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

6

You would have to have something in your background and resume that appeals to someone like me, a tenured professor of CS (now retired, though). I have to say that, from what you say, I would be very skeptical. You would need to find some way to convince (people like) me that you actually have the skills, not just "certificates". The problem is that when ...


2

In theory, anyone can be admitted to a PhD program if they can convince the applicable faculty to let them in. Generally, this is done by having awesome research or research ideas already on the table. Are you ready for this level of work? Getting a PhD is not about memorizing a textbook and regurgitating its contents on a multiple-choice exam, but about ...


0

You should ask your advisor about funding. It's not weird to do so. Even if he has stable funding for you and your project, some amount of effort to win independent funding (even small amounts that 'frankly aren't worth the effort to apply') is a good idea. Learning how to write proposals and applications is valuable. Depending on your field it may be very ...


0

Things are in flux, but you have a right to plan your future with some confidence. I suggest the direct approach. Ask him if there is any funding risk and how to quantify it. If your advisor thinks there is any risk and advises you to seek funding, then you need to just do it. Even if you fail, but show diligence in the search you will probably be better off ...


0

Even in the best of times, which these are not, anything that attempts to go around the established admissions system is pretty much assured to be ignored. In particular, if ranking has been going on, based on normal application materials, nothing you say in an email is going to convince them to rank you over someone else. It would probably be considered ...


-1

Not ok. Columbia is in New York City, which is about to go through its worst week of the pandemic. Your profile says you're from Seoul. Do you just have no idea what's going on in NYC? Have some compassion and leave them alone for now. If, on the other hand, you can donate supplies or help volunteer remotely, with things like coding or data analysis, to ...


0

I think David's comment sums it up well: Emailing the admissions office will almost certainly do nothing. Emailing a professor you'd like to work with could be useful[.] Regardless, emailing is a complete shot in the dark -- the more likely possibility is your email is ignored. But it depends on how you write the email, and how impressive the additional ...


-1

Here is what I used to tell students assembled for commencement: "When the President of the University confers upon you your new degree, she will confer all the "rights, privileges, and responsibilities appurtaining thereunto." Don't let that go unto your head. You have almost no new rights nor privileges; you may add the initials of your degree after your ...


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, ...


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 ...


0

If you're planning to apply to graduate school in the next year or two and already have any ideas of prospective advisors you'd like to work with, I'd recommend reaching out to them by email to introduce yourself, tell them why you'd like to work with them, and ask whether they have any idea yet about how they will weight this when considering applicants. ...


4

The class in question is a not a major or graduation requirement Assuming you want to go to graduate school in a topic closely related to your major, taking one unrelated course pass/fail will not matter under normal circumstances. It will matter even less because everybody knows students are being encouraged to take classes pass/fail during the pandemic.


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.


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 ...


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. ...


2

Contrary to other answers I am not sure whether the university actually intends to act as badly for you as this letter looks. You where supposed to start in the middle of April and that is not going to happen. The university also doesn't know right now whether you could start in the middle of June instead or whether the situation will last for years so they ...


-3

Going forward, I would advise that you simply choose your gender status as non-binary or choose the “prefer not to say” option on applications. Academic institutions are moving towards a model of racial and gender equity in programs and unfortunately that means that you might not be considered as valuable to the program because of your sexual orientation, ...


-1

It depends on your local laws of course, but if it can be proven that you were discriminated against because of your gender, there's a good chance it was unlawful. Related question I asked on the Law StackExchange. The law cited is for Australia, and the relevant section is Section 21, which explicitly prohibits "educational authorities" from refusing or ...


-2

They rescinded your job offer. Offer letters are not legally binding in the US. You don't have a job anymore and there's nothing you can do about it unless you can convince the PI to hire you. Also the PI is a genuinely shitty person for bailing on you and they're not gonna be less shitty in the future so I would not work for this person. (Obligatory ...


10

It is possible you were unfairly rejected. This is not really possible to prove one way or the other, from the information in your post. Unrelated to that, however, your post shows a lack of understanding for the standard justifications of affirmative action, and why admissions committees sometimes may try to improve the gender balance of their decisions. I ...


2

The is a degree of randomness to these processes and factors that are unknown or not described in your post. Think of any logistic regression model that you might have seen. Some proportion of those predicted to be 1 actually are 0 and vice versa. It could be due to an excluded variable but it could be random. Are you both proposing to work with the same ...


14

I have had people I know who are senior mathematicians tell me in private conversation that they believe it is right and proper to discriminate in favor of females in mathematics in things like graduate admissions and job hiring. In some cases they essentially admitted (in a circumspect, plausibly-deniable sort of way) to practicing this kind of ...


-3

Discrimination is when an under-represented group is excluded from an opportunity. Nearly everyone agrees that is unfair. Affirmative action is when an over-represented group is excluded from an opportunity. This is your situation. Some people think that affirmative action creates justice because it compensates for unfair discrimination by resulting in a ...


6

The comparison you make is quite compelling, insofar as you both went to the same school, and have conducted similar tests/classes in your respective CVs, and there is no aspect (that you have mentioned) where her record is stronger than yours. I would recommend you take a careful look to see if there are any aspects of your girlfriend's CV that are ...


1

My personal take is to try to salvage something from this situation. I think, and as others answers here conveyed, that the university simply won't pay you right now if it can't. I would reply saying I understand the touch circumstances and their need to postpone the start of your employment. Suggest to postpone your start-date in the contract to June so ...


3

Surely this is a case of force majeure. The university made the offer in good faith but circumstances outside its control mean it cannot proceed with this offer. America, like many other countries, has closed its borders. If you are an American citizen, you have an absolute right of return if you can find a ship or a plane to take you there. America is ...


17

This is not a forum for discussing legal questions, and in any case it seems to me that to try to pursue the matter through legal means would lead you down a rabbit hole from which your academic career would never emerge in one piece. As others have said in the comments, a postdoc position obtained through legal coercion is not one worth having. Since you ...


27

A signed offer letter is normally a valid contract. Usually it is the only contract document. Only someone who has read the offer letter can give you a perfect answer to this question. They have announced their intention to break the contract. That is illegal unless the offer letter says otherwise. Moving on is probably your best option. There are ...


4

They seem to claim that they aren't obligated, but that may not be a valid claim. But only a (local) lawyer can answer definitively. It might be worth pressing them outside the legal system, pointing to the letter. But a signed offer letter may be considered differently from a signed contract. There might be some emergency legislation that permits this or ...


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 ...


1

This diploma is a high school diploma with a focus on chemistry and industrial processes. As a "technological" baccalauréat it is designed for people who would like to continue with short-length studies (such as a trade school or something similar). It is not a university diploma. Do not be confused by the name: it is not related to a "bachelor", which ...


1

Adding this datapoint, which I interpret as saying the answer is yes, with caveats. Press release by the Dean of Students of the National University of Singapore When such offences are committed, the NUS Board of Discipline, which comprises student and faculty representatives, will also conduct its own disciplinary proceedings. It will consider ...


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