I found the 10 steps to PhD failure article a bit bemusing (Features, 27 August). It did not start off well for me as No 1 proudly stated that “[staying] at the same university” is a route to failure. Huge numbers of people stay at their original university and manage to successfully complete a PhD; some even go on to successful academic careers.
In science, this is often par for the course and I found that my decision to change university to do my PhD in chemistry was a little bit unusual, especially as I was not “trading up” to Oxbridge. Also, I think that changing university presents its own issues, in that you need to spend the first few months getting to know the place and building social networks, which can be quite hard in an environment that is geared to cater for the social needs of undergraduates. This is especially difficult when you are trying to break into a departmental social group that has been built up from undergraduate days. That is not to say that the experience was unrewarding, but it is swings and roundabouts really.