When entering my MS I had an advisor assigned to me because I didn’t finish undergrad in the university I’m now in. I want to research graph theory but my advisor researches in computational geometry, and every problem I proposed to him he dismissed as being too difficult (without really explaining why) and proposed an optimization problem with metaheuristics instead. As I’m approaching the end of the first semester now, I need to have an advisor confirmed and a topic semi-defined, so I half-heartedly accepted one of the problems he proposed just to get on with it.

Now it is about 3 days later and I’m already regretting the decision I made: I’m 22 years old and really like researching, but the thought of dedicating 2 years of my life on something I’m “meh” about does not make me happy. I think it is clear my advisor isn’t going to open his mind to new ideas but is it too late to switch advisors? Since dropping out is not an option, as I moved from a different city and just settled in here, what should I do about it? Should I give him an ultimatum and try to find a new advisor in a month? Is it “normal” for people to take a research topic they don’t really like for a masters program?

I graduated with a 3.61 overall GPA and a 3.68 CS Major GPA. I completed minors in Mathematics and Game Design and Development. I have not done any official research, but I did do a semester independent study with a professor conducting unofficial research on pattern recognition. I have spent the last three years creating a PC-based virtual assistant in which I had to teach myself C++, Python and the Win32 API. The project required a lot of personal research into machine learning, natural language processing, voice recognition, operating systems and more. The project placed 10th at a Consortium for Computing Sciences conference out of over 60 other projects. Currently, I am directing and teaching a major Computer Science program out of a library in a big city. I have designed a peer-reviewed curriculum individuals need to go through to obtain a job with local businesses in a related position. This past summer, I taught a lengthy college level course to high school aged youth. Through a controlled study, the youth improved an average of 60% from start to finish. I am a member of the Computer Science Teachers Association and attend their meetings in my state. I interned at a small startup company which develops a social media oriented app. I developed screens for them and worked with Neo4j to develop clustering models. Right now I am paying a machine learning professional to tutor me so I can get ahead and really grasp the material. Also, I was very active in my undergraduate program and took on Project Lead roles for long term projects as well as convinced the department by obtaining signatures to offer a machine learning elective.

I love what I do very much and want to challenge myself. I would like to get into the best graduate program I possibly can to study machine learning and conduct research in the topic. I do not have research papers under my belt though and I am having trouble with the GRE. My number one is Columbia, but I believe it would be very hard for me to get into their PhD program, but Masters may be possible. I would like to enter directly into a PhD program, but I have been thinking it may be wiser to do a thesis focused Master’s program then apply to a PhD program. Anyway, what programs should I be looking at? Can any link any noteworthy sites that would help me see where I fit in?

Thank you for the help!

I’m currently an American citizen in an MA program and am considering going to Japan for a PhD, and will eventually want to return home. However, going abroad seems to be discouraged, if not downright frowned upon in U.S. academia (at least from what I hear), even when the out of country school is same or better ranking.

Any word on success/accessibility for returning to America with a foreign degree and finding work? Academia vs. Industry?

I am an Economics major, so this question may be slightly less applicable to science&engineering majors. If it is possible to focus on those with Social Science, Business, or Math background.

I hold a degree from a European country, and at that time we didn’t have a system similar to the common “Bachelor + Master”. My degree has been considered as equivalent to a Master by the University of another European country, and in this other University I obtained a Doctorate.

Now, a non-European country has offered me a teaching position, and they want a statement of my undergraduate University, saying that that degree is equivalent to a Master. But this University (where I graduated) tells me that they can’t make a statement of equivalence, they can only certify that I have that degree.
So, who should be the authority that officially takes care of confirming the equivalence?

-addendum-

To complicate things, I graduated before the Bologna Process came into effect.

I am in my third year at a highly ranked University and I have realized I have all the credits I need to graduate this year. I am a math major and until recently I was planning on pursuing a PhD in Math after graduation. I have taken a few graduate level courses in mathematics and I have some math research experience and (hopefully) a paper submitted by the winter.

I had a recent change of heart and despite not having taken many computer science classes I realized I would rather go into a computer science field (Perhaps software development). I have only taken a few introductory courses in the computer science department but I am working on (coding) a research project in a computational genetics laboratory (essentially doing bioinformatics). I am now stuck with a few options and I cannot seem to decide which path would be a wiser choice.

I could graduate a year early, and go to a alright/mediocre school (seeing as I do not have all of the class requirements to be a competitive candidate at a top program) and pursue a Masters degree in computer science.

Alternatively I could stay a fourth year at my current institution and complete a major in computer science as well as math.

Obviously there is not one clear better path but input on the pro’s and con’s of each would be helpful.

I’m currently an American citizen in an MA program and want to go back to Japan after studying abroad during my BA (I’ve a decent grasp of the language, and there are many internationally oriented programs taught in English). However, going abroad seems to be discouraged, if not frowned upon here. My school isn’t a top school by any means, (though still within the top 20%), and Japan has many decent schools at the world level. Not to mention, getting an Econ PhD in America requires starting over if I transfer schools, but in Japan it appears I can hop on a 3-year track. This feels like a situation where I can do no worse, yet I’ve heard very little to support this.

Any thoughts from those who have gone/or also wish to leave America to get a graduate degree? Otherwise, thoughts from those solidly against it/why? Will my potential career in Academia disappear should I wish to come back to the U.S., which seems fine as industry seems a good way to go as well.

I hold a degree from an European country, and at that time we didn’t have a system similar to the common “Bacelor + Master”. My degree has been considered as equivalent to a Master by the University of another European country, and in this other University I obtained a Doctorate.

Now, a non-european country has offered me a teaching position, and they want a statement of my undergraduate University, saying that that degree is equivalent to a Master. But this University (where I graduated) tells me that they can’t make a statement of equivalence, they can only certify that I have that degree.
So, who should be the authority that officially takes care of confirming the equivalence?