I am a mathematics student at a top 10 math department in the US. Something I have been struggling to handle is an on-going situation I have been facing with with the administration.

When I was accepted to this university I was instructed to submit the syllabi of the graduate courses I had taken at the institution I came from. My initial email to them was in the beginning of this year. After 1 month without hearing from them I sent another email following up. The third email was done in the beginning of April with again no response.

I have tried to reach out to different people within the department, but I have gotten no response. As emails are easier to ignore, I tried going to the administrative office in person. The receptionist said that they were not accepting walk-in appointments and I should try emailing them. I explained to them the situation, however the receptionist would not budge on their stance.

As this situation progresses I am getting increasingly frustrated and paranoid about my treatment. These issues I did not experience at any of my previous universities. As such, I am kindly requesting if someone has any suggestions or experiences on this matter.

  • 2
    I'm not sure what the issue is. You say you were asked to send something and you did. While a reply might have been nice, it may not have been promised. It sounds like a big department with a paperwork problem. What is your concern that you haven't seen a reply?
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 0:23
  • What makes it important (and I forgot to mention) is that the courses I submitted for review would later on be used to count for the coursework required for my degree. When I spoke to them during a student visit they encouraged me to submit my course syllabi as they thought it would directly transfer, thus saving me time and repeating courses
    – Selig
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 0:29
  • 1
    Depending on who you talked to, the idea that grad courses "transfer" might be delusional. Certainly dependent on the judgement of the people in the department. So, especially if you're not directly talking to faculty in the math dept who are authorized to actually decide such stuff, it's just not gonna happen... no matter what some well-meaning person (not authorized to actually decide) might have said. At the same time, that should scarcely matter, since you should be able to "test out"... Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 0:37
  • 2
    I'd suggest talking to your advisor about the issue. Maybe s/he can intervene and get you the information you need. I went to a place with 150 doctoral students, but professors likely get better responses.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


If your department is like any other US math department I’m familiar with, it will have a graduate program coordinator (or similar title), a graduate program chair/graduate vice chair, and a department chair. The first two on this list will usually have office hours you can visit to talk to them about any issues you need help with. The department chair ought to be available to talk to you, either as a walk-in or by scheduling an appointment, if you have failed in your efforts to get one of the first two to listen. Through some combination of email, phone, showing up in person and knocking on doors, and gentle assertiveness, it is difficult for me to imagine that you will fail in getting someone to hear your concerns and work out a solution.

Good luck!

  • I agree with this answer, and I'd add that the question Selig should ask any of these officials is not "What happened to the syllabi I submitted?" nor "Why won't the N people I've already emailed tell me anything?" but rather "Has it been decided whether my earlier courses, for which I submitted syllabi as instructed, will count toward my required course work?", i.e., the question that (s)he really wants answered. (This probably seems obvious, but the issue of whether these courses count was omitted from the original question.) Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 20:54

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