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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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161 votes
3 answers

How are Ph.D. applications evaluated in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students? Am I likely to get into school X?

This is a special community wiki 'canonical' question that aggregates advice on a frequently-asked question. See this meta discussion. Please feel free to edit this question to improve it. When ...
138 votes
4 answers

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. ...
gerrit's user avatar
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32 votes
5 answers

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 ...
user3522479's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers

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? ...
user1745048's user avatar
41 votes
7 answers

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 ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 3,139
38 votes
10 answers

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 ...
sequence's user avatar
  • 1,142
30 votes
1 answer

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 ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 2,795
24 votes
2 answers

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? ...
Gremlin Brenneman's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers

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 ...
John Bensin's user avatar
135 votes
11 answers

Can leaked nude pictures damage one's academic career?

I have an ex who has posted nude photos of me online in the past, linked to my online social media, and posted my full name and where I live. I am concerned he may do so again once he finds out I'm ...
P. Lombert's user avatar
  • 1,097
71 votes
6 answers

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 ...
user avatar
53 votes
12 answers

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?
Stack Tracer's user avatar
17 votes
7 answers

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 ...
Googlebot's user avatar
  • 7,655
12 votes
7 answers

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, ...
Ooker's user avatar
  • 8,256
101 votes
7 answers

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) ...
Jonathan Gleason's user avatar
35 votes
4 answers

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 ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
33 votes
3 answers

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 ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
247 votes
14 answers

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 ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 42.9k
68 votes
14 answers

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?
Jia's user avatar
  • 1,609
57 votes
7 answers

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 ...
legallyk's user avatar
  • 551
46 votes
8 answers

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 ...
O. R. Mapper's user avatar
  • 18.4k
38 votes
7 answers

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 ...
No One's user avatar
  • 4,238
36 votes
1 answer

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 ...
An Iranian Author's user avatar
33 votes
3 answers

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 ...
user12956's user avatar
  • 2,165
29 votes
2 answers

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. ...
xLeitix's user avatar
  • 136k
28 votes
1 answer

My human subjects research is "exempt" under US regulations. Does that mean I can skip ethics review?

This question was inspired by some wrong information on this site. Human subjects research usually requires review by an ethics committee (IRB). Some research is "exempt" under US law. If my ...
Anonymous Physicist's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers

PhD duration in the USA

I am trying to find out what the average duration of PhD studies are in the USA. Here in Spain it used to be 4 years, but it seems that Europe is moving towards a 3-year scheme since students are ...
CesarGon's user avatar
  • 261
3 votes
2 answers

Who to ask for letters of recommendations?

I am an undergrad from a pretty unknown Asian university and I would be applying to PhD programs (mostly US) in pure mathematics this application cycle. However, my major is physics and my intention ...
Snowy Penguin's user avatar
73 votes
18 answers

As an international instructor, should I openly talk about my accent?

I'm an international, teaching at an American university, and I have an accent, which can be strong at times. I'm working hard at it, have always been, but still, the accent is there. This has never ...
ziulfer's user avatar
  • 1,984
45 votes
5 answers

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 ...
user1833028's user avatar
37 votes
8 answers

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 ...
posdef's user avatar
  • 17.8k
34 votes
6 answers

Are professors at a public university in the U.S. considered to be "employed by the U.S. government"?

Also, is a grad student who is being funded by an NSF grant considered to be "employed by the U.S. government"? I ask because I'm submitting a paper, and I have to state whether or not all authors ...
littleO's user avatar
  • 598
27 votes
3 answers

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 ...
einpoklum's user avatar
  • 39.3k
20 votes
10 answers

What are "all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto"?

It is common language in graduation ceremonies, at least in the United States, to hear a degree conferred with "all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto." How would one discover what the ...
Daniel L's user avatar
  • 423
10 votes
2 answers

Can a student who graduated from a lower-ranking school in a developing country be admitted to a graduate school in a western country?

Most colleges in developing countries are sub-par by western academic standards. In one developing country, for example, professors are not obliged by law or by their institutions to pursue a doctoral ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 361
8 votes
4 answers

What would a good written policy for scaling exam grades look like?

I'm not in the habit of scaling exams, although I'm aware that the practice is widespread and highly recommended in some circles (such as grading on a curve). To my recollection, none of my college ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers

Getting faculty position in the US: after Postdoc in the US or Lecturer in the UK?

I am a postdoc in a US university (Rank A, edit: R1). I tried to get an academic faculty position in the US, but was unsuccessful. I got an offer (lecturer in the UK system) from the UK university (...
user24094's user avatar
  • 379
5 votes
4 answers

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 ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

University admission offer

I have applied to some US and European universities, which all have somewhat different acceptance timelines. I was offered a graduate student position with certain funding at a US university. There is ...
sequence's user avatar
  • 1,142
1 vote
1 answer

Special student Harvard in Mathematics [closed]

I am a master student in Mathematics. I got a scholarship that would pay me a 1-year stay (including housing etc.) at Harvard University. All I need to do, is to apply for admission as a Special ...
Blackberry's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

Conditional Offer?

In US graduate programs, what kind of conditions, usually, universities set, if they accept a student who has yet to finish his degree? The obvious one is to finish before fall, but aside from this, ...
SuperHeroY's user avatar
  • 1,007
119 votes
9 answers

Asking questions in class: how can I "exit" a Q&A when I haven't really understood?

I'm an undergrad and I tend to learn better when I understand the concepts behind things instead of rote repetition. As a result of this, I often have questions. There are times when I don't ...
Melanie Shebel's user avatar
114 votes
18 answers

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 ...
lemontwist's user avatar
  • 1,140
105 votes
8 answers

Why are high pass rates for courses considered acceptable in the US?

(Sorry, I just couldn't resist the temptation to use this somewhat provoking title.) This recent question motivated me to finally ask the following, somewhat dual, question which I've been wondering ...
Jochen Glueck's user avatar
91 votes
10 answers

Is it ethical to tell my teaching assistant that I like him?

I, a twenty-year-old female, have come to admire the graduate teaching assistant for my summer course quite strongly. I'm extremely interested in what he has to say, I always pay attention, never use ...
apollogie's user avatar
  • 971
54 votes
14 answers

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 ...
user45756's user avatar
  • 1,073
52 votes
12 answers

Is it still possible to get a decent job in academia (specifically physics) nowadays?

I am an American high schooler considering what to do in university. I am immensely interested in theoretical physics, and I would quite like to become a professor in the subject (I've self-studied ...
John Dumancic's user avatar
43 votes
7 answers

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 ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 42.9k
41 votes
13 answers

Appropriate/smart ways to decline students' requests of "begging for better grades" at the end of the semester without being too hurtful

Normally at the end of semester, there are always a couple of students begging for better grades. Let me just list a few sample cases: Case 1: I worked really hard during the semester. I attended all ...
No One's user avatar
  • 4,238
35 votes
5 answers

Why do American universities have so many general education courses?

Americans spend 12 years in school which is more than in many places, yet, when they come to university, they continue to study a general education program that may be unrelated to their major. My ...
Iam Cleaver's user avatar
  • 1,181

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