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.

New answers tagged

1

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 ...


11

I would just reply that you thank him for his interest but that it isn't possible to work together at this time. But suggest that you would be honored/happy to stay in contact for the future if your fields of interest intersect. Over the long run you want to build up a set of contacts like this and you have an opportunity to start it. He might be a future ...


3

First, tell no lies. Second, thank the professor for their vote of confidence in your ability. Be gracious. If you are accepting a placement with another advisor or at another institution then say so. You need not provide any reasons justifying your decision. Simply be polite and state the bare minimum required to convey your situation. If you have ...


1

Well, he wanted to have you and is trying to find out whether there is any condition that he may change to convince you otherwise (e.g. pay, conditions or something else). If there isn't way to convince you, then you can simply make clear that you made up your mind to pursue some other option, and, if you wish to be more specific, you could say what you ...


1

This is an absurd claim! I am an international student who has got acceptance from 5 US Ph.D. programs. I have my friends who are doing their Ph.D. in top US schools. There are lots of international students in all the US universities! Don't listen to that guy, make a good profile and apply. Good luck.


5

Under the circumstances, I would not worry about whether you are working "enough". Indeed, under these circumstances, many universities (in the US, anyway) are presuming that many students and faculty are unable to work effectively. For example, many universities have either changed all grades to pass/fail for the term (see here), or else are allowing ...


12

Yes, you should raise this issue, both with the advisor and with the university administration. Students need some feedback on their work and it is the university's responsibility to provide a way for that to happen. They need to provide the channels and you need to find a way to use them. But things are in a bit of chaos now, of course, and effective ...


0

It would be better to have the publications than to not have them. So if that is your question, duh, yes. They do matter. Of course, your overall application contains various elements: grades, test scores, LORs, other accomplishments (papers, etc.). As to whether you're a good/bad candidate to get accepted, hard to say, when you only describe one ...


0

Having publications is a plus, but so are other things. You are asking about three extremely competitive institutions and they get a lot of applications from a lot of highly qualified candidates. Most of them have many positive elements to their applications. It is impossible to say where you would be judged in relation to this group. However, decisions in ...


1

In most of the cases, we overrate or underrate the performance and if it is the latter, we are sometimes held accountable that we have jeopardized their opportunities. Personally, I think that a good approach here is not to write a recommendation letter unless you are comfortable showing it to the student. Unless there is some strict restriction to the ...


3

If not explicitly forbidden by other stipulations this can indeed be perfectly acceptable and in your interest. However, my recommendation is to tread carefully. For example, doing so might be frowned upon by the department because they need TAs which can lose you significant goodwill. Or your supervisor disapproves because they think you are refusing an ...


7

Turning down a teaching assistant position in your position is probably a very poor idea. The renumeration for working as a TA normally covers both the a stipend and your graduate tuition. If you do not have some other form of support (research assistantship or fellowship), you will have to pay your own way entirely. This is normally financially ...


0

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that the overall enrollment picture for undergraduate education was only mildly effected by the 2008 recession. However, many of those students chose community colleges rather than traditional four year colleges. This might suggest a downward pressure on doctoral admissions as there might be a lesser ...


2

Some online bioinformatics resources that I can recommend: Bioinformatics ALgorithms Rosalind bioinformatics problems The Biostar Handbook


1

There's a ton of useful abandoned or semi-abandoned R and python packages related to my work, and I'm sure you can find some that are related to your science. What I've been arranging for people like you is to take over maintaining something, with the goal to build a full test package, put together a CI pipe, and make it easier and more robust for users. ...


1

I actually see that you need to revaluate your Priorities about the so called Top 10 Universities. I now see that the so called Top Schools are just Ranking Junkies. Apply to lesser Known Schools in the USA Canada or Europe because the Top Schools attract too many Applicants for just 1000 Spots. In 2002 Harvard Attracted 22.000 Applicants and now in 2020 ...


1

This is really a question you should pose to an accountant since there are a fair number of conditions here that affect whether you owe any taxes. Stipends are, generally, not considered wages, in which case you wouldn't pay Social Security or Medicare taxes. However, they are usually considered taxable income, so you would need to pay federal income tax. ...


0

I am a first year PhD at UofH. I had these questions as well when staring out my applications. I had a list of 10 universities that I wanted to apply to. The lowest ranked school was UH. Do you know why I had UH on the list? Because there was a professor that I wanted to work with who was doing research in exactly what I wanted. Do you know how many schools ...


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 ...


1

Wondering with all the travel bans and people leaving cities if previously filled places might become available this year in the US? Obviously universities are in disarray so don't want to bother them at this time....Just wondering if there's any scope to start this year as now I have no work. Any ideas if this is feasible? It sounds very unlikely. It is ...


4

It is fine to ask. Life goes on as best we can manage. The situation is worldwide, of course, and we don't yet see the end of it. In a letter, you could, if you wish, say you are sorry if the request is coming at a bad time and that you understand the global situation. You may not be able to get a reply in time, of course, or at all. But there is no ...


0

Don't claim supervision nor volunteering without an agreement. (I'd consider that lying on your CV.) Your work was conducted as a hobby or as professional development or ..., which don't easily fit on a CV and their presentation will depend on the position you're applying for. E.g., for an academic appointment, you could include this information in a ...


1

Advisors are not expected to be perfect but they are expected to do their job. Yours doesn't, he's endangering your PhD and his institution (probably his career too but that's not the point). Is this a typical scenario? No. Sure, some researchers are disorganized, have a messy office and/or hard drive, it's quite common. Some advisors are also known to ...


7

Probably no burned bridges. Like everyone else (especially now) they are busy and just focused on the essential things they need to do to keep everything else together. In normal times you might have gotten a few more replies, but not from everyone. They just say to themselves "oh well" and move on to the next crisis. I suspect that even those who haven't ...


0

Actually it doesn't need to be either-or. Make it both. But don't do it in two parts. Weave it together if at all possible. But another reason this is happening is that they want to know something about you as a person and as a potential colleague. How do you present yourself. Are you formal? Pedantic? Friendly? Lots of things. Along with that, they want ...


1

Yes, you should create some slides. You have 4 situations which you can order along two dimensions: You are either expected to show slides or you are not, and you can either make slides or you can not. If you are expected to show slides and you do make them, happy days. If you are expected to show slides and do not make them, you fall short of their ...


1

An interview is your chance to demonstrate your skills and convince your prospective PI (as well as the rest of the panel) that you are the best candidate for the role. Your knowledge of the subject is very important, of course. But so are your technical skills required to prepare publications and presentations for various audiences. Your prospective PI may ...


1

If you are thinking of doing anything really important to your career using Power Point, I urge you first to read Edward Tufte's article "The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint". The issue with slides is that your audience look at them and do not listen to you. That is a big problem if the whole point of the presentation is supposed to be about how YOU will ...


1

My advice is to do most of the interview as a live video (camera, mike on you). But do go ahead and make a slide or two that shows some effort to think about the specific posting (or at least the lab group/PI) and your initial work plan related to the postdoc job. I would position this as "initial thinking" and move the discussion naturally into a ...


1

This could depend a bit on the field, of course. But I find powerpoint to be mostly very badly used. Someone once described the typical PP deck as the speaker's notes that shouldn't be shown to the audience. If that is what you tend to do - show a slide and then just repeat a longer form of that orally, then I wouldn't bother. There are some people who are ...


0

Exhaust any opportunity/possibility of just getting done in A before moving to B. Once you have the Ph.D., you can use it on whatever (even chemists doing engineering or physics, if they can get it done...i.e. much bigger changes of field than within parts of CompSci.) Don't just take the dictates of your advisor as the last word. Push, argue, fight, ...


0

Your profile does not say, where you are from. I suppose there are still areas on the globe, where academic titles matter. However, this is certainly not the case where I live. So, in order to provide useful answers, we need to obtain detailed informations. I still don't understand your motivation! If you don't like working in field A, why do you consider ...


1

This question is a year old, but it matched my own experience enough (including the specialization in algebraic topology) that I felt obliged to comment. Getting an academic math position is a crapshoot under the best of conditions. The field is glutted with other highly competent applicants (pretty much everyone going into pure math does so with the ...


0

It depends where you work. If you have a lot of original creative thinking you can meet research requirements easily if you don't work for a lab. Labs have routine grunt work that has to get done.


1

I would probably follow roughly the following steps: Read the conference paper thoroughly, and decide how it relates to your paper. This part is regardless of the details of who published first; it is just a matter of knowing the facts, and clearly figuring out what their work is about, how it overlaps with yours, and to what extent the results are the same ...


1

I would be fine to ask. Thank them for their interest. Ask about the current status. Ask whether there is anything they still need from you. Three weeks is about right. If there is a problem then it is time for you to know.


0

I think you should not bother mentioning the first (unfunded) PhD program. From your post (emphasis added): After a failure of communication, I turned down other funded offers to accept an unfunded PhD. I had some money saved and tried it out anyway, but after one month quit and went with a previous offer (after telling them I'd made a bad decision)! ...


0

While it is a bit of a grey area, I'd suggest that it isn't necessary to do so as it hasn't contributed to your qualifications for the future. You need to be able to give an explanation for the gap if asked, of course. But not everyone's education trajectory is a smooth and unbroken upward curve and people understand that. As people we aren't perfect and ...


17

Context: I have had candidates in similar situations apply to positions I offered in the past. It's certainly possible - you are not a slave to your current group, and there is no law that says that we cannot hire people who have already started (and quit) a PhD elsewhere. However, in practice, applicants in your situation raise an interesting question for ...


1

It depends a lot on which university you apply at and what the new supervisor thinks about it. In most cases you would be asked if you have been enrolled in a Ph.D. program before, wether you finished it or not and if not, why you dropped out. In many cases it would be up to the new supervisor to make the decision. It's generally not seen as something ...


4

Unlike some other countries, in the UK the supervisors do not have a lot of say in questions related to admissions and funding. Admissions are subject to university rules and these rules are rarely flexible, even if your potential supervisor really strongly supports your application. A student who does not meet minimal requirements is unlikely to be admitted ...


0

I am a Ph.D. Student in Bioinformatics with a previous background in Computer Science. Everything is going computer-based in today and near-future world. Even wet lab stuff going online/cloud and becoming yet another type of coding. Knowledge is cheap and interdisciplinary endeavours are the key to the future. The title of degrees is not as relevant as what ...


-2

Stop chasing topics and simply put down everything into thesis. Your advisor is very likely could lose interest in you too, so in 1-to-1 situations you will be the losing side. Because you need him more then he needs you. Push for thesis faster to get to your Postdoc. Then you will be able to switch to the new subjects your advisor is not able to convey for ...


2

How to complete PhD? Work on that extra idea/topic you want to finish up your Ph.D. with independently, or together/with the help of someone who's not your advisor. This is: Allowed. Legitimate. Often looked favorably upon. That's not to say your advisor will necessarily like it - he might and he might not - but you can always try and present it as the ...


9

While I generally agree with the advice given by the answers here (just finish the damn PhD and then go on doing something else, possibly working with someone who you think is thinking more like you), I think the answers here are sweet-talking an often overlooked, very problematic and sad fact in modern academia: Some big-shot PIs have an obviously unsound (...


0

Because the PhD is a research degree, admissions committees want to see from your application that you'll be able to be successful in research. This is easily demonstrated through prior research experience, which many students get while completing a Master's thesis. There are other ways to get research experience for people with a Bachelor's degree. If your ...


1

You talk about a lot of work related nonsense, which I agree are difficult situations, but they are by no means unheard of (or even uncommon...) in academia. It seems that your main issue is really a lack of a mental health support structure (be it friends, therapy, etc.), because it sounds like you have had to suffer through a lot of issues both in your ...


4

Actually there is no stigma. What you have is feelings of failure. Stigma is something imposed on you by others and you have found a group that doesn't feel that way. It is time to feel good, not bad. Bad things have happened to you. You were put in unfortunate circumstances. Hopefully you have escaped them. Look to the future, not the past. If you ...


6

First things first, if you have suicidal thought, then you need help. The fact that you tried one psychoanalyst, and that did not work for you, does not mean that the entire mental healthcare system is useless for you. Finding a therapist and a therapy that works for you can be long process of trial and error. Don't give up. As to your question: You can't ...


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 ...


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