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FEM Postgraduate Talks – Strategies for Graduating on Time

By: Dr. Cheng Kai Wah

SERDANG, Aug 20 – COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has already put many postgraduate students’ research on hold, and many of them are also wondering if there are any ways for them to Graduate on Time (GOT) throughout their postgraduate studies.

A webinar attended by 77 postgraduate students, organised by Deputy Dean (Postgraduate Studies, Industry, and Community Relations) Office, Faculty of Human Ecology (FEM) was held recently, aimed to uplift postgraduate students’ motivation while also explaining the importance and strategies for achieving GOT.

The panelists are Dean of FEM, UPM, Prof. Dr. Mohamad Fazli Sabri and Teaching Assisant at FEM, Dr. Cheng Kai Wah. It was moderated by FEM’s Senior Lecturer Dr. Ahmad Faudzi Musib.

Both panelists shared their experiences and points of view with the audience for them to enjoy their entire research journey.

Prof. Dr. Mohamad Fazli said the most common challenges faced by postgraduate students were financial problems, long waiting duration for research instruments, unhelpful staffs, difficulty publishing in high impact journals, lack of self-motivation, health problems, and residential issues during the candidature.

“I believe that life is boring if it is not challenging. However, you must be aware of stress-relieving techniques.

“Postgraduate students should also be aware of the graduation requirements and learn to manage their time effectively in order to live a healthy and work-life balanced lifestyle,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cheng emphasised the necessity of postgraduate students attending a few international conferences to present their research to researchers from different countries so that they would receive various comments from scholars with diverse research backgrounds.

He said the duration of studies for Master of Science (MSc) student ranges between one and three years. The GOT of MSc is three semesters.

Ministry of Higher Education, on the other hand, recommends that the duration of a PhD is between two and five years. The GOT for a PhD student is six semesters.

Dr. Cheng provided the audience a guideline on what they need to do in each semester to strive for GOT, and shared his thesis outlines to inspire the audience to draft their thesis.

“To pass your Viva Voce, you must be able to manage yourself and your supervisory committee. Having strong relationships with your supervisor is the best recipe for your PhD achievement.

“You should give your supervisors the great impression that you are serious about your work. When you discuss something with your supervisor, you should also jot down all of the important points. After the meeting or discussion, send them a “Thank You” message,” he said.

He also advised students to avoid procrastination.

Dr. Cheng suggests being self-disciplined, creating a practical and achievable timetable, learning to say “No” to unnecessary gatherings, silence phone to focus on work, identifying the productive hour, making writing and reading a habit, and avoiding taking a full-time job before completion.

He reminded the audience to know when to take a break from a hectic schedule in order to maintain both mental and physical health, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic period. - UPM

Date of Input: 15/09/2021 | Updated: 15/09/2021 | hairul_nizam

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