My letter of intent for an MSc program is only 1000 characters (which is about 160 words). I was planning to begin with a short story about how I became interested in the field, how my academic background has prepared me, my current research interests, and my future goals. All of that is about 400-500 words (I already wrote it out). I will be evaluated on how well my interests align with the school’s and my supervisor’s. So should I only include my research interests? So there really wouldn’t be any introductry line… I would just get into it?

I am graduate student from India who is planning apply for masters in machine learning the next Fall(2018).

My background is as follows:

1)Graduated from India from IIT Mandi(ranked 13th in India) with 8/10

2)Internship in Microsoft India and worked for 1 year as Software Developer after my graduation there.(Got a pre placement offer from Microsoft).

3)One Major Technical project under a Professor in my college in the field Coding theory.

4)I quit my job and presently working as research staff in IIT Bombay(ranked 1 in India) in the field of deep learning.I will be working for 1 year here can get a paper published easily as second author and also contribute to other research.

5)I’m also doing a probablistic graphical model course(with certification) of Daphne Koller

I have not done much coursework in the field of machine learning.I have one year in my hand(Jan,2018 to November,2018).

I need advice as to how can I plan this time effectively(doing online courses,kaggle..etc) which can show my expertise in the field so that I can get into top 10 grad colleges.
Thanks a lot for your time.

I have become increasingly dissatisfied with my PhD/project in chemistry, and over the past few months have contemplating leaving with a Masters and going on to a different field altogether (physics). Here is what gets at me:

• I am not motivated by my project because a lot of requires boring bench work that I was not told I’d be doing/nor am I good at doing; I was told my project would be one thing (spectroscopy-oriented), but it is becoming something else that I don’t really care for nor am I good at.

• The post-docs in my lab have a favourite and constantly help him and provide me with little insight and put my project constantly on the backburner for our system

• My supervisor is never around, and despite mentioning I want to focus on becoming a physicist, he constantly forgets and pushes more dull chemistry stuff that I am not good at nor interested in

• I don’t like my department at all, the lack of direction in my project, and the city I live in

• I don’t get to actually do anything by myself, I’m always having to watch somebody else or help a little here or there. I don’t understand why my groupmates are like this and it is infuriating to no end. I feel like I have no role in the group/no real purpose

My parents tell me I look miserable all of the time. My friends say the same. I realize that I am not happy at all, mostly because I’m doing something that doesn’t make me feel passionate. I have my passions in a different branch of chemistry and physics altogether, and now I know I need to pursue those because I can’t see myself sustaining myself in this state for an additional 3 years.

My plan is to ask my supervisor kindly to change to a Masters. I even have a plan for what I can do for that thesis that I came up with and could probably get a paper out of it so it should appease him. Furthermore, I want to express to him that is not him, but rather my lack of passion for this project, and that I wish to pursue a PhD in a physics department elsewhere. My plan is then to apply for PhD positions in Northern Europe (dual citizenship, EU passport, but born in Canada). I can then focus on doing a PhD I am genuinely interested in, not a project that I sort of half-assed an interest with just because I was so stoked to do a PhD (I applied for a Masters but was offered a PhD instead and jumped at it without thinking). I applied to one school because I didn’t think I’d be serious about it. I was not too smart 3 years ago.

I have good grades, lots of research experience, and skills in optics/optical engineering. How do you think my chances of getting a PhD position in physics in either Germany, Denmark, Norway, or Sweden?

Thank you!

I am an incoming PhD student in mathematics in the US. Typically, math PhD students in the US are required to TA or teach introductory courses like pre-calculus or calculus. In these classes the majority of students are non-math majors, e.g. social sciences, humanities, business, etc. Some of the students genuinely want to understand the theory, but the majority of these students usually just want a painless treatment of math and only care about how to compute stuffs to pass quizzes or exams. My question is do PhD students generally like TAing math to non-math majors?

I am an undergraduate physics and mathematics major at a relatively small liberal arts college. I am hoping to persue a PhD in high energy theory, and am struggling to find schools that I might be a good fight/competative for. I have an overall GPA of 3.2, a physics GPA of 3.6, and a Physics GRE of 580. In addition I have 2 summers and a semester of research (3 posters), and strong letters of recommendation from writers who all know me very well.

What graduate schools might be a good fit for me, in terms of the competativeness of my application and the department’s research in hept? Thank you very much for the advice.

I asked my 2 undergraduate research supervisors on Friday, December 22nd. This is five and a half weeks before the deadlines (they would each be filling out 2 separate recommendation forms). The deadline is January 31st. I heard back from one supervisor about 10 minutes after I sent the email. However, I still haven’t heard back from the other supervisor. I am worried I sent it at an inappropriate time (too close to Christmas). Tomorrow will be exactly one more before the deadline. Did I wait too long to ask for the LORs? When should I follow up with the second potential writer?

As a soon-to-be graduate student (fingers crossed) with funding (hopefully) in the US. I wanted to ask about what I should do or think of before my first day as a TA.

I am not deficit of experience leading groups of people, however much of my experience of large groups (>20 people) have been at the high school level and small groups (<5 people, namely class projects and research teams) at the university level. I know when it is time to take charge and when to take a back seat, when to praise my teammates work publically and when to call BS (sparingly and in private).

On a more comical (pardon the pun) experience, I can proudly boast that I am an avid reader of Phd Comics and XKCD, I am aware of the cultural and light-hearted quirks of being a graduate student from second-hand sources but not personally.

On that note, what I should take a look at and/or learn more about before day 1?

A sample list off the top of my head:

  • Dress Code: Business Casual or casual (t-shirt and jeans?)
  • Voice: Command Voice or conversational?
  • Syllabus: Everyone gets a copy or save trees?
  • OH: Early in the week on end of day on Friday?
  • Sarcasm: much appreciated or would be lost upon undergrads?
  • Fellow TA’s: a team effort to help undergrads or solo affair?
  • Grading: be lenient or strict?
  • Messaging: email or slack channel or text?
  • Enthusiasm: artificial sweetener or bitter coffee?
  • Humor and Jokes: being gregarious or straight to the point?
  • Music: Classical music or Speed Metal?
  • Homework: pointing in the right direction or detailed analysis and breakdown?
  • Caffeine: before, during, or after a class; and how much?