Are doctoral students satisfied with their thesis supervision?

How do doctoral students perceive their thesis management? To provide initial answers to this question, a small survey was organized in June 2010. Objective: to collect, through an online questionnaire, the doctoral students’ presentations on their thesis management. A total of 526 Ph.D. students responded. So this was a fairly large sample size for a limited study. The information that was gained from the survey was quite accurate of all students of higher education across the country.

The questionnaire invited Ph.D. students to evaluate their thesis management on a scale of 1 to 5. The number “1” referred to a thesis management deemed unsatisfactory by the doctoral student and the number “5” referred to a dissertation management deemed very satisfactory by the doctoral student.

The results show that the average satisfaction rate of doctoral students with regard to their thesis management is 3.59, with a standard deviation of 1.21. Over the entire sample, 1 out of 5 Ph.D. students is not satisfied or dissatisfied with their thesis management: 19.5% of Ph.D. students have assessed their management to 1 or 2. Similarly, 1 out of 5 Ph.D. students seems moderately Satisfied with his direction: 20.5% of the Ph.D. students evaluated it at 3. Finally, 58% of the Ph.D. students who answered the questionnaires are satisfied or very satisfied with their direction, a little more than half of the respondents.

Ph.D. students more satisfied than doctoral students

Taking into account the “sex” variable, the data show that doctoral students evaluate their thesis management as less satisfactory than their male counterparts: 26.4% of doctoral students consider their thesis management as unsatisfactory or unsatisfactory (note 1 and 2). ), compared to 12% of men. On a scale of 1 to 5, the average satisfaction of doctoral students is 3.40 with a standard deviation of 1.27 and that of doctoral students is 3.82 with a standard deviation of 1.09.

First year PhD students are the most satisfied

The more PhD students are enrolled at the end of the thesis, the less satisfied they are with their thesis supervision. 73.5% of Ph.D. students enrolled in the first year consider their thesis management as satisfactory or very satisfactory (noted 4 and 5). This percentage falls in the second year, but remains high: 63% of Ph.D. students enrolled in the second year evaluate their management as satisfactory or very satisfactory. In 5th and 6th year and above, doctoral students are less satisfied with respectively 58.4% and 47.4% of doctoral students who judge their direction satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Ph.D. students in SHS are the least dissatisfied

It is the doctorate students enrolled in the humanities, social sciences and humanities disciplines who are the least dissatisfied with their management: only 16.2% rate their direction as unsatisfactory or unsatisfactory (score of 1 and 2) whereas this rate oscillates between 21% and 23% in other disciplinary areas.

Conversely, doctoral students enrolled in the science and technology disciplines best assess their thesis management: 64.2% consider their thesis management as satisfactory or very satisfactory (score of 4 and 5). This rate varies between 48.2% and 59% in the other disciplinary sectors. All of this data concretely showed just how well certain universities provided services and thesis management to their post-doctoral and post-graduate students.