I started a physics PhD program in 2014 in a very prestigious university in my field (in US) but after going through depression and heart problems, which resulted in bad grades, I decided to withdraw from the program after taking one year leave of absence in 2016. I’ll be starting a one year masters program outside US which I’m pretty sure I’ll get perfect grades in and I’ve already published a paper during this one year LOA. I’m intending to apply for another PhD program this year and my question is whether I need to submit a transcript from my previous PhD program? How severely would my bad grades in that PhD program affect my application if both my undergrad and masters GPA are 4.0 ?

I am writing a research proposal for Ph.D. admission. I am confused as to whether the research proposal for the Ph.D. application should be written like a formal paper. In a formal paper that I submit to a conference, I know that the paper will be reviewed by peers in our field, so I always try to write formal mathematical language when the plain text could not fully explain my ideas.

However, I am aware that some professors in the selection committee may not be in my field so they may not understand the equations in my field and I should therefore write down my ideas in a simpler way.

Am I overly concerned? Or I could just write the research proposal like it is a normal paper?

I am writing a research proposal for Ph.D. admission. I am confused that whether the research proposal for the Ph.D. application should be written like a formal paper. In the formal paper I submitted to the conference, I know that the paper will be reviewed by peers in our field. So I always try to write formal mathematical language when the plain text could not fully explain my ideas.
But I am aware that some professors in the selection committee may not be in my field so that they may not understand the equations in my field. And I should write down my ideas in a more simple way.
Am I over concerned? Or I could just write the research proposal like it is a normal paper.

I am nearly done with my PhD and I am excited to the phase where I supervise PhD theses. However in Germany, I can be the official supervisor of a PhD student only if I am a professor.

I will probably write project proposals for grants and such, and hopefully through those I can hire PhD students. And I am sure my current supervisor would be happy if I share with him the load of supervising new PhD students.

Let’s say I start supervising (or co-supervising) a PhD student after one of those two scenarios above. The question is, how can I take credit for supervising that student if I am not yet a professor?

Surely we’ll be writing papers together and I’ll benefit from that. But I wonder if it would be okay to say in a future interview or in my CV: I supervised a PhD student while I was a post doc.

This is not to blame the supervisor for obtaining few results, but clearly phd students working in large groups or under good guidance can exploit more their potential. Also phd students working in large groups often publish as a co-author just because there is a lot of collaboration within the group. So at the end of the phd students from small groups have had less chances of publishing more.

When applying to post doc positions or fellowship, the applicant must explain what results were obtained during the PhD, the skills that were developed (management, research, etc). Say that during the phd the student did not receive any guidance or support from the supervisor and that the lab only had 1-2 phds and no chance of collaboration within the lab, how can this be explained in a good light and also to show that
1) the student truly acted as an independent and mature researcher without complaining about the lack of supervision
2) to convey the message that the few results achieved during the phd should be evaluated in light of this lack of supervision, and that not being in a large lab did not allow to get those ‘extra’ papers that phd students in large labs might have chances of publishing.

Some areas that come to mind:

  • theory of partial differential equations (analysis and pdes, not numerical PDE)

  • number theory

  • algebra

Should I pick a trendy topic so that it is “easier” to write a thesis?

I’ve heard from senior PhD students not to try and write a thesis on analysis of PDEs because so much has already been done in this field and so it’s very hard to do something new.

I started a PhD in US wanted to study machine learning. Instead of that I cleaned experimental data (coming from human-related experiments), without any algorithmic endeavur or learning anything new. The choice of lab was pure, since they are supposed to use machine learning but not explicitly study it, but I chose it because of personal reasons (they would allow me to visit my family in my country more often). I regret it, since I see now that they do not use machine learning at all. I told my professor, after a year, that I want to stop at masters and he got angry. He agreed but I get the feeling he will not allow me to do any kind of research on the masters, and he’ll probably make my life hell. I want to apply for a new PhD but since I have not done substantial research for the past year, I don’t think I have good chances of getting accepted in a better PhD program. How should I handle this case with my professor? Can he not allow me to even take a masters? of course asking for a recommendation letter is out of question..

Due to a data consent fiasco, I have now lost a year’s worth of work in a PhD program which is of limited length and with limited funding.

My supervisor’s solution is to attempt to get written consent from the participants now and to only use the subset of data for which I am able to get written consent. For reasons I needn’t expound here, this subset of data with written consent will be laughably small and will in no way be possible to write quality papers using it. Moreover, even if these papers get accepted, I feel embarrassed to write them and will have no answer to questions regarding my data other than “I wasn’t told to get written consent, which is why I have so little data”, which I find reflects even worse on me than saying nothing does.

It would likely take 3-6 months and an extreme amount of personal stress and effort to collect new data, and I would then have used roughly 1.5 years of my PhD on data collection, with maybe 2.5 left over for actual work. How do I recover from losing roughly a year in my PhD due to bad data?