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.

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39
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 ...
39
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6answers
16k 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 ...
39
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7answers
25k 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
13k 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
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12answers
16k views

I hate taking lectures, can I still survive in academia?

I'm 3rd Physics & Mathematics student, and I almost hate taking and attending lectures; it is not because what is taught, I just don't like sitting in uncomfortable chairs with a lot of people ...
38
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10answers
6k views

Having students scribe lectures

When I'm teaching an advanced graduate class where the source material is drawn primarily from current research papers, there isn't a canonical text per se, and a typical lecture, while loosely ...
38
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4answers
8k views

Details an applicant should include/exclude in an introductory letter to a prospective grad school adviser?

I'm applying for graduate school (PhD in computer science), and I'm considering writing to faculty whose research areas match with what I intend to pursue, to understand: Whether they'd be looking ...
38
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7answers
6k views

Is there anything wrong with faculty socializing with grad students?

I was a little bit surprised to read this comment thread on the Chronicle of Higher Education, which suggests (among other things) that faculty shouldn't fraternize with grad students. I think this ...
37
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9answers
9k views

How can I ask a teacher to follow the textbook more closely?

This term I'm taking a (graduate) course which is crucial for my degree. The teacher's plan for the course is quite ambitious and all along he's been following the structure of a given text, but he ...
37
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6answers
13k views

Why do many graduate programs in mathematics (United States) still have foreign language requirements today (in 2010s)?

As far as I know, nowadays most of the mathematical literature is written and published in English and mathematicians communicate with each other in English. Although there are certain number of books ...
36
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7answers
10k views

Is it discrimination to hold someone from a minority or underprivileged background to the same academic standard as regular students? [closed]

Suppose a graduate student is found to be noticeably or even significantly behind in overall academic and research competence. For example, they may have significantly weaker language and ...
36
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3answers
6k views

How do I know if I'm good enough to be a math professor?

I would like to apply for graduate school to become a mathematics professor. However, given that the opportunity cost of grad school is high and that I already have a stable, good paying job, I would ...
35
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10answers
12k views

Why should a P.I be motivated to write a strong LOR even if that means losing a undergraduate from his/her lab?

Suppose, you are the head of a lab, and there is a particular undergraduate in your lab that you want them to continue their studies in your lab while continuing their graduate studies in the current ...
35
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5answers
6k views

Could an inexperienced advisor hurt my career?

I have been offered a PhD position by an inexperienced professor in a great institution in Europe. Despite the fact that the institution is very strong in my area, since the position was offered by ...
35
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6answers
1k views

Graduate school with tinnitus

I’m a Syrian refugee residing in Europe. I am about to complete my undergraduate degree in mathematics, and have applied to several graduate schools. To my surprise I got into a few very good ones. ...
35
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2answers
69k views

What are the 'right questions' to ask professors at a visit day for prospective graduate students?

I'm in mathematics, though I don't know if the answers to this will be field-dependent. There have been previous good questions that answer what to ask graduate students here and only somewhat ...
34
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3answers
3k views

How to efficiently read mathematically and theoretically dense books in STEM fields?

When it comes to reading, there are literally thousands of methods from Speed Reading to SQ3R to Sequential(Word by Word till the end). My question is regarding reading mathematically/theoretically ...
33
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6answers
8k views

Shall I go and see my advisor's father who is on his death bed?

In my country from East Asia, it is extremely impolite if I don't do it when I have this information. However, US and EU are known to be more "professional" in my humble opinion. So in US, is asking ...
32
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10answers
9k views

Is it necessary for a grad student to respond to phone calls, as long as they're responsive on email?

I am asking this for a friend who hopes to enter grad school for a PhD next year in science. This person has a cell phone but almost always turns it off and has no voice mail (meaning there is no way ...
32
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5answers
13k views

Can a department revoke a degree, once granted by the university?

I’ve just completed a graduate degree at a university in the UK, as an older student. The department, IMO, is a mess of politics, fickle actions, and backstabbing. Whilst here, I have been pushed, ...
32
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4answers
9k views

Why are MBA programs closing in the United States?

There are various reports about full-time, on-campus MBA programs closing its doors, e.g. from LinkedIn: MBA programs are getting axed: The number of full-time MBA programs in the U.S. declined ...
32
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5answers
5k views

How do I get over these (possibly sexist) feelings regarding an underqualified labmate? [closed]

Well, this is kind of embarrassing for me and I am judging myself as well. I have just started my PhD. And there is another woman who has started in the same lab as me. Over the first week, I found ...
32
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2answers
5k views

How should one decide whether to study logic in a math or philosophy department?

In particular, besides the more obvious fact that your courses and qualifying exams are going to be in different fields, are there any subtler reasons to prefer one department over another? Some ...
31
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7answers
10k views

Just starting in grad school, I haven't heard from my advisor in three weeks …

I just started grad school this year. I met with my advisor over three weeks ago, on the first week of school. We talked about the school, she told me a bit about the department and showed me around ...
31
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6answers
4k views

Will it hurt me if my advisor's last name is before mine alphabetically?

I'm a graduate student in theoretical particle physics, where the standard is that all author lists are alphabetized. However, even in other disciplines of physics, it's quite common for author lists ...
31
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4answers
3k views

Do exercises in a theoretical reference book need to be solved when doing research?

I am a first year graduate student in a computational math program. Based on my background (I just finished a one-semester graduate real analysis course), instead of reading a specific textbook, my ...
30
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5answers
8k views

How to get back on track after falling behind

I'm a first year master student currently taking courses on the second semester. For the most part I did pretty good on the first semester except that I got behind in one course which is specially ...
30
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4answers
4k views

How strong of an obligation does an advisor have to attend his/her Ph.D. students' graduation?

I will be graduating my first Ph.D. student this summer. My student is quite strong and has done good work, and I am quite proud of him! I do face one conundrum. He has expressed the hope that I ...
29
votes
7answers
9k views

Do universities care about bias experienced in group projects?

I am a master's student, and I will complete my master's program soon. During my second year of my MA program, I had to work on a two-semester group project because it was a requirement for the ...
29
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8answers
8k views

Do postdocs still take courses?

I just saw an ad for a new Statistics course that will be offered this fall semester and it states: For postdoctoral, graduate, and advanced undergraduate students ... I am surprised and a little ...
29
votes
6answers
10k views

Is it possible to restart a PhD due to issues with supervisor (and should I do it)?

I am a PhD student in Europe and I am in the state of permanent crisis because of my PhD supervisor. He is a very nice person, who is very active with public engagement, very successful at grant ...
29
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7answers
4k views

How common is it for women to drop out of graduate school because they have children?

I am a 29 year old female. I want to go back to school. I have been told that I have a very good chance at getting into a very good graduate computer science program (machine learning, AI, robotics, ...
29
votes
3answers
97k views

How much detail to include in first email to potential PhD supervisor?

First, I must mention that I found these questions helpful: Prospective PhD contacts potential supervisor but receives no answer after 2-3 emails, what to do? What to do when emails to a potential ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

What can I do as a graduate student to maximize my chances of obtaining a professorship?

I've already completed my first grueling year of the PhD program, and graduation is still a yet to be seen light at the end of the tunnel. I'm very sure that academia is for me, and I really want to ...
29
votes
3answers
7k views

I feel burned out after finishing my master. Should I take year off before the PhD?

I'm in the second year of a master's program and I'm considering taking a year off before doing a PhD. I am excited to do a PhD and have some idea of what I want to research, but I am not sure if ...
29
votes
4answers
6k views

What should advisors do if one of their PhD students has to withdraw?

Unfortunately, there are circumstances when not everything goes right in a student's PhD career, or there can be personal circumstances that require doctoral candidates to withdraw from a PhD program ...
28
votes
3answers
3k views

Advisor transferring to better school

I am currently at a Top-20 engineering school in the US. I am making great progress on my PhD and have an excellent relationship with my advisor. My advisor is transferring to a Top-3 engineering ...
28
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I impress my prospective grad advisor? (first meeting)

I am supposed to meet with a PI to discuss the possibilities of joining his lab as a MSc student. I have had one meeting with another PI last week, but it went bad. Essentially he was repulsed when I ...
28
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3answers
1k views

What should I do if the professor I intended to work with has moved to a different school?

So, without giving out the details about the school. I joined a graduate program at school X, because I was really interested in work of professor Y. I met him during the graduate school visit and I ...
28
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6answers
2k views

When is it a good idea to let an academic department (or a professor) know that I have Asperger's (or ADD)?

With Asperger's, the trick is always when to explain it (in a non-awkward situation). I'd like to avoid mentioning it if possible, but it has gotten to the point that I only mention it after ...
28
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3answers
3k views

When does a PhD end?

When does a PhD end? I know this is a very general question on this forum, but let us consider a CS-engineering group. What is the usual and primary consideration for letting the student finish ...
28
votes
6answers
58k views

Attending graduate school at my undergraduate university

I've been told by numerous people that (1) my undergraduate university will be disinclined to bring me on as a graduate student, and that (2) it's a bad idea to attend grad school where you completed ...
28
votes
4answers
11k views

What are the long-term advantages of a US PhD compared to Europe/Oceania?

I have applied to PhD programs in ecology in Europe (Germany, Denmark, UK) and Oceania (Australia/New Zealand). Now the deadlines for US programs are coming up and I am debating whether I should apply ...
27
votes
10answers
39k views

How much vacation time is typical during a PhD in the United States?

What is the typical amount of vacation time, per year, during a PhD program in the United States. I am particularly interested in 1. PhD programs in the physical sciences, and 2. PhD programs at ...
27
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4answers
2k views

How to test (admitted) grad students before hiring them in your lab

Recruiting "bad" PhD students who only become emotional, temporal, and financial drag is not good for anybody. I was listening to the recent freakonomics podcast episode, and thought it would be great ...
27
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2answers
6k views

Advice for having children during graduate school

My wife and I just found out that we're having our first child. While this is a wonderful thing, it also concerns us a bit. Particularly because we're on limited funds (TA & RA combined salary) ...
26
votes
3answers
6k views

How to answer “Why is graduate study important at this time in your life?”, when the reasons are very personal?

I am applying to our organization‘s scholarship program to pay for graduate school (if I get accepted). One of essay questions is: Why is graduate study important at this time in your life? Well, ...
26
votes
4answers
5k views

Can a department renege on a student's “guaranteed funding”?

I was admitted to a PhD program last year with guaranteed funding for 4 years. The funding offer was structured as a fellowship for the first year and an assistantship thereafter. I'm done with my ...
26
votes
6answers
1k views

“making it look good”- is it always important?

Recently I created a project report for the project that me and my classmate are working on. The project report goes to the external examiner to whom later we have to give a demo on our project. Me ...
26
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5answers
3k views

Professor withholding course grade until submission of conference paper

I have recently been told by the professor of a particular course of mine, that our final grades will be withheld (given as an "Incomplete" which is later replaced by the final grade) until we ...