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Questions tagged [graduate-school]

On schools that award advanced academic degrees, such as masters and doctoral degrees. This tag is mainly for questions about the structure and organization of a graduate school or the fundamental experience of being a graduate student. Do not use this tag for questions about research in graduate school (use [research] instead), coursework in graduate school (use [coursework] instead), gaining admissions to graduate school (use [graduate-admissions]), etc.

523
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12answers
58k views

How should I deal with discouragement as a graduate student?

I am a third year (starting fourth year in the fall) PhD student in mathematics. I've passed all qualifying exams and am currently doing research. As far as I can tell, I am not doing poorly. I have ...
210
votes
8answers
24k views

“I've somehow convinced everyone that I'm actually good at this” - how to effectively deal with Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon wherein an individual is convinced that they do not deserve the success that they have achieved despite (perhaps extensive) empirical evidence to the ...
129
votes
15answers
21k views

Two years into my PhD program, and Mom is dying of cancer. Should I tell my advisor about it?

I just finished my 2nd year of PhD, and my mom has been dying of cancer since the end of my 1st year. She nearly died in January but thankfully pulled through. She was just diagnosed again a few weeks ...
106
votes
18answers
32k views

Is it okay for a professor to leave the classroom only 5 min past the class start if nobody has shown up?

Last week, because of a subway delay due to bad weather I arrived 15 minutes late to class to find out my professor had left 10 minutes before because nobody else had arrived. Was it okay for him to ...
106
votes
8answers
16k views

How to stop feeling guilty about unfinished work?

My biggest challenge as a PhD student is best summarized by the following from PHD Comics: "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham www.phdcomics.com A consequence of working in research is that the ...
101
votes
7answers
16k views

Will my cancer ruin my chances of going to graduate school in math?

I commenced my bachelor of math 8 years ago and at the same time I was diagnosed to have cancer. Because of the treatment process and the emotional state that I was in, I only completed 3 subjects in ...
85
votes
21answers
33k views

Is 8:00 AM an unreasonable time to meet with my graduate students and post-doc?

I am a recently graduated PhD, but for the past few years I have been on an 8:00-16:30 schedule with a lunch break at noon. I arrive between 7:45-8:00 and get started immediately. Now I am on as a ...
81
votes
15answers
13k views

How to deal with a nosy fellow graduate student?

There is another graduate student at my school working in the same area as me that is extremely nosy about my work. His curiosity definitely goes beyond the normal amount of "What are you working on?" ...
80
votes
14answers
15k views

How do really talented people in academia think about people who are less capable than them? [closed]

To be more specific, how do really top professors think about students who are much less smart than them, the students can be their Ph.D. students or just students who were taking his/her class. This ...
79
votes
20answers
15k views

How to deal with a colleague who always puts you down?

I am just starting out my PhD which will take 5 years to complete and I am dealing with a person in my own research group who cannot stop putting me down every chance she gets. In our research ...
77
votes
9answers
10k views

Am I reading enough of the scientific literature? Should I read for breadth or depth?

Ever since starting graduate school I've tried to make scientific reading a part of my daily ritual; I track pages read using Beeminder, and the graph doesn't lie. It keeps me honest. I aim to ...
71
votes
7answers
12k views

Is generic “thank you” email a waste of time in academia?

A very busy professor just responded my email. He answered my questions, and in the end, he explicitly said something like "Please let me know if you have any questions" or "Please respond if you have ...
71
votes
4answers
11k views

Advisor drops MSci student suddenly in final semester

Today I had a fellow student (who is working on a master's degree) come to me and inform me that our mutual advisor (call her Professor WW) had just dropped her as a student for "personal reasons." I ...
66
votes
7answers
14k views

What can I do to recover from a short term burnout?

Over the past few days, my advisor and I had been going really hard. We got a really good idea and the preliminary results looked good, so I started spending long days in the lab, going home only to ...
65
votes
7answers
23k views

Points to consider when deciding whether to get married during a PhD

Marriage is a recurrent topic in the lives of most PhDs. The meagre pay and the burden of responsibility could make marriage in the middle of PhD look like a terrible idea. But on the positive side, ...
65
votes
9answers
146k views

Is transferring to another university an option for an unhappy PhD student?

I've heard of people transferring between graduate schools because of their advisor moving to another school and taking their students with them. Do students ever transfer for other reasons? If a ...
64
votes
8answers
55k views

Is watching porn in university a crime?

I am about to start my graduate studies in an American university, moving from my native Peru. Over the course of my under-graduation, I have developed this strange habit of watching porn at odd times,...
63
votes
10answers
13k views

Is it true that 'nice' professors fail to produce good students?

This is a very tough question to ask because there are so many advisors on this forum so I am expecting most inputs from the current grads. This question largely stemmed from a post I read online ...
61
votes
7answers
16k views

Bombed an academic interview, should I do anything about it?

I had an interview a few days back for a grant for graduate studies. The interview panel consisted of various judges including some of the most renowned and well known researchers/professors in my ...
61
votes
5answers
16k views

University I rejected is asking which other one I chose over them; should I tell?

I got PhD admission offers from 2 Universities (say A and B) and yesterday decided to accept one of them (University A). Today I decided to let University B know that I would not be able to join them....
60
votes
9answers
9k views

Should you tell grad students to apply for grants you know they won't get?

I am a humanities professor at a middling university in the United States. My department has a poorly funded Ph.D. program, which attracts second-tier students at best. (The good Ph.D. students go to ...
58
votes
11answers
17k views

Is it frowned upon to go to office hours as a graduate student?

I'm a graduate student (PhD, first year) in physics, and there have been a few times where I just can't figure out something regarding the material/subject of the class. Normally I just tell myself ...
58
votes
15answers
81k views

I am currently debating whether to leave my PhD program- any advice

TL;DR: Young graduate student in his first year of a PhD program who has lost a passion for the academic world. Seriously considering quitting but don't know what to do. Science background. Would love ...
56
votes
9answers
13k views

Is it okay to expect advisors to offer a word of condolence?

I'm a third-year Ph.D. student. A few months ago, I lost my maternal grandfather and grandmother in quick succession. More recently, I lost my close friend in a bus accident and my paternal ...
56
votes
5answers
22k views

Is it acceptable to wear the same outfit every day?

I am a male graduate student in natural sciences at a public university. I want to simplify my life a little bit by wearing the same outfit (more or less) every day. (Obviously I would have multiple ...
56
votes
10answers
14k views

Asking a professor to teach better

In my mathematics program, one of the qual prep courses is being taught by a professor who, put bluntly, is not putting in the effort. He is essentially reading from the book (which I don’t ...
54
votes
8answers
18k views

How to deal with an abusively condescending professor?

I am a beginning graduate student in Mathematics. I have a professor who always brings up the fact that my GPA is not great in my undergraduate degree even though my performance is above the norm in ...
54
votes
10answers
7k views

Age and Graduate school

I am 33. I live in the US. I am a neither a US citizen, nor a green card holder. I have worked in various jobs as a research assistant (physics, biology, economics) usually involving programming, ...
52
votes
15answers
17k views

How do so many people here on Academia.SE, and in general, afford lavish higher education programs?

I graduated last year with a BS in Computer Science. I do not come from a particularly wealthy family, (very low middle class), and was only able to afford my education via school loans/scholarships ...
51
votes
5answers
8k views

Is talking about quitting to your supervisor a point of no return?

I have been feeling miserable about my PhD degree situation for a bit of time, and I just started therapy. So far I've tried not to take drastic decisions such as quitting, because I know I am ...
51
votes
14answers
7k views

How should I deal with discouragement looking at others success?

I'm a master CS student. I had so many troubles in my life. I didn't have proper schooling and were in difficult situations which led to me being not so good compared to my peers now at the graduate ...
51
votes
3answers
5k views

What are some options for a graduate student abandoned by Ph. D advisor?

I'm currently doing a PhD in applied mathematics, I'm about to start my final year. The problem that I've been working on for the last 2 years was originally proposed by my advisor and one of his ...
50
votes
11answers
91k views

What should a proper email signature look like for graduate students?

So far, what I have is First and Last Name Title Group/Lab Name School Name Address and Phone I'm especially confused about the "title". I'm not sure if it should say "Graduate Student", "Research ...
49
votes
18answers
11k views

In teaching, what are the advantages of using slides over doing board work?

At my university, most lecturers and professors use slides in teaching. This is true for most engineering, mathematics and science courses. I am more comfortable with doing the board work and then ...
47
votes
10answers
26k views

How true is the stereotype that PhD graduates are overqualified?

I am a Masters student, and I think this is the only place in the whole internet that do not hold stereotyped negative attitude towards PhD recipients. From time to time,however, these sort of quotes ...
46
votes
5answers
4k views

Can one excel in graduate school with a demanding family life?

The essential gist of my question relates to what the real, unvarnished realities are of graduate, post-graduate, research, fellowship, and professorship attainment - when you aren't a single person ...
44
votes
7answers
11k views

Why does a mathematics department want student evaluations of a famous professor?

If a professor is very famous for his research and belongs to the most prestigious academies of science for his lifetime work, I find it unusual that the math department would ask us to evaluate him. ...
43
votes
6answers
2k views

Will people judge me negatively for skipping department seminars?

I'm a graduate student in the Earth Sciences. The breadth of my departments runs the gamut from geobiology to geophysics and everything in between. As a result, a large number of the department ...
42
votes
6answers
9k views

Can a graduate school dean prevent you from attending a class?

One of my professors is bullying me, so I filed a complaint with the Dean of the graduate school. He said, "While the investigation is in progress, you are not to attend class." He said that I was ...
42
votes
8answers
5k views

How can a new PhD Student objectively evaluate how well they are doing?

I'm a relatively new PhD student, and I'm faced with a new (for me) situation. Before, I always had grades and the likes to tell me how good or bad I was doing: if I was at or near the top/bottom of ...
41
votes
3answers
2k views

Unsolicited CVs from grad school applicants - ignore or try to help?

I am a graduate student in physics and every other month or so I get an e-mail from someone who wants a grad school or even postdoc position. These e-mails often start out "Dear Professor (my name)," (...
41
votes
5answers
4k views

As an undergraduate, how can I explore research topics that may interest me without having a background?

I'm a fourth-year undergraduate looking to apply to graduate physics program this year. My problem is this: I don't know how to pick a study/research area for graduate school. I enjoy my ...
40
votes
11answers
13k views

What can I do with like-new, recent-edition textbooks that I'm not allowed to sell?

My employer is sponsoring most of the tuition and fees for my master's degree (in aerospace engineering), including required textbooks. Thus, it is unethical and against policy for me to sell those ...
40
votes
6answers
3k views

What are the benefits/detriments to graduate students joining unions?

The graduate students at my university (a relatively large state school in the US) are considering joining a union. To help decide whether to sign a union card in support of joining the union, I'm ...
39
votes
7answers
16k views

Why are US PhDs different from European PhDs?

So apparently I heard from here, here and here about the differences in PhDs in the US and in Europe. To sum up, it takes longer, on average, in the US than in Europe to finish a PhD since US PhD ...
39
votes
7answers
8k views

Why doesn't academia incorporate spaced repetition in higher education?

There are many publications explaining advantages of spaced repetition. I found a summary of some of them here. While a lot of studies show many advantages of spaced repetition, it is not formally ...
39
votes
5answers
5k views

How to handle an advisor who communicates badly and puts me in a bad position as a result?

I'm frequently put in an awkward position by my advisor: he communicates pretty badly (vague, doesn't give enough information, isn't clear with what he wants, references things that could mean many ...
39
votes
7answers
24k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages to completing a Masters program before applying to a Ph. D program?

I've been considering applying to graduate school of some form or another in Mathematics. During my undergraduate years, I did decently on my undergraduate coursework (mostly A-s, some As, a B) but ...
39
votes
3answers
12k views

How to cope when PhD advisor quits midway

How does a PhD student come to grips with the situation when his/her advisor quits midway? What should be the student's considerations when the professor offers him a choice to move along with him? ...
38
votes
6answers
13k views

Why is having multiple college majors seen as a bad thing when applying to graduate school?

I have been told that triple (or more) majoring and/or taking numerous minors is seen as a bad quality when applying to graduate school. Can anybody explain we why they do not want academically ...