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 was a graduate student at EWU 2010-2013, completed course work, internship and passed the praxis exam. I worked in my titled position for 3 years while pending research paper was being done. During my third year the children and myself were discriminated against, and I made an EEOC complaint. After my complaint it was made known to me that the district had ties to the president of OSPI, Bob Ferguson and Bill Gates and that I was going to get backlash
. Turned out they were right, school Said I failed and would not give me my degree. I tried to go through the steps..dean, chair, provost all stonewalled me…wrote our politicians…and Even Trump (which contacted the Civil rights department)..I had placed a complaint in and the WH said they would be sure to take care of me…3 months later I get a call and then a letter saying statue of limitations were up…can’t get any help and attorneys don’t want to help you unless they get the paper staying you can sue…I know there has to be a way to get justice…if thus could happen once, y would a college stop letting students attend college bleeding them dry and then just take the money…or what would stop them from using their bias for particular groups…

I’ve seen a lot of “kids-in-grad-school” advice that’s geared towards male PhD students with stay-at-home wives. I’m a female MD PhD student married to a male MD PhD student, and neither of us is going to quit our career. We are both willing to put in the time needed to raise a family.

I’m interested in hearing from the following perspectives:

(a) women who had kids while they were in graduate school

(b) men or women who had kids while they were in graduate school and did NOT have a stay-at-home partner.

For those folks, how did you make it work? if you could go back and time and give yourself advice about the experience, what advice would you give?

The situation is that if I get accepted from this school, say A, I would like to go but there are certain circumstances such that if they unfold, then I would like to go to school next year. So should I even apply to A? If I reject an acceptance from A and then reapply the next year, does it put me in the bad books of the Graduate committee of that school for rejecting and reapplying?

Now this is something that happened long ago and even after so long, in a way begs for an answer, so I thought that I might ask here.

This happened to someone who was in another department of my university, H. He had taken an entry level position (a trainee, eventually moving onto a grad assistant) in a lab. In all his time there, he was heavily bullied by a senior phD student B.

Apparently, H via a slip of tongue had made his future career aspirations known to B’s advisor, K. Now, K felt that H’s career choices were against their personal beliefs. This lead them (K) to try and bully H out of the place completely. They did everything in their power to brand H an outsider and an unwanted presence, scrutinizing everything from their quality of work to H’s appearance and diet (yes diet, turns out when people get desperate to smear someone they’ll literally say anything ). H’s advisor L was pretty close with K, but K held a lot of pull in the department and hence was able to continue this. He made sure that H was assigned either nonsensical problems (which H still diligently followed through, much to the chagrin of everyone else) and also made sure that he would not be allowed to do any of it; in hopes that he would be driven away.

B was a phD student co-mentored by K and L. B would also sit right behind H and made it his priority of the day that H would not get to do any work no matter what (he would also encourage others to do the same, in fact many joined in). How he managed to keep up with his research and bully someone is beyond me. Though there were rumors that he had to be shifted to another location in the lab because he had become (almost) obsessed with H to the point that he was abandoning his own work.

It was said that H was pretty good at what he did and in the face of all the problems he was given (that no one wanted), he did the best he could and completed them, finally submitting all his findings before leaving. B was apparently frustrated with his own progress and was seemingly under-performing too, this might have lead to him to bully H ( due to the jealousy of seeing a younger member of the lab getting something done when one is barely eking out anything ). Apparently he (B) had been reprimanded before once for slacking off.

I think the harassment also escalated because H was not allowed to speak up, and when he did try to in any way, he was immediately silenced and reprimanded for doing so. In the end, whatever incident may have caused him to speak up was blamed on him. This was only found much later, before that, H was blamed for many transgressions (when they were forced upon him by someone else).

H may have needed the position, since he did whatever was required to get his work done and stuck through. Ironically, in the end he was blamed for a lot of everything due to his “lack of speaking up” (when he was being secretly reprimanded whenever he did so).

For the sake of brevity, I’ll not include the massive drama that followed, including K using every inch of his power to put H down, H clashing with another member of the lab and finally, a new hire being pitted against H. In the end, H left, but I wonder even now, what should have been done in this case?

Some of the other grad students in that department whom I spoke to gave off the vibe that they did in a way side with H, but were too scared to take a stand with him because they did not want to go against K and hence ended up saying nothing or simply joining in against H. It was either him or them. K had also gotten one of the administrative assistant’s in the lab to smear him across the department and spread all kinds of rumors about him, so by the time H had left, mostly everyone hated him. It was actually strange because most of them knew the truth but spited H nevertheless (to protect themselves). B also had a habit of bringing people to sit behind H and then badmouth him (basically anything, did not even have to be true), this was only one of the few things he did. This was a common occurrence. B got away with it in the end. He was able to pull this off because of another highly corrupt grad student.

I did come to hear that B and the other grad students actually bragged about how they would try to mess with H’s sanity ( by trying to make him belive that he was doing shitty work when he was not, I’m using the word trying here because H eventually completed his task and something like this would be pretty childish so I would wonder if something like that would actually work ) and how easily they could get away with it. Although many cannot (read would not) admit it openly, it is pretty henious the way B made personal ( and very out of line ) attacks to H’s character this way. Strangely, even though H is gone now, they (corrupt grad students present there now) still brag about how they mess with H even though he is far away (not sure about the exact details, but I think this has something to do with spreading rumors) and how easy it is to do so.

All these incidents had become part of the daily gossip at our university as K pipped all of this as ‘entertainment’ created by him. Because H was known to not participate in any of the bullying, other students caught wind of this whole deal (due to the aforementioned rumors) and would try and bully H the same way it was being done in the lab. People did it because they found the effect comedic.

What should people have done when the bullying had become this bad? H did eventually end up leaving, but the perpetrators also got away with it scot free (last I heard the grad students got jobs and moved away and B is still completing his PhD.. ). So what could have the higher ups have done to contain this? Is it really okay to let B and the other grad students get away like this?

Inspite of so many leaps in progress in building a better academia, what is our system still lacking to handle such cases of bullying?

I am a first year PhD student at an American university and since I was not satisfied with my present department, I had applied to a few universities last semester (it was my first semester here). My recommenders were all from my previous university and no one in this university knows I applied. I recently received an interview call from one of the universities I applied to. It is a 2 day program, the first day being the interviews and the second day for the faculty presentations and interaction with current students. Unfortunately, the second day clashes with a major exam for a core PhD course I am taking here.

I asked the official of the interviewing university as to what I should do and she said that I could ask for a make up exam in order to attend the second day as well. My question is, should I? My fear is that the instructor could tell about this to other people in my department (or she may actually be bound to do so by some school law?) and that could seriously jeopardize my situation here. I did like the PI for my first rotation here, and might want to join his lab for my PhD in the event that I am not selected by the interviewing university OR I do not like the interviewing university after visiting it.

I thought that I could go to the instructor of this course and ask her if she discuss a matter with me confidentially (keeping the matter confidential at least till the end of this semester), and then ask her about the make-up exam. Is this a good idea?
Another option is to not tell her anything and miss the 2nd day, since the interviews happen on the first day. That way no one would probably know, although I will miss the crucial part of the faculty interviews and student interaction which is so important for me to make my decision.

Is there something else I should consider that I am missing? Any help could be life-saving!

I will give some background. I am from a third world country, and I am doing my math PhD in Europe. During high school and university years I participated in many maths competitions, and even got to the pre-national team.

Here is my problem: my education is not the best. I would say it is mediocre at best. By education I mean the whole system of the country. I pretty much had to learn everything on my own during those years, starting from Analysis. So, even though I took courses, they were meaningless, because the level was very low and in many cases the professors were not experts in the field. On top of that, the interaction with other students was almost null, I was very ahead of all of them.

Despite that, as I said, I studied very hard to get to where I am now. However, I have to admit that due to this personal training, there are many topics that should be basic with which I don’t feel comfortable about: ODEs, PDEs, Numerical Linear Algebra, etc. This is due to time constraints because I feel capable of learn anything.

To summarize so far: I have been a lonely man in a cave with a book for the last 7 years. That being said, I managed to get some decent knowledge in the area I am currently working in.

Fast forward to the PhD program. As usual in Europe, there are no courses involved: only research. And there is were my conflict lies: I am very unsure of myself because I think that everyone has a better education than me and hence they are better prepared. Another issue is that the institute were I am is very small and hence there is no ‘big purpose’: no one seems to care about you. Also, the institute is not well known, so that I am also afraid that the ‘brand’ issue will affect me later.

I feel like I don’t belong there, and that I could do much better if I go to another Program that starts the courses from the beginning. However, the way I am doing it right now has got me very demotivated and it is starting to affect my research: I have been here for a year already and so far I am only at the middle stage of a first paper. The paper is not that strong, because after I got the results I found that someone has done it before (I lost months on this).

I guess that what troubles me most is the fact that I can not compare myself (main source of motivation, in a healthy sense of course) with the rest of my peers and that is the main reason for my insecurities. Due to this, I am thinking of quitting and starting all over again somewhere else. Also, I don’t think this is a case of the Impostor Syndrome: I am sure that with proper training I could get far, I just haven’t had the opportunity to take a bunch of graduate courses.

Should I proceed?

There exists a degree title called the licentiate in Finland and Sweden which is a graduate title beneath a full PhD title; I’ve heard it called, among other things, a “half PhD”, a “PhD lite” or a “PhD for those already working”. However, what formal or practical benefits can/does such a title actually confer, especially since being awarded a licentiate degree entails having a postgraduate degree anyway (a Master’s degree, which very much could have entailed doing research itself)?

  • Can the formal qualification and/or work done for it contribute towards a proper PhD at another institution, either immediately after or after some interim period?
  • Is it accepted as proof of any kind of practical research experience in larger institutions outside of Finland and Sweden? From what I’ve gathered, it seems that research-oriented jobs are very strictly categorized as either “jobs for people with PhDs” or “jobs for everyone else”, which suggests that a “not-quite-PhD” degree wouldn’t actually open any doors and maybe even close some (due to e.g. being perceived as overqualified, as having “quit” a PhD program or as being “not able” to secure a proper PhD candidate position).

So I’m technically a graduate student. My school allows people who are studying a certain subject apply to the graduate program early, so if you get in, you get to work on your master’s at the same time as finishing your bachelor’s degree. Anyway, I applied and got in. I am also only 20. So the plan was to graduate with both degrees by the time I was 22. Here’s the thing though, I think I’m going to be academically dismissed. The rules are that you cannot a C in more than one class. I got a C in my last class and it looks like I’m going to get a C in this class too unless I somehow get a 98% on the final. Unlikely, but I guess anything is possible.

So my question is, what do I do if I fail out? I don’t have my bachelor’s yet. I’m only 20 and if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think this is something that I want to do anymore. I’m just not passionate and my level of caring is so low. It’s probably why my grades are so bad. I just don’t care anymore. I just can’t deal with the fact that I’m probably going to fail out.

I am tasked with moderating / leading an academic discussion in class, which will revolve around one current working paper in the field of economics. What are some sections / questions / topics such a discussion would typically include? What methods are there to encourage or steer discussion?

Edit: Let me add to that question: If I had the task of reviewing / discussing the paper, I would have some questions in mind that could guide me (Does the author make a meaningful contribution? Do his definitions make sense? Are his instruments weak?). But how do I turn such thoughts into the basis for a livid discussion?