An individual I know is in an interesting situation and I was just wondering what you guys thought about it.

This individual had an exam conflict and emailed the instructor to arrange an alternate exam time to get rid of this conflict. Meanwhile the rest of the class would be taking the exam for this course at a later time that day.

After the alternate exam was finished, this individual answered questions and provided specific topics regarding the exam by his peers who would be taking that course exam later that day.

Now this individual received an email from the instructor accusing him of leaking information and reported it to the academic misconduct board.

Now I was just wondering if this is truly a form of academic misconduct.

Just a few notes to add:

  • I have fellow peers who have done the exact same thing and not face a single threat of being reported to the academic board.
  • Is it not the instructor’s responsibility to prepare a different version of the exam for both the individual and rest of the class?
  • Furthermore, is it not also the university’s and/or the instructor’s responsibility to highlight the confidentiality of an alternate exam and notify the possible consequences? In all the rules and regulations, there are no clear cut rules for alternate exams or any offences that can take place.
  • Does this just come down to miscommunication and failure to provide reasonable notice?
  • From the rumours going around, the evidence gathered is a screenshot of a facebook conversation, is this even enough evidence?
  • And if so, would it not be a breach of privacy?

Thanks again and I would love to hear your thoughts about this.

Is it really good to receive a fully funded PhD offer from a top university without being interviewed?

The PhD research work is proposed by the University but the university is not funding. It has a tie up with a funding agency and this funding organization will fund the PhD and will not conduct any interview. Neither the interview will be taken by the university. There is direct selection.

I am confused whether to join or not. Please guide me.

The university is in Germany and I am from India. I have submitted the IELTS score as well. I have good Masters record and has a good and consistent academic profile throughout. Is this the reason that there is no interview?

I am applying for multiple economics PhD programs in the US (Harvard, Princeton, etc), and for MPhil (research master) programs in the UK (Oxford, Cambridge, LSE). for the academic year starting Sep-2017

I want to apply for scholarships as much as possible, but I’m slightly confused by how this works. I’ve read some stuff online, but I’d want to do a sanity check here at Stack Exchange to make sure I’ve got it right.

  • First of all, is it normal for US Graduate Schools to pay the complete tuition fee for PhD students? The Harvard website says: “Economic students receive full tuition and stipend support while they are enrolled and making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree.” I almost can’t believe this, since the US has a reputation here in Europe to have very high tuition fees. Do I understand correctly from this statement that Harvard Economics PhD students don’t have to pay any kind of fee to the university for the full 5 years, or am I missing something?

  • If the above is true, does it even make sense (and is it acceptable/normal) to still apply for extra-university-scholarships for those universities?

  • Third question: Since I’m applying to roughly 10 universities (in 3 countries), I don’t know yet where I will be studying. Is it advisable (and acceptable/normal) to already apply for as many scholarships as possible, even though I don’t even know yet where I’ll be studying?

  • Is it true that the optimal strategy for obtaining a scholarship is to go through websites like,, and apply for all scholarships for which you are eligible? Or would I be missing something?

I have had my PhD in mathematics for four and a half years now, completed two postdocs and found a tenure track job at a mostly teaching university. While I provide substantial background information below, my real, general question is:

How can I identify the causes of a decline in acceptance rate of my papers?


I had a fairly good research program in geometry and topology, with 5 papers in relatively good journals and an undergraduate research paper published over the course of two postdocs.

I then took a tenure track job with 33 teaching credits a year. While I have little time for new research, I had several papers ready for submission.

These new papers are better than previous papers of mine published in the same journals; not only do I (subjectively) consider them better, but they have received citations in preprint form, and I was invited to a give a talk based on a stranger reading one of them, neither of which happened with my earlier papers.

Possible reasons

I can think of a few possible reasons why these papers are not being published:

  1. They are just not up to shape, because I don’t have the time to focus on polishing them.

  2. The referees hate me. This may seem silly, but I am in a very specialized field, with only 3-4 people who have published more than one paper on the subject. One of these people have retired, and another openly said that he had been my referee before on more than one occasion, had rejected my largest paper, and said that he didn’t like the direction I was going with the research.

Also, I had a toxic relationship with my postdoc advisor, to the point where it came down to personal insults. They said that they were furious at my past letter of reference writer for recommending me, knowing I was a ‘bad egg’. Though we have since made up, I have heard reports from others about this advisor talking about me in a negative way. Also, none of the jobs I applied to with their letter of recommendation wrote me back, while 30-50% of the applications without his letter were replied to favorably, including my current job.

  1. Chance. The reviewers of the first papers happened to be interested in those topics, and the reviewers of the current papers have not been interested.


How do I tell what is really the issue? A few notes:

  • It’s very hard to do research with 33 credits of teaching, but all the work was done before I accepted this job.
  • The main paper (that was rejected by that referee) went through 5 revisions with the aid of an advisor before submission. I have revised and submitted to 3 or 4 other journals, one after another, incorporating each journals feedback into the new version and trying a weaker journal each time.

My goal is to just get these papers published; at my current institution, the publication of these two papers alone would be enough to satisfy all of the research requirement for tenure.

I received the decision letter for the manuscript I submitted to one of the top journal in the area of network security. The editor recommended the publication of article after minor revision but I disagree with few arguments made by a review and also highlighted by the editor in his own recommendation.
I know it is acceptable to disagree the reviewer’s comments but in my case editor also emphasized same argument which is made by the reviewer.
The reviewer and editor appreciated the performance evaluation we made in article but also asked for adding the simulation. Even though we already implemented the scheme in an automated protocol analysis tool, presented the results and discussed comprehensively.

I am a bit confused because at this stage I don’t want to miss the golden opportunity of publishing my work in a top notch journal. Maybe I am misunderstanding what exactly editor want to ask. I decided to write an email to editor but my colleague stopped me and said it will not give a positive impression.

What should be my next step?

  • Implement the protocol scheme in another tool (which in my opinion is strange thing)?
  • Submit a response with my revision that addresses the rest of the arguments and explains why I disagree with few comments (which might push our article for another cycle of revision or can be rejected)?
  • Send a personal email to the editor asking for clarification (which might make a poor impression on the editor)?
  • Something else?

I am taking a course this semester for an upper year undergraduate course in mathematics.

The course instructor had some experience of teaching lower year courses, and her performance in those courses has been noted as very good. This is her first time teaching an upper year course, her teaching style is minimalistic, instead leaving most of the questions (even the conceptually fundamental ones) to be solved by the students.

In this semester, she had made this course too difficult. There are many reasons, most of which I think surrounded the fact that she never reinforced any of the material she taught during the lectures and never had any checks in place to assess the class’s over all understanding. The homeworks where injected with some tangential, open research type problems, and there were two very difficult midterms that were a bit detached from what she taught during the lecture.

The course started with 120 students and now we are at about 30 students. We just had the final, which was very lengthy and probably will be harshly graded. We are probably expecting around 25 students to pass, based on class averages from the previous midterms.

This course does have a steep drop rate from the previous years. But by looking at the course report gathered by some student union from previous years, the course would always start with 120 and drops to something like 70. The lowest was 5 years ago when the course dropped to 50s.

What are the possible consequences for the professor in this case? She is an assistant professor.

Many graduate applications seem unclear to me about when in the application process I should submit an official transcript (e.g. Stanford and Michigan) while others only request one after they have made an offer (e.g. MIT). When I mentioned this to my advisor, she was surprised that anyone would ask for an official transcript before they made an admissions offer.

My question is whether it is standard to assume that I should send my official transcripts as soon as possible to schools that do not indicate when to send them, or whether I can safely wait to do so until they have made an offer.

Long story sort, I am a young undergraduate student (exact sciences) working on a project with one of my professors. I proposed the idea I had together with my references on him and fortunately he agreed to supervise my project, although it doesn’t quite fall under his research interests and expertise(half of the project).

It looks like the project-thesis is going to lead in one or more publications. At one of our meetings he offered me a PhD position after I graduate, after seeing I got some potential, I assume.

Unfortunately I acknowledge myself as a bad student, in the sense of the relationship between the professor and the student. The student is supposed to listen to the professor’s points and suggestions and ask for his recommendations-corrections etc.

I’m a bad listener, and quite impulsive, I have to admit. After he goes through my writings during the meeting and asks questions trying to understand I am constantly interrupting in order to explain myself.

Most of the time I know the material pretty well(I always provide a list of references at each meeting related to the work I’ve done the days before). I understand this may be perceived as me being arrogant and selfish. However this happens completely spontaneously as an attempt of defence;
(I’ve had a professor in the past constantly asking questions at me until I don’t have a complete reply or until it’s wrong. Then he would just brag I have no idea what I’m taking about.)

By no means I want to harm my relationship with my supervisor. I am certain a change of my behavior is needed, but have no idea how to proceed.

I would like to get a postdoc fellowship grant that is addressed to a specific department (in a particular top-tier university). Now I just need to get a professor there to accept to host me.

While I think that my chances of getting the funding are high, I’ve emailed a professor to ask whether I could work at his lab (with this funding), but got no response after an email a week ago.

I do believe that I’m a good match for the lab and a good candidate to get the fellowship, so… should I call/email this professor to follow-up? Otherwise, is it fine to just email another professor (in the same department)?