I just started my second year of grad school (this spring) in a quantitative field. I have already chosen an advisor.

My advisor is a full professor and extremely busy, but has a ton of resources. I knew this going in, and I chose their lab for a variety of reasons (I have no regrets). One of my committee members is an assistant professor, and they meet with me for an hour every week to help me with projects. I’ve even started various additional projects with this committee member.

Question: Should I ask the committee member to be an official co-advisor?

I feel bad that the committee member is essentially putting in more time than my official advisor, but not getting much “credit” for it. I know assistant professors need to mentor a certain number of grad students to get tenure, and I want all the time this assistant professor spends mentoring me to actually “count” towards their own career goals.

However, I don’t want to make my official advisor upset, or insult them, by asking for this other person to be a co-advisor. (Note: the reason I didn’t just ask both of them to be co-advisors at the very beginning of grad school is that the committee member was working within my main advisor’s lab, and wasn’t even an assistant professor yet.)

I am interested in topic X, and I would like to find a supervisor for that topic. At one particular uni, there are quite a few people interested in my topic, and I need to find out who might be a fit and whose interests are maybe not so aligned with mine.

Should I just message all of these people at the same department? Would it potentially reflect bad on me? I am also worried that in case two of these people are interested, I am facing a dilemma when applying.

How should I proceed, how do these things usually work?

I am a Physics senior, and will be graduating with a BS in May 2018. Couple weeks back when I really got into the application process, I realized that I don’t stand any chance of getting into a good physics PhD program.

I have a good GPA in my major and average GRE scores but my application falls short when it comes to research experience. I tried to get involved in research at my undergrad institution, but none of the faculty members were doing research. I only have one summer research experience (at a renowned institute in Germany) but the work was mainly computational and doesn’t directly relate to the research programs that I am applying for. For my senior project, I did a little bit of research in physics, but the results were not exciting at all (basically just imaging some quantum dots and finding the size distribution).

It was when I was writing my personal statement that I realized that my application will not be competitive at all. Should I still apply to PhD programs at less-selective schools? I am personally inclined to do a Masters first, not only to get some research experience, but to also figure out which field of physics excites me the most. The only thing that worries me is that most Masters are not funded (although I have found a few in Europe that have scholarships). I really want to do my PhD from a good program and I feel that I am just not ready for it.

I am losing hope and any career advice at this point will be highly appreciated.

I am a 1st year graduate student at University of Oregon and I am trying to find funding for my education. The problem I am running into is finding funds that don’t require research. My career path doesn’t involve deep research projects and it seems the requirement for a majority of scholarships require students doing research. Any tips?

I just started my second year of grad school (this spring) in a quantitative field. I have already chosen an advisor.

My advisor is a full professor and extremely busy, but has a ton of resources. I knew this going in, and I chose their lab for a variety of reasons (I have no regrets). One of my committee members is an assistant professor, and they meet with me for an hour every week to help me with projects. I’ve even started various additional projects with this committee member.

Question: Should I ask the committee member to be an official co-advisor?

I feel bad that the committee member is essentially putting in more time than my official advisor, but not getting much “credit” for it. I know assistant professors need to mentor a certain number of grad students to get tenure, and I want all the time this assistant professor spends mentoring me to actually “count” towards their own career goals.

However, I don’t want to make my official advisor upset, or insult them, by asking for this other person to be a co-advisor. (Note: the reason I didn’t just ask both of them to be co-advisors at the very beginning of grad school is that the committee member was working within my main advisor’s lab, and wasn’t even an assistant professor yet.)

I’m about to write a statement of purpose for graduate admission and my advisor passed along to me the following pieces of advice to keep in mind while writing (based on his style and experience in admission commitees).

I completely agree with every point he has made. However, I’d like to have further insight and suggestions and yet another reality check on the soundness of these pieces of advice.

Advice from my advisor:

  • Don’t try to sell me my own research area by explaining to me how fascinating it is. Do show your interest by showcasing your previous
    experience working on (or studying) related topics (not necessarily
    very closely related).

  • Don’t tell me how amazing, prestigious, perfect my institution or research group is. I know more than you do about that. Also, chances
    are that you are applying to a lot of schools and don’t have
    inflexible interests yet, which is fine. Just tell me that you may be
    willing to work with a certain research group that seems more or less
    in line with your previous experience or future directions.

  • Don’t tell me a cute story about how you fell in love with my field when you were a kid (or high school senior or college freshmen). I
    just don’t care. I want to hire a soon-to-be professional to join my
    research group, not a little boy with a cute story. I only need to
    know factual information that show your commitment to the field (for
    example, courses/conferences attended, projects undertaken).

  • Ban ill-crafted, pseudo-literary, flowery, cheesy narrations. Just write facts. Straightforwardly. Succintly. Accurately. I’ll draw conclusions for myself.

  • Ban any buzzwords, meaningless adjectives and adverbs. If they don’t add concrete information, but are there just an ill-advised attempt
    to impress, cut them!

I’m an (international) electrical engineering applicant applied to some top-10 graduate programs in US (say, MIT, Caltech, UCB, etc.). As I check the entries of “thegradcafe.com” every day associated with the programs I’ve applied to, there are many entries which declare interviews with some POIs. So far, I have received no interview requests from any target school. Thus, I’m a little bit both curious about the importance of interview and anxious about the interpretation of such a lack of interviews in my case. To be specific, are all admitted students to top-tier engineering programs invited to interview before getting admitted? In other words, should I expect to be rejected if no one invites me to any sort of interview?

PS. If it helps to clear the situation, I’m currently an M.A.Sc student at a well-known Canadian university. So, both my university and my supervisor are pretty famous to the research community of my field.

I’m an (international) electrical engineering applicant applied to some top-10 graduate programs in US (say, MIT, Caltech, UCB, etc.). As I check the entries of “thegradcafe.com” every day associated with the programs I’ve applied to, there are many entries which declare interviews with some POIs. So far, I have received no interview requests from any target school. Thus, I’m a little bit both curious about the importance of interview and anxious about the interpretation of such a lack of interviews in my case. To be specific, are all admitted students to top-tier engineering programs invited to interview before getting admitted? In other words, should I expect to be rejected if no one invites me to any sort of interview?

PS. If it helps to clear the situation, I’m currently an M.A.Sc student at a well-known Canadian university. So, both my university and my supervisor are pretty famous to the research community of my field.

A prospective graduate student is normally not hyperspecialized and inflexibly hyperfocussed on a certain well-developed research line (like a more mature mid-career researcher could be) just yet.

That is to say, even if such student worked on topic “X” (say, in the area of algebraic geometry) for their master’s thesis, they may well be flexible and willing to expand their horizon and start working on any interesting topic in algebraic geometry that falls within a certain wide range “A” (that possibly includes “X”).

So, I assume, any reasonably well-known and conveniently located school with “good” mathematicians that work on a quite wide range “A” of topics within algebraic geometry is in principle a good fit for an application of said student.

In this context, what does it mean to tailor a statement of purpose for a specific school? In particular, how can one do so convincingly (enough to have fair chances of being admitted) and professionally (that is, without spouting empty buzzwords or vague claims of interest)?

I am currently studying for a B.A in Philosophy and considering my graduate studies.
Currently, I’m mostly interested in Logic, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of mind. Initially, I was quite certain I wanted to go into the philosophy of mathematics, as it is both interesting, and seems to involve quite a bit of actual mathematics, which is appealing to me. I have recently heard of Cognitive Science, and after a bit of poking around it seems to be similar to the Philosophy of Mathematics in the sense that it is quite involved with both philosophy and the actual science being discussed.

I can’t seem to decide between the two! Is there anything I should keep in mind? I’m pretty sure I’d like to continue in academia, so applications in industry aren’t very important to me.