I am an undergraduate student of a fairly small university (around 8,000 undergrads) and I’m not getting any response from my Department chair when I ask for some help with changing around my classes. Currently, for next semester, I’m registered in a specific class at a certain time (we can call this class A) and I want to move to a different time slot of that same class (class B).

My major is an applied science and so there aren’t too many students who require the chair’s attention. At first, I was polite in emailing him. I said something along the lines of…

“Hi Dr. blah blah

My name is blah blah and I’ve run into a bit of snag with my schedule next semester and I am unable to take class A because of the time it is offered, can you switch me out of Class A and into class B?


I understand that he is a very busy guy, especially around this time of the semester but c’mon. It’s been 3 weeks since I first reached out to him and I’ve sent 1 email per week. How do I get his attention and also be polite about it, even though it’s really beginning to frustrate me?

P.S. I have tried to catch him in his office hours to no avail.
P.S.S first time asking a question on here – any helpful criticism regarding the way it was asked is appreciated as well.

Like the title said, I’m applying for faculty positions. I am finishing a 3 year post-doc. I have strong support from my post-doc advisor and other profs we collaborated with. I have no problem getting three solid references. I’ve always struggled with my PhD advisor though. He was once important in the field, but he rarely publishes peer-reviewed research lately. I actually got my post-doc without his letter.

I’m considering applying without his letter to faculty positions. Anybody have similar experiences or advice? I’m baffled by my problems with my PhD advisor. I actually did publish with him, and even won awards.

I have been working for a year and a half in a lab doing research in applied computer science. Ever since I was a kid I had dreamed with being part of a lab and do research. However, I have now experienced what I believe a great majority of research is like. Particularly, I feel that everything is about funding and the “publish or perish” thing. It seems to me that the scientific community is too influenced by doing what funding organizations conceive as favorable just to get more points from evaluation committees to eventually obtain more funding. I get the feeling that this situation only degrades the quality of the research performed, and eventually, the reputation of the authors, while also keeping researchers completely focused on hot topics (e.g. big data before, now neural networks) instead of what their curiosity leads them to.

These reasons have motivated me to believe that maybe academic research is not for me, and that I might should try to move to private and applied research (such as working in research departments at private companies). My impression on private research is (also based on some articles I read, in particular “The effect of government contracting on academic research: Does the source of funding affect scientific output?” Goldfarb, 2005) that the goals are oriented to get results (i.e. carrying out the actual research), whereas in academic research the only goal is to get the article published (and thus spending eventually more time on writing the article and/or applying for grant calls than on real research).

Is this just my impression? Are all labs like mine? Is applied research in private companies the way I am picturing it in my mind?

Thank you for your time!

(Remark) I have managed to get an article published in a good Q1 journal, so it is not about internal presure from the advisor, nor bad relationships with the team – I actually feel very confident and have good relationships with everyone

This was a few years ago now. My PhD program had two exams. The first I passed with high marks the second I failed.

I did not really know who to talk with about this. It is common in my program for people taking their exams to fail on the first attempt. However, the nature of the way this news was conveyed by the graduate program director and other passive aggressive tenancies by another closely related senior member, really shook my confidence.

Unfortunately, I did not recover and ended up switching departments and programs, which has cost me time and money. I won’t blame my failures on this professor, though I believe he seems to have abused his power in order to act out a personal vendetta.

Here is the email:


I just received the results of the XXXX comprehensive exam
in XXXX. I will follow up with a more formal
letter shortly, but I wanted you to know the basic results as soon as

I’m pleased to relay that you received a Fail.

This is disappointing news. With my formal memo, I will be sending
feedback on individual questions to assist you with further study.

Best regards,

Some additional information:

  1. I contacted other students in the program which had failed during this same period of time and none of them received a letter that looked like mine.
  2. I have a psychologically diagnosed reading disability. I requested additional time to prepare for the retake exam. The request was not honored.
  3. The retake exam was required to be taken physically in front of the other professor who had jeered at me when I requested insight into why I had failed the first exam.
  4. I am frustrated with the situation and would like some kind of “pay-back” or at least an apology.

So here are my questions:

  1. Is there any legal recourse available at this time?
  2. I have a fairly popular blog (30k hits per month). Is a violation of a moral or academic code to publish this official email from the professor?

This question already has an answer here:

In the UK students often say they are “studying” a topic (e.g., “I am studying computer science at University of X”) but once in a while I also hear students say they are “reading” a topic (e.g., “I am reading sociology”). The latter I’ve only heard said in the context of social sciences.

Is there a difference between reading and studying a topic?

Having fallen in love with learning and academia I have set my sights on a Masters in Philosophy specializing in banking and finance.

As part of the application process I am required to submit a research proposal. I am curious as to what makes a great research proposal and how can I find the right ideas.

I have been told to access journals of finance, go through literatures and find an unanswered question. However this feels like finding a pin in a stack of hay.

I would like to know how this community of academics have found their research proposals. Any hints to guide me in this wonderful journey is also highly appreciated.

Usually journals and magazines publish complete papers alongside thorough experiments and results. However, some studies are intrinsically theoretical/conceptual. Based on my experience, there are very few journals that publish such research papers. For example, Emerald publishing’ journals introduced a specific type of paper, Conceptual paper but this is not the case for most of prestigious journals.

So, the question is where to publish such a paper and is there any rigorous guidelines to sell such papers to the editors?

My field is computer science – data mining.