I’m studying Bachelors in Computer Science.

I’ve taken a course this semester where the professor requires us to write research paper inorder to complete the course. High quality papers from this course are published in journals like Springer.

So I was wondering – how will undergrad research effect my application for masters or my career further down the road?

I am a 5th MSc semester mathematics student at a local German university. Since fall, I have been working on my thesis, which is the only remaining task for finishing my studies.

I had not had particular difficulties during my studies, apart from the usual struggling and doubts I suppose every student undergoes: before my masters studies, I had spent 7 semesters at another university on two BScs in physics and mathematics. I am paid by a public scholarship. I had decided to change the university for my master’s half for personal reasons and half in order to have a greater choice in courses held. My average score is 1.5 at the moment, which also had been my final score for the two BScs.

Now that I have started my thesis, nearly everything has changed: I am working with a professor whose courses I took several of, all with good grades, so she did not object to supervising my thesis. Although I have not had severe problems with my studies before, I am getting nowhere with my work now:

For understanding a single paper I am supposed to work on I sometimes need weeks, let alone the questions posed to me to think on, which I sometimes spend weeks without any serious results I could present. I have the impression that I am lacking creativity, intuition and a sufficient knowledge which I think I should have acquainted during my courses.

My problems have driven me into particular personal problems: I have lost contact with most of my former colleagues I used to spend every weekend with, partially because they seem to have lost interest in spending time with me, and partially because my mind is governed by thinking of my inferior scientific performance and the conviction no one wants to have to do with such a poor student. I cannot enjoy leisure time since I permanently have to think of the open problems that haven’t worked out over a long time. I cannot claim to have chosen a university where I am competing with the best.

For 1½ months I have been taking antidepressives and having psychotherapy, which barely helps to soften the biggest peaks of auto-aggression and contemplating self-harm, but have not yet helped me to find another view on what I’m doing.


Although my university performance seemed sufficient for me not to worry much about it, starting working on my master’s thesis has revealed a vast lack of mathematical knowledge and poor mathematical working capabilities. The longer I work on it, the more I lose any self-esteem.

Question: Where should I have foreseen my problems? Which signs did I ignore? Where did I miss to put things on the right track? And: how shall I find value in myself, now that I have found myself incapable of pursuing research, and have lost everything else?

This summer I am taking an online course due to being part of an internship 1000 miles from home. That said, the physics course I am taking the instructor is not grading the tests right. When asked what the right answers are, she responds but then when I ask about the specifics of why I missed them she ignores me.

For example this question,

“An elevator weighing 20 200 N is supported by a steel cable. What is the tension in the cable when the elevator is being accelerated upward at a rate of 3.00 m/s2? (g = 9.80 m/s2)”

She responded that the answer is T = 26383.7 N, then gave me zero points when I wrote 26400 N which seems more correct given significant figures.

However when I asked about it, she ignored me.

Because of this kind of thing my test grade went from a 100 to a C-.

What else can I do?

I applied for a postdoc position in Denmark and was invited to an interview. The interview includes a ten minute presentation “of yourself and your research” targeted towards master students (the entire interview is 30 minutes). Presenting my research is expected and not a problem. But what does it mean to give a presentation of myself in such a context?

I have met one of the interviewers during a conference and discussed the position briefly, but the other is not familiar to me.
The interview is through Skype and I assume no master students will ever be exposed to it, in case that matters.

As a state university adjunct I get a fair number of students who start classes are finding themselves unprepared, have unforeseen events (job, home, personal), which impact their ability to complete the course in a timely fashion. I tend to offer an incomplete as a way to permit the student to complete the work, and achieve the best results possible. Normally, I do not ask for “proof” of the excuse.

Recently, I had peers admonish me, with the argument that my approach was reducing revenue for faculty. It was argued that normally, the proper way is to let the student withdraw, and then re-enroll the next term. That way there are two instances of the faculty getting paid to conduct the course.

In my case, the normal incremental work for me to handle an incomplete is rather small, and I have been perhaps a bit liberal in the interest that the students get a good value from their academic experience. I have taught at three universities, and pretty much had the same practice at each. However, I have getting considerable flack, so thought I would get additional input from a diverse community.

How is the assignment of an incomplete grade practically handled at your institution, and what are the thresholds for qualification for that grade? Is it appropriate to offer incomplete grades without requiring a particular level of hardship or requesting proof of that hardship?

Thank you.

Addendum #1
There is no clear cut answer to the question I posed, but there is value in understanding the perspectives of others. And in this case, there is no right or wrong response. However, to add clarity, I will provide two examples of recent incomplete grades, so that the context is more clear.

Before I do that, I will add, with some reservation, additional general details. The bulk of the students I teach are distance learning students. The majority however, are in state. My institution is part of a large state university system, and tends to serve more non-traditional students, and certainly students in non-traditional settings.

The first instance is Beth, who has been a student of mine in the past. Beth works as a clerk in a public institution and is married with a 2yo girl. When I first had her as a student, I was told by her adviser that she was an excellent student. My experience confirmed that. The third term that I had Beth, she was taking four courses, trying to complete her degree soon, working full time, and raising a 2 yo girl. She was taking two advanced level technical courses from me, and our meetings were conducted on the phone. Somewhere mid-term she mentioned that she was pregnant and would be delivering in a couple of weeks, but would make up the work immediately. She probably would, but I told her that she had a lot on her plate, and as far as I was concerned she had a few more important things than her weekly assignments, and that should it make things easier for her, an incomplete would be possible, and explained how it would work. Her words were that she would not need that, but thanks for the offer. I told her that since the end of the term was getting close, that if I didn’t hear from her for some reason, unless she objected I would assign her an incomplete in both courses. It turns out she had the baby, underestimated how tired she would be, and the demands of two children. I didn’t hear from her until the last week of the term. It turns out that her other two instructors were unwilling to cut her any slack in deliverables, so my two courses took that hit. Fine by me. Within three weeks of the term being over, all of Beth’s work had been submitted and was exemplary.

I was chastised by two peers, who pointed out that Beth knew she would be delivering a baby mid-term, and that she could have lowered her course load or even eliminated going to school for that term. I countered that in a job setting, a pregnancy is a medical matter, and I knew of no employer who wasn’t expected to give time off for a new child.

Shortly after the situation with Beth, another student, Burt, who was doing good work for the first 4 weeks of the term, contacted me and apologized and said he would have to withdraw from his course. I suggested that we have one more phone conference to discuss things. Burt, like more than half my students, is an immigrant, and is struggling to learn, obtain credentials, get a better job, and well, we all know the stories. So Burt had signed up for 5 courses, and was overloaded (no kidding). But Burt’s wife’s hours had increased, and she couldn’t say no, because he had lost his job, and she was the sole means of support. Furthermore, his wife’s sister who had been nannying their kids, had to go back home on short notice. So Burt was suddenly unemployed, working a course overload, trying to make ends meet, and now watching two young children. He was overwhelmed, and didn’t think he could get all his coursework done. From my perspective, he had learned a valuable lesson in over-committing. In Burt’s course, he had completed the first phase, and the remainder of the course was three research papers and a final exam. I offered an incomplete, explained how it would work, and pointed out that our need to meet, and his need to use online materials was reducing. We could schedule the exam when he was ready, and he could write the three papers and submit them as he was able. The long and short was that Burt finished the other four courses, and received good grades. He completed the work for my course within 8 weeks of the end of the term. He did well in my course, and his papers were well written. He continues to work on his degree, and told me he will never sign up for an overload again.

In both the case of Beth and Burt, I did not feel that I had students shopping for incomplete grades. I did feel the students were financially strapped, time limited, resource limited, and that by offering incompletes, they were able to convert a situation which would probably cost them more tuition, cause their degree to take more time, and have an element of discouragement to their academic efforts.

The relationship between educators and students can be a special one. Kind of like a doctor-patient relationship. Or it can be a rather quantitative relationship of assignments, rubrics and graded outcomes. Having worked in the scientific and aerospace community for four decades, I have had a large number of relatively new hires working for me. Many come ill-prepared for work in industry. So in my courses, I have exercises which are similar to what they might encounter in industry. While I don’t have specific exercises for how to treat people, I figure that a certain percentage of them will be supervisors, managers and leaders, and I want them to have developed judgment and experienced being “human.” So I try to set an example and treat them as I would a valued employee.

I have heard many people in academics state that a thesis is a students own project and that only the student is responsible for its quality and completion. Unfortunatelythis does not agree with my own observations. I see many supervisors who have very specific demands but take very little responsibility for the consequences of these demands. For example some supervisors demand that the subject of the thesis is in a very small area of research closely related to his own work, even if the student prefers a slightly different subject. Or have very specific requirements for a subject on other non-academic grounds. Switching supervisors can delay the progress of the student significantly. In this case the supervisor severly limits the possibilities of a student. However when this leads to problems with selecting a subject the supervisor does not grant any leniency in terms of deadlines. Isn’t it then appropriate that the supervisor helps more with topic selection/ assumes more responsibilities in issues related to this particular demand? For example the supervisor could be more tolerant on allowing a student to continue work with a new topic if the one the student suggested is not feasible.

This leads to two specific questions:

  1. What kind of demands are reasonable for a supervisor to have, particularly regarding scope and topic?

  2. What kind of responsibility does the supervisor bear for the consequences of those demands?

This question is about master and bachelor theses. I am not sure if it matters but my university is in western europe. My personal opinion is that saying that the student is one hundred percent responsible is a facile argument, since as soon as a supervisor has demands that are not solely to the benefit of the academic value of the thesis, or normal order of business , he should at least take some responibility. However I am very much on the fence about to what extent a supervisor should facilitate their students in this type of situations. If the issue remains unclear I can add specific examples but I want to avoid discussing issues particular to a student, university or even field.

My this question is specific to Computer Science discipline(or, Engineering discipline can also be included).

  • What is the reputation of multidisciplinary journals in computer sciences like PLoS One and IEEE Access?

Both of these journals have impact factor higher than 3 while IEEE access was started just four years ago. On the other side, it took a long time to get even an impact factor for computer science journals.

  • What would be the reputation of the articles, from computer science discipline, published in these journals?

  • Can we compare the impact factor of these journals with other computer science journal having a similar impact factor?

I am a Master’s student from Iran. I sent an email to a professor in Austria and asked for a PhD position. He said that he did not have any open position, but if I like, I can go there for an internship.
I want to know whether I will be supported financially or not
and how I can ask about it in such a way that does not cause any negative impact.