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I finished my PhD but I filed a complaint against my supervisors and one of them is the Head of the Department. I received an official apology letter from the university about my poor experience as a PhD student and for the wrong informations they stated about me during my PhD.

My relationship with my supervisors ended up on a bad term, they know their mistakes but I exposed them to the university. Now, I am looking for a job and getting a reference letter is not an issue. The issue is they sometimes ask for my supervisor name and I do not want to give them any of their name. Any suggestions of how to overcome that?

P.S. the supervisors are in UK and the job are world wide.

  • I thought of doing that too, but I was afraid the question will come during the interview – user8670370 Aug 11 at 12:26
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    Don't give them the names, and explain why, email through any documents you've got. It should only bother you for the first job. – Allen Zhang Aug 11 at 21:42
  • @AllenZhang Thank you for your advise – user8670370 Aug 12 at 9:06
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    @Smock as I explained. My supervisors made my life is a living hell. They tried to destroy me by not letting me attend conferences or publishing my work.Because my research was really good, the primary supervisor wanted to publish my work in his own name. He told me infront of teh second supervisor I have to chose between my PhD and between publishing a paper. My third supervisor know about this but he took their sides because they are his colleague and they will protect him the same way he protected them. So, does that answer your question? – user8670370 Aug 12 at 12:27
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    @Smock, no. My MSc supervisor was really good and we have a very good realtionship. It has been 10 years now and he still write recommendations for me. He has a very good reputation in the oil company and also has lots of publication. But the issue is when I apply for a job they request the name of my PhD supervisor not my MSC – user8670370 Aug 12 at 12:40
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From everyone comments I can conclude the best way is not to provide their name at all and avoid mentioning their names during the interview. Their names come in my thesis and in my publications. However, that does not mean it is the end of teh world. I graduated and lost contact with them. I cannot force them to write a reference letter for me and I do not trust they will not do anything to damage my reputation like what they did when I was in university. Since the job application asks for any of tehir names, I should just leave it blank and defend my decision I provided a reference letter.

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Depends on the country. In the USA: Give them the name. Tell the supervisor, and tell them that you will hold them responsible if they damage your prospects.

As the supervisor, I would be very reluctant to say anything bad, especially if you got a letter from the university apologising for the supervisors behaviour.

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    The apology was for their behaviour and the wrong information they stated about me. The supervisors are in UK and I cannot give their name without their consent. – user8670370 Aug 11 at 9:52
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    @gnasher Not a good idea. If OP gives the names, superviser will tell on request they are unable to submit a reference. You cannot hold them accountable for that, but it's damaging nonetheless. You cannot force them to write a glowing reference or a reference at all. – Captain Emacs Aug 11 at 15:29
  • @CaptainEmacs you are right. Thanks – user8670370 Aug 12 at 9:09
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Approach the supervisor and ask for a reference.

Be polite.

Your supervisor will either say yes or no. Most likely yes. It would be very unusual for someone to give a poor reference in the UK because companies (and universities) are worried about the possibility of being pursued in court for defamation or similar.

  • Thank you. I already did sent him an email but he did not reply which means he does not want to be involved. – user8670370 Aug 12 at 11:38
  • Besides, he now has an experience of doing most stuff without leaving a trace to him like emails or word documents. That is how I filed the complaint in the first place by using documents against him and how I know he will do unethical things. – user8670370 Aug 12 at 11:40

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