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What is Expected of you as a PhD student?

In studying for a PhD you will form a number of relationships and these generate obligations for both parties. To be a good and effective relationship, both parties must respect the relationship and fulfil the consequential obligations. In the context of the PhD , your main relationships will be with: your supervisor; your adviser of studies; your fellow PhD students, the department, and the University. Each of these creates both general and specific obligations.

The general obligations are those of any relationship and are necessary to ensure that the relationship works effectively to the benefit of both parties. They include a respect for the other party, which requires that you both trust the other party and are trustworthy. Being trustworthy means that you should be open and honest and should avoid any attempts to manipulate the other party or take advantage of them. You should also appreciate that while you and your party may share goals, the other party also has his or her own goals and these deserve your respect and consideration.

Perhaps the most important relationship that you will form during your PhD process is with your supervisor. Both of you will share the goal of a successful thesis, but the responsibilities you bring to the relationship are quite different to those that your supervisor brings. Your duties include: being properly prepared for any meetings; timely attendance; active engagement; and a willingness to discuss your thoughts and ideas, ask for help where it is needed and respond appropriately to any feedback. You should also meet any deadlines and always let your supervisor know if you need more time or if you cannot make a meeting. It is also your responsibility to engage with the subject matter of your thesis, make sure it is properly researched and free of any plagiarism. Because it wastes your supervisors time, it is disrespectful to submit poor or plagiarised work.

The more effort you make to fulfil these obligations, the better your relationship will be. The better your relationship, the more benefit you will get from it. It is in your interest to meet the obligations that flow from these relationships.

Keywords: PhD student expectations, relationship with PhD supervisor, PhD plagiarism, PhD obligations, PhD relationships, relationship with advisor of studies.

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