42 votes
Accepted

How to handle 2 years hiatus after PhD?

Universities are often very aware of the equity issues facing academics (usually women) who have career gaps due to family responsibilities such as maternity leave. A two-year hiatus is not ideal, but ...
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  • 5,856
31 votes

Feeling bad about taking time off

Firstly, you are certainly not alone in feeling like you are missing out on work. In the competitive world of academia, everyone feels this way at some point or another, though it is rarely because ...
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  • 18.7k
17 votes

My co-authors want to remove my name from manuscript because I am "not in science anymore," how to correct this?

Authorship wars are common and they suck. I suggest you discuss your plans to reach out to the journal editor with the primary PI, maybe they can change their mind. I don't know what being in science ...
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  • 511
16 votes

I feel burned out after finishing my master. Should I take year off before the PhD?

I would definitely advise taking a year off if you indeed feel as you've described. Burnouts are common and costly, and you might want to prevent one at all costs. There is nothing wrong with taking a ...
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  • 161
13 votes

How to start an academic career after 5-6 years in industry, without an undergraduate degree?

As a current PhD student, my advice is to first ask yourself several questions before you decide that you want to apply to do a PhD. First, why do you want to apply for a PhD program? For some, the ...
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13 votes

How can I obtain an academic reference, if I have been out of college for a very long time?

Your situation now is very similar to my situation in 2001. I got all my references from colleagues who knew my recent work. Fortunately, I had been doing research-like work, except in an environment ...
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12 votes

Possible for ABD (all but dissertation) to return?

tl;dr: it depends We had two students who were AWOL for many years while ABD and tried to submit: The first student had delayed writing for a decade or so due to family commitments but kept in ...
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  • 39.8k
12 votes

Possible for ABD (all but dissertation) to return?

ABD isn't usually thought of as a final status. Most people don't leave their university ABD. Most people spend a couple of years in the program, having passed quals, taken all the classes, and ...
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  • 48.1k
12 votes

Feeling bad about taking time off

I came to my PhD from a job where weekend work was all but impossible (no remote access to the systems I needed) so it was quite a shock having to decide to switch off. That's going to be harder these ...
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  • 7,672
11 votes
Accepted

Is pursuing a second PhD in the same or related field a viable means of returning to academia after a decade in industry?

In order to return to academia, you will need to satisfy certain requirements. Most academic jobs require holding a Ph.D. in the relevant field. You already have one. A second Ph.D. won't help you ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Is it alright to be out of academia for a while before applying for academic or research-only positions?

In modern dynamic society it is next to impossible to predict what happens with education systems, universities, and job market in 20 years time. Also, the success in finding an academic job depends ...
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10 votes

Is it generally accepted to take months off (unpaid) during a PhD?

This is almost completely dependent on two things: Your departmental policies and program structure Your advisor In the US, most programs (all of the ones I'm personally aware of) work on a 9-month ...
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  • 21.1k
10 votes

Feeling bad about taking time off

There's mountains of evidence (research, studies, documented cases of overwork, expert interviews/articles, etc.) to suggest that overworking leads to disastrous results (we've seen that even more in ...
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  • 201
9 votes
Accepted

In U.S. universities, do male professors get paternity leave?

The answer varies wildly across university to university, even within the same class of university. This can go from the mandatory FMLA minimum of 12 weeks (unpaid) to 12 months, with some pay. I've ...
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  • 4,662
8 votes

How to pursue graduate admissions in mathematics seven years after a humanities undergrad degree?

To get admitted to a graduate program in math, although work experience may suggest greater maturity, etc., the issues will be letters of recommendation and documentable standard-material background (...
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8 votes

How can I obtain an academic reference, if I have been out of college for a very long time?

I was recently in a similar situation. Although my time away from academia was somewhat shorter than yours (10-15 years), and even though some of my professors were still active in research, I did ...
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  • 2,359
8 votes

Applying for a PhD after taking a year off

I am in an academic field -- mathematics -- which must have one of the highest rates of "going straight through" of any academic field. E.g. in mathematics it is quite common to get your PhD before ...
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8 votes

Taking year off after PhD and focus on research? Does it look bad?

This sounds like an incredibly poor decision to me: the job market in the humanities is very bad, even compared to the rest of academia, and very "lumpy." There are relatively few jobs, and they ...
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  • 21.3k
8 votes

Is it generally accepted to take months off (unpaid) during a PhD?

In at least some (and perhaps many) European countries you're an employee for the duration of your Phd. This makes it quite hard to get unpaid leave. Sometimes there are allowances for a sabbatical, ...
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  • 3,536
8 votes

Feeling bad about taking time off

Normally I'll also work on weekends to keep the momentum going Simple answer - do not do it. Weekends are for the rest and free time, during these days just forget about your work activities - hang ...
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7 votes

Is pursuing a second PhD in the same or related field a viable means of returning to academia after a decade in industry?

I think it will be very difficult -- perhaps prohibitively difficult -- to get a PhD in mathematics (or mathematical physics, which is all but mathematics) in the US given that you already have a PhD ...
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7 votes

Will working after bachelors reduce my chances of getting into a PhD program?

When I started my PhD the majority of my fellow students had spent time working before they started. Some of them had been in full time employment for years (I believe the most was 7 years). As ...
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7 votes

Is it alright to be out of academia for a while before applying for academic or research-only positions?

I entered a computer science PhD program over 25 years after my last formal education. Although I retired after completing the PhD at age 60, I did get contacts from recruiters suggesting I would have ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Explaining Temporary Voluntary or Medical Leave from Prestigious PhD on CV?

I recommend you list your PhD studies on your CV. Industry is full of people who have left a PhD program for one reason or another! It's also unlikely anyone will look down on you for your poor grades ...
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  • 11.5k
7 votes

Are gap semesters frowned upon in graduate school applications? Should I explain mental health situation that led to the gap?

I'm going to give a slightly different advice from the previous answers. I don't want to counsel dishonesty here, but I think it would be very unwise to write anything in your personal statement that ...
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  • 21.3k
7 votes

Telling letter writers who already submitted that I am not applying to graduate school

I had neglected to research the PhD students recently admitted to the programs to which I have applied. Please don't compare yourself to others. There are other, more productive comparisons to make, ...
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  • 38.6k
7 votes

How bad is it to decline the NSF graduate fellowship?

There are no consequences to you if you decline the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. You did waste the reviewers' time. If you get the fellowship and do not get into your first choice PhD program, ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Applying to graduate school in an unrelated field after a year working in unrelated job?

In terms of "logistics," I would try to get one recommendation from a Computer Science professor, one from a language professor, and maybe one from an East Asian Studies professor (if not, then find ...
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  • 5,336

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