I was a senior lecturer with my bachelor and master degrees in engineering. I had 5 years of teaching experience at colleges and at universities up to degree levels before taking up a research program at UK based university campus in Malaysia -- The University of Nottingham Malaysia campus. Although I have published 20 journal papers (5-ISI, 5-Scopus and 10-Google Scholar listed publications), I dropped out after 2 viva voce exams mainly because of the procedural irregularities of university campuses. Thereby, I strongly believe that my experience will guide the junior researcher to select appropriate research programs for their doctoral level studies in Malaysia.
|PhD Comics: The Evolution of Intellectual Freedom|
20 Advices to Postgraduate Research Students / PhD Students:
- Verify the university accreditation with MQA through their online accreditation system.
- Check the World University Ranking at THES for university campuses if you demand for world class education. A university and university franchised campuses are entirely different from one another.
- International societies’ accreditation play important role for several professional programs. Check your own national policies for accreditations.
- Don’t blindly trust any university booklets, brochures, pamphlets and etc. Request for proper information at the beginning of any post graduate programs, as it is very important because any foreign university campuses may upgrade their information system every three years once so any information can be wrongly interpreted (this is not applicable to university campuses who has single policy and permanent database system).
- Don’t trust any university statement blindly such as: ‘We are the top 1.5% of World Universities who has campuses in moon and mars’.
- Don’t trust any form of recommendations from their own webs and blogs as such things can be created by themselves with undergraduates students.
- Free laptop, free wifi, free accommodation, free gym, free food, free girl/boy friend-society will never ensure a quality environment for researchers.
- Check the funding agencies (such as MOSTI, FPGR, e-Science, MyBrain) for their contribution levels if any (careful with scheme such as 70% scholarship but the PhD candidate has to pay 30% of fee out of a 3 years PhD studies. This can be a financial support for the first 2 years which normally lead to a Master of Philosophy level).
- Consider annually-renewing contract as if any problem is existed between university campus and PhD candidates, they can cancel your studentship and halt your studies once for all.
- Selecting supervisors is an important step in PhD research programs. However, very experienced lecturers with title like ‘Associate Professor’ or ‘Professor’ will normally have broad experience in handling junior researchers. So they are ideal for research supervision but still some senior lecturers have fairly contributed to their student’s achievements in the past. If a supervisor has many publications at ISI level of journals, he/she may train you for high impact journal publications likewise.
- Be little careful with any fresh PhD graduate or fresh PostDoct-graduate supervisors who has no single publications at any journals.
- Get all your contract, offer, funding related information in black and white- forms.
- Record the collections of journal/conference/thesis/etc of your field so later you can use such document when go for thesis write up.
- Try with full spirit and I’m sure everyone can get a PhD in their respective research field.
- Form national and international discussion forum/ or network so you don’t have to depend on your supervisor for technical advancement.
- If any problem comes in during the research years, find solution amicably with your supervisors, otherwise take the matter to university senates.
- Never once compromise with examiners selection because any university campus’s person-in-charge can wash his/her hands if anything goes wrong in procedures.
- Don’t accept any abnormal procedures or extensive delay as this is what they want to generate cheap academician as for the use of their own faculty. So once submitted a thesis, find a job immediately.
- Never give up for cheating attitude of any lecturers or professors as all academician bound by university and national laws.
- If further advice is needed, then write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.graduatesunion.com for a PhD exam's case studies.