Can I be admitted to graduate school in a different field from my degree? Specific cases include:

  1. If I’ve taken plenty of advanced courses in field X in the process of completing a degree in another field, can I apply to graduate school in X?

  2. What if I haven’t taken many courses in X, but I have acquired a good grasp of X through self-study or working in a related field?

  3. What if I’ve never studied X, but I have done very well in an unrelated field? Could I be admitted to graduate school in X on the basis of general intellectual promise, and then make up the missing background after enrollment?

Note that this question is an attempt to provide a comprehensive answer, to avoid the need for a profusion of field-specific questions on this topic (see the associated meta question). Please feel free to edit the question or answer to improve them.

Good day, everybody!

I am a 3rd year university student and I have to write a 60 pages report about the transmission of radio waves throughout the environment.

This report should include some analysis about the radio waves, the way they function and some solutions for a better radio waves transmission for the telecommunications companies.

The biggest dilemma I have is about how I should write this paper without being accused of plagiarism. The way I see it, it is not like I can write something about the subject from myself; all that I can write about this has already been written and analysed and the only thing I can do is read some literature regarding the subject and just rephrase or cite the source.

Could you guys offer me some advice regarding this subject and maybe some literature I could read about radio waves and their transmission?

Thank you for your help!

Kind regards,

I am a postdoc in the humanities and I am drafting a funding application for a project envisaging the development of a research database. The project will last no more than 2-3 years and as a postdoc I am not supposed to stay at the host institution for longer.
The question is how to preserve the results of this work for posterity.
Luckily these days there are institutional and independent repositories, which allow me to store my complete dataset as a set of CSV files and in RDF/XML format with a well-documented ontology. This sounds sustainable.
But I also would like to offer a web-interface to the researchers so that the database could be consulted online. (The structure of my data is quite unique, which does not allow me to simply submit all my data to the online database of any large project working in my field.) I see it as a standard MySQL/PHP application, which I am planning to develop.
The question is what is the most sustainable strategy for hosting it. I have seen a number online research databases in my field, some costing a great deal of money to the funding authorities, which went offline after some years and are no-longer available. This includes both commercially hosted database (the worst option in my view, for someone has to pay eternally for hosting and domain name) and university-hosted databases. I understand that after I leave the host university (and I am just a postdoc), no one can guarantee that they will host the project website forever.
Besides the technologies for web development are changing fast and the web interface designed with current tools will become obsolete after some years.
What are the best practices for securing a lasting time-span for a small online research database, which does not have a strong lasting project behind it?

Scientific publishing absorbs a lot of money from the budgets of scientific organisations, either by publication fees or subscription fees, and many feel that the value added by the publisher is questionable (source). That money comes from funders such as NIH, NSF, the EC Framework Programme, national research councils and large charities (Wellcome, Gates). Why do such funders not close the circle and offer a not-for-profit mechanism for publication, either individually or collectively?

Many (most, I suspect) scientific societies operate journals, and some of these offer travel grants or small project grants for research with no restrictions on the submission of resulting papers to their own journals, so I don’t see how it could be a conflict-of-interest thing. Some universities do the same. I also see sites like PubMed Central and EuropePMC which are funded by research funders and act as repositories for full-text publications.

There are some suggestions of a move in this direction from the mathematics and physical sciences (link), although this would be run by the academic community, not the funders.

[edit] I forgot about this when writing the question, but PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases was started using a $1.1 million grant from the Gates Foundation, so this is a relatively high-profile example of a journal that was (at launch) directly funded by a grant-funding body. And I’d also forgotten that PLoS is explicitly non-profit, although they do use the income from some journals to help support the others financially so some individual journals might run at a profit.

I’m interested in a graduate program, and I’ve identified a topic and idea that I have in mind for research. However, the related papers have been co-authored by two professors in the same department, who also head the related research labs together, as well. I want to contact them about research opportunities.

How would I go about emailing them? What’s the right etiquette?

  • Email both of them individually
  • CC both of them in one intro email
  • Choose one of them and email only them

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

If a professor is scheduled to teach two hours, only one day a week, but instead he only teaches one hour, one day a week – in an extremely rushed manner – and tells his students he has to leave, is there anything that students can do about this behavior, if the professor continues in this way?

Let’s assume this professor also doesn’t post any supplementary notes at all, doesn’t require a textbook, doesn’t assign suggested background reading, but assigns a few hard homework problems per week.

Let’s also assume that he is tenured.

My question actually is complicated. A company provided me data for my thesis. They allowed me to use the data in my thesis. But I need get their permission if I want to publish my thesis. The thing is, my thesis can be googled at school’s database. So I am not sure if this means “publish.”

I thought I do not need to get their permission since my thesis is already online and everyone can download it. Therefore, I submitted the paper (not cover everything in my thesis) to a journal and get accepted.

Recently I found out that the company refuses to let the paper be published. So I want to withdraw my paper from the journal.

I am the first author of the paper, and another person is the second author. I am not sure if I can decide the withdraw thing or I should let the second author know first? Also, how should I email the editor?

In some interviews for industry positions, I have been asked about my prior (applied math) research experience and to go into detail about the models I have constructed. After I gave him a high-level overview, the interviewer asked that I send him the paper so he can see some minute details. The paper is published in a Springer journal and costs 39.95 to see without journal subscription. My questions are

  1. As the first author of the paper, am I legally allowed I send him a downloaded version of the paper over email?
  2. If not, am I legally allowed to send my personal copy of the manuscript (i.e. the version I submitted to Springer)?

N.B. the paper is not on the arXiv.