspirations and goals. It will make them feel important, which will make your way to PhD. easier.

We’ve discussed some of the steps which may help you out. Utilize them and handle the adversities while dealing with a demanding PhD. officer to pursue your dream degree properly.

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Additional sources

Related posts:

To do a PhD or not to do a PhD

Things to avoid in a PhD dissertation