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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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 ...
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4answers
5k views

What is a “good” PhD dropout rate, and how would we know?

In a few questions/answers on here (e.g., here), passing reference has been made to the difficulty of determining a good/acceptable/healthy dropout rate for a PhD program. However, I haven't seen any ...
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2answers
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Advisor isn't advising

I'm having the problem that my advisor isn't providing me with any real guidance. To avoid making this a rant post, I'll just state the facts: my advisor is an MD/PhD, working almost full-time as an ...
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7answers
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How do I get published in Nature or Science?

I'm a fairly new chemical engineering graduate student. I've been doing research for one semester so far (in molecular dynamics) and in the process have learned about journals and "impact factor" (a ...
25
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4answers
7k views

It seems my advisor doesn't trust me, but why?

Even though my advisor is reasonably friendly with me, it feels like he doesn't 'trust me' as much as he trusts the other grad student (let's call him X) in the lab. A few examples: I joined a lab a ...
25
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5answers
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Doing a PhD with significant external time obligations (e.g., marriage)

Graduate school has a reputation for being a tremendous time-sink. I'm currently married with kids, and I have a fairly busy extracurricular schedule. Is it common for married people - or anyone, ...
25
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3answers
4k views

Do professors change their impression of a previously bad student?

One of my friends (a math graduate student from my department) didn't work hard during his undergraduate studies, and his GPA was, naturally, low. He barely (and with some luck) got into grad school, ...
25
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4answers
39k views

What are some good questions to ask current graduate students when visiting schools?

For the record, I'm visiting the University of Chicago as an accepted PhD student (in the geophysical sciences) next week. In particular, I'd especially appreciate creative questions that few other ...
25
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2answers
3k views

What's a good way out when research is stuck?

Consider a mid-level PhD student in a STEM field (maybe 2-3 years into the program), he and his advisor are working on something relatively new and interesting but they have reached a point where the ...
25
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6answers
3k views

Having the knowledge of a graduate student but not having the degree requirements for graduate school?

Let's say that you're a 27 year old autodidact who has gained enough knowledge in a particular field of the formal sciences - like mathematics, for instance - to be able to take the highest course ...
25
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7answers
4k views

How to deal with fellow grad students who want to copy assignments?

How to deal with fellow students who put little effort on their part while solving assignments, and sometimes ask you to spoon-feed them solutions. Lot of times these students end up scoring more on ...
24
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7answers
9k views

Is one spelling mistake in the academic CV a big deal?

Just after submitting my CV to graduate school for masters admission, I realized that there was one spelling mistake on the first page of my CV. I misspelled the word 'merchandising'(missed the h). Is ...
24
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7answers
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Are 16 schools too many for a professor to provide recommendation letters to?

I plan to apply to approximately 16 schools and am wondering whether that's too many for my recommendation letter providers. It's happened before that a professor of my friend refused to provide all ...
24
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8answers
5k views

Feeling unprepared for PhD because of poor educational system in my home country. Should I leave PhD to retake courses somewhere else?

I will give some background. I am from a third world country, and I am doing my math PhD in Europe. During high school and university years I participated in many maths competitions, and even got to ...
24
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3answers
2k views

How to motivate speakers to give less specialized talks at a “colloquium?”

Our applied math department is beginning to have a serious attendance problem at our colloquium. The appropriate level for our colloquium is that any person with an undergraduate degree in a ...
24
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4answers
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Importance of GPA and GRE scores for grad school admissions

I was reading the following article by Mathew Might. HOWTO: Get into grad school for science, engineering, math and computer science I saw the following the paragraph What doesn't matter GPA? ...
24
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4answers
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How can one successfully run a reading group?

This is related to "Skimming through a math paper with a group" and "What do professors gain out of teaching reading courses with individual Ph.D students", but from the other side :) I've ...
23
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5answers
4k views

Will people think negatively of owning a nice car in grad school?

I graduated from college 5 years ago, and I was very fortunate to graduate with no debt. For the 3 years after graduating I worked hard, had solid employment, and saved very carefully. This afforded ...
23
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7answers
1k views

How does one keep herself updated with new research without forgetting older results?

The title is fairly generic in nature, so I'm trying to elaborate in the body. I'm interested in answers pertaining to Theoretical Computer Science (TCS), but I'm certain the question would be equally ...
23
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3answers
42k views

How good do I actually have to be to get into a top graduate program from an average undergraduate program?

So, this is a question that I do not know much about. I might get called on not having done a ton of research on graduate school, but I am really curious about this. I am an undergraduate student of ...
23
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3answers
2k views

Is it possible for a student in first year of Ph.D to secure funding for attending conferences?

Note: I'm primarily interested in answers relevant to Computer Science (Theory), but answers in different areas in CS / totally other disciplines are equally welcome. In most (if not all) PhD ...
23
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2answers
3k views

Advisor ill, out all year… how should I proceed?

I’m a first year grad student beginning this year. My professor was diagnosed with cancer and won’t be in, probably all year, maybe even the entire time I’m in class. He’s a great man, and also a ...
23
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1answer
4k views

Can you be dismissed from a graduate program for attending jury duty?

From what I’ve read, an employer can’t legally fire you for attending jury duty, although they don’t have to pay you. I’ve been called before but never had to serve more than a day. However, a grad ...
23
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1answer
975 views

As a dissertation advisor, how can I best help a “typical” graduate student?

I am about to officially become the Ph.D. advisor to a math grad student at a second-tier state school. (He is about to pass his comprehensive exams.) He is strong, motivated, and talented, but not ...
22
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5answers
1k views

How do I not get impatient when other people ask me to describe my research?

I mean, I really should be glad when they ask me this question. But inevitably, different people will ask me the same question many different times (over many different interviews), understandably so, ...
22
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5answers
5k views

How to reduce negative consequence for the person I plagiarized my assignment from?

Due to some personal reasons, I didn't get to complete my semester end project. So I copied my friend's project and submitted it without major changes (I know I was a fool to do that). Now we are ...
22
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9answers
10k views

Is it advisable to contact a professor if I fear failing a graduate-level course?

I am an international master's student in the US. I am currently finishing my last semester of courses. This semester has been very tough on my personal life because of some family issues. I also had ...
22
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7answers
6k views

Should I challenge the GRE requirement for a doctoral program in education (in the U.S.)?

I'm just starting to investigate doctoral programs in education in the United States, and I'm considering how to handle the GRE requirement: Hardline Activism: submit my incomplete application with a ...
22
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3answers
4k views

How to quit/put on hold a PhD program due to personality clash with advisor?

I've been trying to cope with a very abusive and mentally unstable advisor. In a recent clash she has been spewing lies and threats. It has become clearer and clearer that despite the four years of ...
22
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4answers
6k views

How much does a student's ranking in their cohort matter for PhD applications?

I am from one of the top UK institutions studying mathematics. I am under the impression that UK universities tend to have a larger cohort (~150 per year) than US but perhaps I am wrong. I would ...
22
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5answers
3k views

Should I stay in PhD program I dislike to have a shot at liberal arts teaching?

TL;DR: I'm a pure math graduate student who doesn't like research mathematics. Should I continue and get the PhD because I suspect I might like teaching at a 4-year liberal arts college? I am ...
22
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7answers
9k views

Why don't some U.S. colleges celebrate American national holidays?

I was just catching up with a friend about the plunging temperatures in the towns that we live in, and they brought up that they actually have classes today, on Martin Luther King day, which is a ...
22
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5answers
110k views

Why is B or B− the minimum passing grade for most graduate courses in US?

I was recently told that in many schools in the US (maybe other countries too), the minimum grade for a graduate course is B or B−. Meaning that B is considered as a passing score. I would like to ...
22
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5answers
4k views

When do most students publish in a European PhD?

in US PhDs, it's typical to start publishing (first author or not) in their latter-half years. How does that work in the EU? Since EU PhDs are shorter than US programs, is it common for EU phd ...
22
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4answers
4k views

What to do when PhD is becoming hell due to non-cooperation from supervisor?

I have a nightmare adviser, who is also the head of the Department. The problems are: he has too many students, never reads my chapters, he is trying his best to sabotage TA or RA opportunities that ...
22
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4answers
1k views

Traveling with textbooks

So I am finishing my MSc in Europe and it looks like I will be headed to the US for a PhD. Along the way I have collected a small set of textbooks that I find particularly useful. From my experience, ...
21
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4answers
9k views

Should I take a “positive, but not enthusiastically strong” letter of recommendation?

I'm currently applying for a Masters degree in a competitive program, and most things on my application are going well. The problem I'm having is with securing a letter of recommendation - I have ...
21
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5answers
5k views

Which is more valued, first authorship articles or the number of articles produced?

What is more important in academia (bioinformatics, computational biology) for a person when he/she has already completed their PhD: Number of first authorship articles he/she has Number of ...
21
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4answers
4k views

Should I report a graduate student who “hires” other people to do their coursework?

Should I report a graduate student who "hires" other people to do their coursework? Is this a proper course of action to take? I understand the repercussions will be outstanding for the individual. ...
21
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7answers
2k views

Are master's degrees in the US mostly meant to prepare you for a Ph.D?

I am a Canadian undergraduate student intending to get a master's degree, but not intending to get a Ph.D. A Canadian graduate student told me that master's degree in the US are really only designed ...
21
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5answers
3k views

Thesis Advisor conundrum

Last semester, I took class A and loved the material. It was a subject I excelled in and professor A' was someone I understood well. I thought it was perfect to take the course 2A and make A' my ...
21
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5answers
4k views

What is the purpose of the weekly research meetings that advisers often have with their research group?

Does it usually happen even if all of the adviser's students have very different research interests?
21
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4answers
1k views

What percentage of STEM PhD applicants have peer-reviewed publications?

I am simply looking for a rough estimate on how many PhD applicants typically apply having published a peer-reviewed paper (or papers). Particularly, I am interested in Computer Science (or STEM ...
21
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4answers
16k views

What is the difference between Ph. D programs with coursework and those without it?

I have been looking into PhD programs in the Engineering field, and I have found different types of programs, such as some with coursework, and others without any coursework. What is the practical ...
21
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4answers
961 views

What habits should I build in the first part of my PhD?

I'm a first-year PhD student in a computer science department. As is usual at this school, my first three quarters are spent rotating with different professors, finding an adviser and a research fit ...
21
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1answer
2k views

Can I accept two federal fellowships simultaneously and defer one?

I recently received both an NSF and an NDSEG fellowship. I see that I am not allowed to accept funding from both fellowships, but I wonder if it is possible to do something like: accept both, put the ...
20
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8answers
11k views

I believe my advisor doesn't think I am smart. How should I deal with this?

My advisor is a brilliant new professor and my efforts don't seem to impress him. When I show him something in person, we always have a very careful intensive discussion for hours. But he does make ...
20
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6answers
4k views

Do professors frown upon students who don't take notes?

I am a math student and never take notes in class. I feel like I am offending the professors by not taking notes. In general, do professors like students to be "active" during class? I have never ...
20
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4answers
4k views

What is the basic structure of American higher education?

When I go to university for four years and study, e.g., law or medicine, do I earn an undergraduate degree? And do I have to go to university for another two years or so to get a graduate degree? Also,...
20
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2answers
3k views

Is preparing for a lawsuit a valid reason to defer an exam? [closed]

An employer owes me wages and I have not been able to get them to comply without escalating matters. As a result, I have been preparing to take them to court, but I have an exam for my masters that I ...

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