If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.

Hot answers tagged

128

As someone who's been out of academia for a while, I would like to offer a different perspective. Yes, occupying your co-advisor's attention when the roof is on fire is tone-deaf. However: you have acquired skills that are obviously in high demand these days, and are thrown into a (hopefully) once-in-a lifetime situation to apply these skills. Especially ...


20

Yes, it’s fine to email her, but the email should be a lot shorter than your post here. Keep it to an absolute minimum and spare your poor overworked co-adviser having to read any unnecessary apologies, hand-wringing, expressions of sympathy and whatnot. Something like this might work: Dear co-adviser, I’m following up on our meeting from last week. ...


16

I don't see any harm in sending this co-adviser the work you've completed, provided you include a cover message saying that you're aware how busy she is with the high-priority work on the COVID-19 epidemic but you'd really appreciate it if she could find time to suggest what you should do next. That was assuming that, when you wrote "she tells me what to do ...


12

I have to assume that you have done the required research and are now just at the writing stage. This could be a lot of things. But one piece of advice is to not try to write it from the first word to the last. Work from an outline. Fill in the outline in such a way that it seems like a blurry picture becoming clearer and clearer. In other words, if you ...


5

I think you are vastly overestimating the value of ratings from a popular magazine as they apply to doctoral education and vastly underestimating the quality of doctoral education at any R1 in Texas. Frankly the real difference, in an individual field between a school rated 180 and one rated, say, 40 is likely to be a mix of random and the value of a given ...


5

I assume the job does not require a PhD. The recruiter will usually not know the difference between X and Y unless X tells them. If X tells the recruiter that they quit their PhD and got a master's, the recruiter's main question would be: why is X telling me this unnecessary information?


4

Try to do the easiest parts first. Not the most important parts. Not the beginning. Just anything easy. This gives you traction and starts to build up some form of a document. Once you see that, you move on to the next easiest part. It is AMAZING how well this process works to deal with writers avoidance. I just had a work PPT that was scaring ...


4

Funded masters degrees are getting generally phased out in most fields. They seem to be replaced with unfunded masters' degrees, and/or all students are getting funneled into the funded PhD programs. The prevailing wisdom (as far as I can tell) is that funding masters students is a waste because as soon as you've trained them to know stuff they leave, ...


4

You said that the funded PhD offer matches your field of interest. To me this already looks like a clear win over the unfunded Masters degree. The only point that could direct you towards the Masters is funding. So question 1: How necessary is significant grant funding for the research in your AOI? Question 2: How much funding does the advisor at the PhD ...


3

Comparisons and recommendations of specific universities is off topic here as a "shopping question". I'll restrict this answer to the question of getting an MS first. In the US (unlike many other places) getting an MS first isn't necessary and will probably lengthen your total program, especially if you switch programs after the MS. Also, not every MS ...


3

I would go with Dear Co-Advisor, last week we agreed on ... Of course, all our previous plans are now obsolete. Please let me know if I can be of any help. If not, as I want to continue my work withouth putting any burden on you, I appreciate if you point me towards someone I could get in touch with.


3

Can you adapt your model to deal with the problem that is interesting everyone else? You don't have to come up with a magical solution to modeling the COVID outbreak, just use your knowledge to say something interesting and relevant. Help your co-advisor with the collection and synthesis of data, do your bit of modeling and write it all up. The level of ...


2

The time you take to complete a degree should matter little for the future, provided that it isn't explained by laziness or sloth. There are a lot of valid reasons for taking a long time. Medical issues, including depression, especially if now resolved, are one. I think you will be judged in any application process just about the same as anyone else would, ...


2

Write any bit in any order and, very importantly, don't worry about how good it is. Writing and editing are different tasks and require different approaches. Switching between them interferes with doing either of them. You can do the organisation later. Sure, it's nice to be able to organise as you go, but a blank page can intrude so much on your thinking ...


2

Collaboration is not something that can be forced. It is built on top of personal relationships, and requires some element of trust to have been established. The best collaborations emerge organically over time: really, the best strategy is just to spend as much time as you can working in the lab, talk to people, show interest in what they are doing, and ...


2

It is good to aim high. It is also good to have broad target. If you apply to only a few schools with very similar profiles then being rejected by one will probably have a similar outcome at the others. So, I recommend a range of schools if you really want a degree and not just bragging rights about a top 50 school. But, about your GPA. It isn't a plus, of ...


2

You're stuck in a conundrum you'll encounter all through your life: You have a girl/boy friend and you wonder whether it's worth committing and getting married -- but you keep wondering whether anyone better might come along eventually. You have a job offer from a well-paying company, but you still have that application pending with Google. You have a grad ...


1

Anybody can have an unexpected accident interrupt their life, like getting run over by a bus or struck down by a dangerous disease. If you withdraw from the courses for medical reasons, your university will likely adjust your transcript in some way that reflects that as well (e.g., deleting courses or marking them withdrawn) rather than simply leaving a bad ...


1

My advice in the short term is to separate your current research topic from your broader research interests. You can maintain a large set of research interests, and even take the initiative in reading papers on these topics, or exploring the area, even when your current research topic (optimization in lists) is not satisfying to you. Then, you can look out ...


1

An emplyer won’t necessarily be concerned with the topic of the thesis but how you functioned and completed it. Most employers look for capability and capacity...


1

This is hard to weigh without knowing more information about you, but it can be addressed in a general way. One of the biggest pieces of advice I give to undergrads is to develop a relationship with professors they hope to earn letters of recommendation from, including going out of their way to take extra classes/do extra work with them. Now that that ship ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible