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What topics can I ask about here?

This site is for academics of all levels – from students to senior researchers – as well as anyone in or interested in research-related or research-adjacent fields. New users (even users familiar with the Stack Exchange format) are invited to read our introduction to the site before posting.

If you have a question about ...

  • academic careers,
  • requirements and expectations of students, postdocs, or professors,
  • inner workings of research departments,
  • academic writing and publishing,
  • studying and teaching at institutions of higher education (universities, colleges, …),
  • the academic research process,

... then you're in the right place!

What topics should I avoid?

Please do not ask …

  • broad, open-ended, or primarily opinion-based questions, which are not a good fit for the Stack Exchange format in general,
  • about the content of research and coursework rather than the processes of researching, teaching, and learning. Most likely, there is a Stack Exchange site dedicated to your field, where such questions are a good fit. If not, you may help creating a new site on Area 51.
  • for recommendations for a university, journal, research topic, or similar – what we call a “shopping question”,
  • about undergraduate admissions,
  • about undergraduate life and culture, i.e., sports, nightlife, dorms, leaving the nest, etc.,
  • about preparations for a non-academic career (“What graduate degree will help me get a job as X?”),
  • about education outside an academic setting, i.e., in high schools or similar.
  • for an overall assessment of your profile or odds of admission. We do not offer individualized advice; our general advice is available here.

How specific can my question be?

Academic customs and procedures vary greatly across countries, universities, fields, subfields, workgroups, and so on. Therefore please state your (sub)field and country to ensure that you’ll receive a directed, relevant answer. On the other hand this means that this site is not a good place to ask questions about the specific regulations of individual universities or similar institutions that do not operate on a national or international level.

If you have a question about a decision you need to make, please focus on how to make the decision, the pros and cons of a certain choice, or what relevant aspects you should consider. We cannot possibly know or judge all the details of your situation, in particular your personal preferences and the quality of your work and qualifications. Therefore you still have to make the decision yourself. Also, consider which details may be really important for what you wish to know. Try to extract the fundamental question from the specific problem at hand. As a rule of thumb, to attract answers that are most helpful to you, ask a question that would also help others in a similar situation.

For more details about this, please read this FAQ.

If your question contains severe allegations against others or yourself, keep them and yourself anonymous. Please read this FAQ for details.

Final remarks

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also okay to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Academia Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site on Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.