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UK universities should be required to advertise what teaching opportunities and career support will be available to doctoral students who hope to move into academia, says a study that has revealed huge differences in the assistance available to PhD candidates.

Based on interviews with PhD graduates who had recently submitted their thesis, researchers from Brunel University London and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) identified “significant diversity” in the support from supervisors provided to doctoral candidates, with those from “less privileged backgrounds” most likely to miss out.

In one case, a PhD graduate explained that her requests for help from her supervisor had been routinely ignored, leaving her in tears, with contact limited to a single monthly meeting.

Another said they had been reluctant to ask their university about their likely contact with supervisors because they felt “lucky” to have been accepted on a funded PhD.

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