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Questions tagged [united-states]

On standards or conventions specific to the United States higher education system, which differs in structure and style from the systems in other parts of the world.

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126
votes
3answers
69k views

How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students?

When applying to a PhD program in the US, how does the admissions process work? If an applicant is weak in a particular area, is it possible to offset that by being strong in a different area? Note ...
29
votes
5answers
7k views

PhD in the US compared to Europe

I start my master studies this fall in quantitative finance/economics in Europe. Since this will just take 3-4 semesters I want to take a look ahead and obviously PhD is one option to do. So I am ...
13
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5answers
7k views

Implications of being accepted without funding to a computer science PhD in the United States?

I was accepted into Ohio State University CS PhD without funding. I have heard that people who can show their capability may get funding after getting into the program. Is this understanding correct? ...
124
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4answers
10k views

How hard do early-career academics in the United States work, really?

I'm finishing a PhD in Sweden this year and seeking a post-doc in the United States (atmospheric remote sensing). It is clear that a job in academia is not a nine to five job; nor do I want it to be. ...
21
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2answers
51k views

What is the median math GRE subject score for admission to a Group 2 or 3 PhD program in applied mathematics?

What are the typical (median or maybe third quartile) scores on the math subject GRE for successful applicants to a math program at the PhD level, in applied math, at a Group 2 or Group 31 school? ...
12
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7answers
17k views

Is it unwise to contact the professor directly before getting admitted to a program in US?

In his answer of Details an applicant should include/exclude in an introductory letter to a prospective grad school adviser?, aeismail says If the program in question is in the US, for instance, ...
25
votes
1answer
72k views

What is an endowed chair exactly? How does it compare to a “normal” position?

US universities have a tendency to name chairs after people. Just to give a few examples from Harvard: Hollis Professor of Divinity (love that title), Steven and Maureen Klinsky Professorship of ...
40
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7answers
18k 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 ...
66
votes
6answers
12k views

In practice, how secure is a tenured position in the US?

Coming from France, where any official academic position (i.e. associate professor or full professor, or equivalent positions at public research institutes) is a civil-servant one, and therefore ...
234
votes
14answers
40k views

Why do American colleges and universities have sports teams?

In the USA, college sports are popular, and colleges may offer scholarship based on athletic skills. Yet, universities spend significant money on sports, and nobody earns as well as the head of the ...
32
votes
3answers
6k views

How much time do professors have to do research on their own?

As part of their job, professors have to take care of getting funding, prepare classes, advise students, fulfill administrative tasks and attend to various meetings/conferences. How much time do ...
97
votes
7answers
30k views

The GRE: Why does this still exist?

I did my undergraduate degree in the US and am heading to graduate school here in less than a month, so I myself have taken the Graduate Record Examinations (the general as well as two subjects tests) ...
64
votes
14answers
15k views

Why are most of the top universities American?

In any ranking system, at least 50% of top universities (top 100, for example) are American. What is special about American higher education?
27
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2answers
4k views

Is it more difficult to score a Tenure Track position in the US when applying from outside?

I am currently located in central Europe. When I was hunting for an assistant professor position some months ago, I was also planning to apply to some US institutions for Tenure Track positions. ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

How can I enter into the mathematics field at the graduate level when I only took a few math courses as an undergrad?

Background I was ignorant as an undergraduate and didn't focus heavily in any specific area. I finally graduated with a single math/computer science degree that consisted of 5 math classes beyond ...
50
votes
11answers
21k views

Why is PhD GPA considered irrelevant?

The importance of a recent PhD’s GPA was recently dismissed in another question (What does an industry recruiter want to know my Ph.D. GPA for?). Why isn’t GPA considered relevant for graduate study?
58
votes
7answers
14k views

Can a professor ask for money directly from students to print out handouts for class?

I'm currently taking a class that doesn't have a required textbook, which is why I took it. My professor is now saying that due to her scanning and printing out handouts for use we are each required ...
31
votes
1answer
3k views

Elsevier actions following US sanctions on Iran

Elsevier has started circulating this letter as a consequence of the sanctions taken by the US against Iran to the editors of their journals: Subject: US editors and reviewers can no longer handle ...
46
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8answers
5k views

Why don't academics bypass restrictions on the distribution of their papers the same way as an institutional open access policy seems to do?

I've learned that academics can ensure that their papers can be freely distributed, even when those papers are published at places that require transferring copyright, simply by granting a ...
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 ...
28
votes
3answers
7k views

Faculty positions: What to say in a statement on diversity?

Some job ads of US schools require a "statement on diversity". I am not based in the US, and have never written one before. What should one say in a statement on diversity anyway? Am I supposed to ...
43
votes
5answers
14k views

Is it legal (USA) and ethical to use international edition textbooks? When I pay for a textbook, where does the money go?

Background: I am a student. I didn't have anything in life for four years, and I worked myself silly at times for it. So now I ask - when I pay hundreds of dollars over the production cost (new ...
16
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7answers
23k views

Professorship without PhD in the United States

In the discussion made in comments to this question, it has been stated that in France, it is possible (though improbable) to become a professor without having PhD. It made me curious if there is such ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Is it acceptable for me (an undergrad) to call professors and other research professionals by their first names? [duplicate]

I'm a second-year undergrad, and I've always been on a first-name basis with anyone in academia or in a research setting. I first worked in a laboratory in high school, and since everyone was on a ...
111
votes
15answers
31k views

How to approach a student with bad hygiene?

I teach engineering at a community college in the US. I currently have a student with very poor hygiene. He stinks pretty badly, has obviously greasy hair, doesn’t change his clothes frequently, and I ...
41
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7answers
7k views

Why does grade inflation seem to be so severe in the USA?

A comment on this question on undergraduate admissions notes that a good college might get 10x more applicants who all have the maximum possible grade point average, than the college can admit. (The ...
36
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the socio-economic argument or historical basis for university tuition fees?

One of the major differences between Europe (here I am mainly referring to Scandinavia) and Northern America, from an academic viewpoint, is the perspective towards higher education. In Scandinavia ...
32
votes
4answers
22k views

What is a soft-money research position?

I have read the term "soft-money research position" a few times. E.g. Path of a postdoc. Another consideration for interviewees is whether to pursue a "soft-money" position. A tenure-track ...
31
votes
4answers
16k views

Why are tuition fees for PhD students so high in the USA, despite not taking any class?

As a PhD student in a US university, my tuition fees are ~44,000 USD per year, despite the fact that I don't take any class: only 6 classes are required during the PhD program, and I've completed them ...
20
votes
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,...
35
votes
10answers
53k views

Is it OK to call a professor by his first name when he/she signs emails by only first name?

If a professor in a North American country presents his- or herself by his/her first name in email messages, does this mean that students can refer to him/her by his/her first name? Or is this ...
29
votes
5answers
12k views

Are UK faculty salaries in computer science low compared to salaries in United States?

I'm looking at faculty ads for computer science in the UK and noticed that the average salary range seems to be significantly lower compared to the US. Typically, a starting Lecturer ( = Assistent ...
25
votes
3answers
14k views

Is it legal in the US for a student to download a copy of a textbook, to study?

(this is coming out of a comment thread regarding this question.) The USA has a Fair Use legal provision restricting its copyright law: 17 U.S.C. § 107 Notwithstanding the provisions of ...
21
votes
1answer
6k views

How to handle salary negotiations while negotiating a postdoc position?

I am a couple of months off my defence and started thinking about postdoc possibilities. I seem to have an opportunity at a very prestigious lab in the U.S. (I'm currently located in Europe). After ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is the admission process centralized, when the professor who is actually funding may not be in the committee?

This question is based on some observations which could be wrong (in that case, let me know). I am applying to PhD program in various universities in US in theoretical computer science (TCS). Some of ...
52
votes
14answers
22k views

How to sign your email to students, so to avoid their immature behavior?

Or how would you like to be addressed? As a graduate TA, I went by my first name. But I thought that some students were becoming too friendly. They took things for granted (for example, asking for a ...
21
votes
3answers
5k views

How does a petty marijuana possession charge affect graduate admissions in math?

I was charged with possession of marijuana earlier this year. In my state, it's not a crime, just a violation with a fine. Technically, it's not even a conviction because there's a diversion program ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

How hard is it to get an academic position in Australia/New Zealand with a PhD from the US?

I am originally from India, currently a PhD student in Mathematics in the US. As such I don't have very many ties to the US and I was wondering whether it is common for PhDs from the US to get ...
6
votes
2answers
807 views

Why are there so many awards in academia in the US compared with academia in France?

I spent a bit of time in France and in the USA. I observed that there are many more awards given to students and academics in the US than there are in France. Is that observation correct, and if so ...
21
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4answers
3k views

How do teaching buy outs work?

Normally a professor is paid for eight to nine months each academic year for teaching several courses in the period. However, if a professor gets a research grant, he can support himself by the grant ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

What are assistant professors called in North America?

We've had discussions on this site about the German tradition of Prof. Dr., but I'm unclear on how it maps over to the North American academy. My question, therefore, is whether a North American ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Are Indian assistant professors eligible for tenure-track positions in the US?

Suppose an assistant professor from a reputable Indian university wants to apply for tenure-track positions in the United States. Would he or she have any chance? Assume that his or her publication ...
26
votes
2answers
4k views

Thanking a “shepherd” in acknowledgments

I often find in many conference papers submitted by US research groups that paper writers would thank their "shepherd" in the acknowledgment section. What is the exact contribution of a "shepherd" to ...
23
votes
1answer
489 views

What exactly are academic librarians?

My apologies for the title of this question, but I didn't know how to turn it. The fact is this is actually a set of many small questions. I have completed my postgraduate studies in France where, ...
21
votes
5answers
6k views

How does the government shutdown in the United States affect research projects at universities and national labs?

Has federally funded research at universities and work done at the national labs in the United States been halted due to the government shutdown? If so, what typically happens then? Do researchers ...
20
votes
2answers
23k views

Answer to “Will you be able to provide proof of your identity and employment eligibility if you are hired”?

I am an European citizen applying for some academic jobs in US. I have some doubts on one question I have to answer during the application process 1) Are you presently legally authorized to work in ...
13
votes
2answers
8k views

Is it okay to scan a book (that I own) strictly for personal use?

I have a physical book from an Australian publisher which is nearly a thousand pages long, so it's quite hard to carry around with me. It is a book of worked solutions for a math textbook. It has no ...
10
votes
3answers
679 views

Should I mention about my governmental-funded PhD scholarship which I don't want to use

This might sound odd, yet here is my story. I was lucky to get governmental scholarship (GSch) for 4-5 years of PhD to study abroad. But It requires student to work as Assistant Professor in a ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the promotion rate of professors in United States?

I'm writing an essay, and want to know the promotion rate and average duration from assistant professor to associate professor and associate professor to professor in recent years. Sadly I don't know ...
7
votes
3answers
402 views

What “Applicant Confidential Data Form” has to do with tenure-track positions?

The data collected using "Applicant Confidential Data Form" will be used by US-based universities to monitor University’s Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Programs as required by the US ...