I am drafting my SOP and I am at the part where I am calling out labs that I am interested in. I followed the suggestions on the web and reached out to PIs with some success. I have a few instances where the lab seemed like a good fit but they do not have funding or I heard nothing back so I am not sure what the funding situation is.

Is it smart to list PIs like these in my statement of purpose I know student to PI match is a key factor in terms of admission. If I pick a PI with no space, my app goes in the trash right away. I want a good fit but I also want admission. Do you follow the funding or what?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

I’ve been asked to collaborate in an edited book that will collect important contributions to the field X, in the humanities/Social Sciences. The volume will be published in French, so I was asked to translate the work (an article) of an authority in the field from English to French. Given that this takes time, I wonder whether there is any value in doing this? Will this look good on a CV? Or is it just a “service”?

I am a second semester PhD student. I have no publications until now. In the lab I am currently, we use some sort of academic journal to keep track of our progress. Due to classes and TA workload I did not make research progress for two weeks. When I saw my advisor I had not properly structured my journal update. To make things worse when he asked me how much time I did spend on non research activities I was unable to answer as I did not keep track of time.

This discussion ended up with my advisor saying that he might have to convert me to a master’s student if I progress like that. He fears I may not be able to make any research progress within the semester with the current rate. He mentioned this warning will be given only once. He said that I should have adapted to the lab’s pace until now.

I recognize that my progress was not appropriate, neither was the way to report this through the journal. However I felt that the threat of being converted to a master student is something I really want to avoid.

Therefore I want to try really hard as my goal is the PhD.
However doubts have clouded my head and I felt I may also have a collaboration issue. I may need to look for another advisor too, although i still believe that if I don’t improve something like that may happen again regardless of advisor.

I believe my advisor is a really good and experienced scientist and I respect him, although he can be harsh at times, but:

  • He has converted other PhD students to Master status in the past (at
    least twice).
  • Also he is very busy and it is not possible for him to discuss research with me for more than 20 minutes per week . (Although some weeks he does not have time at all.)

  • Other students of the lab manage to make appropriate progress but most of them seem quite dissatisfied in general.

  • Another thing I did not like, is that my advisor encouraged some students to publish survey papers. However afterwards he mentioned that they can not yet graduate as the 6 papers he wants us to publish can only be research related and not surveys.

I don’t know if these are standard behaviours but all these issues make me very upset.

In this post I tried to give both my failings and my worries.
I know some of the things mentioned are not my business but I fear they might also happen to me in the future.

What are your suggestions for my situation?

Should I ignore all these and just try harder or should I change my course of action? Or do both?

Graduate applications consist of a number of components, such as a statement of purpose, a transcript, letters of recommendation, etc. In what order are these components reviewed? Of course I don’t expect all institutions to follow the same order. Those that have GPA or test score cutoffs, whether they are official or unofficial, will obviously first go through the GPA and test scores of the applications.

I think many people would like to know the answer to this general question, though the reason I am asking this is because when writing my statement of purpose (SOP), I don’t know if it would be best to assume that all of my other application material has been reviewed. If all of my other application components have been reviewed, then I could save time in my SOP by just referencing those other parts.

If it helps, the specific field I’m interested in is theoretical nuclear physics.

EDIT: I see that this question has already been voted to be closed twice. I suspect this is because some people think it’s obvious that there is no specific order. If this is so, I urge those people to post an answer outlining their specific knowledge of the/a graduate admissions process. It is clearly not obvious to me that there is no specific order that the bulk of universities follow.

As a professor, are you permitted to prohibit Ph.D. students from joining your research group if you know they have a boy/girlfriend, are married, don’t come in on weekends, who don’t stay late, etc…?

The professor does not intend to make them work on stuff related to his/her research outside of normal working hours. Rather, the supervisor would like their students to be driven enough to study/read publications and books about topics outside their particular research program during those times.

That way, supposedly, by the time they graduate, they will be very well rounded, and also develop their own research programs in meaningful ways.

Since I observe this behavior with a certain professor I know at a US university, I was wondering if that professor is liable for legal charges, which I could bring up to the dean.

One way I hear about how he “weeds” out the normal people is by telling them how much work it takes to succeed, and gives examples of previous “successful” students, and what their lifestyles were. I suppose he says something like: “this is how much you know from being an undergrad, this is how much you need to know to succeed in this field, here is a humongous list of topics you should know before you can competently do research with me, come back to me when you’re ready.” But I don’t think that’s all he does…. I think he intimidates prospective advisees with his demeanor, and so this fact along with his reputation leads to him select students who work day and night everyday.

Am I allowed to sort data in tables?

Say in my notebook, I recorded the following:

Distance (cm)    Time (s)
± 0.01 cm        ± 0.02 s

100.00           10.00
  0.00            0.00
 10.00            1.00
 50.00            5.00
 25.00            2.50

Can I sort the data (for a formal report) into the following?

Distance (cm)    Time (s)
± 0.01 cm        ± 0.02 s

  0.00            0.00
 10.00            1.00
 25.00            2.50
 50.00            5.00
100.00           10.00

I haven’t modified the data, but only the order in which they were taken, therefore, I think I am allowed.

I got my Ph.D. in Chemistry in an eastern European country in 2008. The same year I got a lecturer assistant position in a university in the same country.

Working there, I got promoted, first to lecturer (2010), then to assistant professor (2012).

From 2012 I started thinking about moving to another country: academic salaries are quite low and the political situation became very unstable. I even started to send my CV to several positions, and there was one offer. But due to some management changes, I became a department head at the end of 2012, so I refused the proposal and stayed in the university. A year ago I became an institute head inside the university.

Every year from 2012, I thought that it’s not the best year to leave my position because my resignation would put my department/institute into a difficult position. There is no open job market for academic positions in our country (due to the ridiculous salaries) and it would be difficult to find a replacement for a head of an institute in our city.

I can’t say that the management position is very unpleasant for me, but I feel that I’m not a good fit, and I would prefer to stay in an assistant professor / professor position. Today I feel that the bureaucracy takes over and I can’t get time to do research or to teach. When I raise these concerns with the management of our university, I get a response, like “When did life ever run smooth? You need to concentrate, and you would be OK. Now, take this new project.

Moreover, I can’t openly submit my requests to positions in other universities I like, because it will require me to provide a set of recommendation letters. All colleagues who know me well and who can give me such a letter would be VERY surprised when they will find out, that I want to change my occupation. The sphere of chemistry academia in our country is very small, everyone knows everyone.

So, what should I do next?

  1. Should I try to make an open statement to the university head
    that I think the position is not for me and I want to leave? It
    would be a very tough conversation, I would become a “lame duck” in
    the university without any guarantee of finding a “job of my life”.
    Also, this conversation would be very unspecific, because I have no
    other proposals. From the other side, then I would be able openly to ask my colleagues to provide a recommendation letter for me.
  2. Should I try to find another academic position without informing the management? But I don’t know how to provide a good set of recommendation letters then: people would start talking about my activity, and it would become public.
  3. If I send a CV to an assistant professor/professor position, should I mention, that I am a head of an Institute? I’m afraid that it can raise a lot of questions like “why do you want to downshift from such a good position to become a teacher/researcher”.
  4. Maybe there is something that I am missing?