"An Isolating Experience Aggravated by COVID": Exploring Disconnections Between Political Science PhD Candidates and Supervisors

Daniel Casey, Serrin Rutledge-Prior

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    To what extent did the COVID-19 pandemic impact PhD candidates in political science? To what extent were their supervisors aware of this impact? PhD candidates in political science are not strangers to the lack of available and stable academic employment and the potentially isolating experience of research. Our survey of Australian PhD candidates in political science and international relations (N = 109) confirms that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these preexisting challenges. By comparing political science PhD candidates and their supervisors in relation to their experiences during the pandemic, our survey also reveals that there has been a disconnect between the two groups relative to the former's experience of COVID-19. Although supervisors recognize the stressors that candidates have faced, they are more likely than candidates to report that department support relative to pandemic-related challenges was available, and they appear to be somewhat unaware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on candidates' career plans. The survey also reveals substantial disagreement between candidates and supervisors about perceived career-mentoring styles. These points of disconnect must be addressed to ensure the success and well-being of current and future PhD candidates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)357 - 364
    JournalPS: Political Science & Politics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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