I am a master’s degree student that is going to graduate in the next two weeks.

After having concluded a master’s degree thesis with many econometric models in R I also decided to show the results in Latex. It is very good looking and easy to manage considering that was a 100+ pages work with many tables and plots. My thesis’s professor was impressed and the dissertation looked very good at the very ending. All in all, it was an extremely hard work for me. Many analysis has been done (far more than requested), but I have learned so much during the journey that just because of this the investment paid back.

Now the problem. The PhD student who was in charge to “supervise me” wants to reproduce my work in “1 weekend”. This is my one-year-long work and it is absolutely impossible to do it.

Moreover, since he is pretty statistical illiterate (he use statistical software as running black boxes), he is start asking improbable things, such as to export all input and output in .csv, or to merge data in .xlsx tables so that he can simply put them in Excel or Stata and “check” my work. And if it doesn’t work to find a way to make it works.

Then he asked for all the codes, to “check” it. He want to press the button and replicate the analysis. But of course it doesn’t work like that. Anyone who have ever used R, Python, etc. knows that is not that simple (just think how to solve directory repository problems…)

He also asked me to copy all the tables and put them in word format, in order to be “reproducible”. To copy number by number if it is necessary because he need them.

I don’t know the “bon-ton” in this situation. The professor was ok when I told him I was confident in R. This because he trusted me and my capabilities. But nobody told me that after my thesis was complete I would have needed to teach phd students R or how to replicate my analysis and solve their problems in doing it.

What should I do?

I had a class last week and I was 10 minutes late. I missed part of the class, and I want to write an email to my professor to arrange a time to meet.

I prepared this email:

Dear …..

I’ve missed part of the previous session and this part is not clear for me. Could I meet up with you this week so you can explain it to me?

Thank you

Is it appropriate?

I am a lecturer having 6years of experience in Bangalore India . I have completed MSc Computer Science and currently pursuing M.Phil in Computer Science. I wanted to know what term is used in Germany for lecturer and the different ranks or designation given and will I get a job as professor or lecturer in Germany.I have knowledge of research. And what is the minimum salary I would get

I have some undergraduate students doing research in my lab, and I pay them by the hours. I’ve observed that the students usually do what I tell them and don’t go beyond that (as we usually expect from research) even though I encourage them to do so. They also work exactly the assigned hours (says 10 hours/week). You know, like the regular employees in a company, not like a researcher in academia.

I discussed this with other faculty members in my department, and some of them told me that I have been doing it wrong. That I should not pay the students (except during the summer) as this job is for them to have research experience and learn research skills. Only the students who are really interested in doing and learning research will volunteer to work in the lab for free, and these are the students we want in the lab, not the students who (mainly / only) work for the compensation. And my colleagues told me that they had very few undergraduate students working in their labs for free, but those have been very good students who would co-author papers and continue to graduate schools (Master or PhD).

On the other hand, I’ve heard from some good undergraduate students (in terms of GPA and technical skills) that they would never work an unpaid position.

I’ve been thinking about this lately. Am I doing it wrong? I’m not cheap, but if paying the students to do research results in wrong motivation and expectation for them, and if not paying them is a good filtering mechanism to select good students, maybe I should do that.

What do you think? Do you have any good strategy to have good undergraduate students doing research in your lab?

Btw, I’m in the US.

I’m an international student studying in master’s program (MSc) in Canada, and I will complete my current program on December 2018. I will start my PhD program in different university (McGill) but have to start from September 2019 because of their strange differential fee waiver system which is only applied for the international students starting their program from Fall term, not for the students starting from January (Winter) or May (Spring/summer). I need to get differential fee waiver otherwise whole amount of tuition is too much for me even though it can be covered partially by supervisor’s funding support.

My question is, am I, as an international student, eligible to work as Research Assistant in potential supervisor’s lab for about three months before starting my PhD on September ’19? I will still have valid Study permit with Social Insurance Number, and I don’t want to apply for work permit just for working for 3 months or so.

Thanks very much in advance!

Recently in a conference, I met a professor from an esteemed university and head of a research group I have been following. I told him about my research and he gave me his email address (though I could easily find it over the web, he personally wrote it down for me). He told me to write to him and he will direct me to his post-doc and see how we can collaborate. His research group has some testing facilities I would love to work with.

The following is the email I am aiming to write to him. Any corrections and/or suggestions will be highly appreciated.

Dear Professor XYZ,

Hope you are doing fine. We met at ABC conference, in TTT a couple of
days ago. I introduced myself as the PHD student at 123 University and
expressed my willingness to work on a collaborative project with your
research group (utilizing your practical testbed for DDD project).

First of all, I appreciate the time you spent with me, and the opportunity
to introduce myself, my research, and my interest in utilizing your
testing facilities. Second, I would like your advice on how I can further proceed to initiate a collaboration between your research facilities and our RRR research group.

I will wait for your reply.

Thanks again,


I am a recent fresh graduate who came from math and physics. Recently (< 4 weeks), I’ve taken on a junior research role in a research institute within a University.
This particularly university – and those in this country – have extremely strong collaborations with industry partners so work in Universities in this country is divided into pure/ fundamental research and industry-driven research. The University houses corporate research labs.

The project I am working on right now is in the area of air traffic. I report to a fellow (academic title) who comes from industry who is only focused on research in operations/ convincing stakeholders and sponsors.
Research because everything he proposes and investigates are qualitative and conceptual without any justifications with mathematics in an area which presumably requires mathematical models to validate ideas.

Granted that I have been in this role for <4 weeks, I am miserable and I believe I will continue to feel so.

I believed I was overpromised.
I was promised that I would be working alongside professors to develop new mathematical models for air traffic.
It turns out I am the only person from math and physics. The rest are from engineering or industrial design field.

Much of my time would be involved with producing white papers and policy recommendations for management of future air traffic

3) I am pushed to pursue a PhD (comes with scholarship) which, with internal discussion, would allow me to move into a PhD program even with an average BSc grades since the director of the research institute is the PI for the PhD program.
However, my thesis would have to be in the area of air traffic.
My interest is in Abstract Algebra, Topology and Quantum mechanics and I’ll like to pursue this in a year or two time when I return back to University.

4) The fellow I report too is really a project manager in disguise. Every discussions with him mainly revolves around stakeholder expectations and targeted objectives.

A good case scenario is this: He engages a visiting scholar who has done a PhD thesis in air traffic modelling, look to see how the idea in the thesis could be extended to specific circumstances (without much modification to the mathematical model in the thesis) for national interest before suggesting a feasibility write up on why this works.
From here, it is already obvious that nothing of substance could be published in respectable journals.

I am afraid that my current research role will not provide me with a stronger exposure to math or physics in the fundamental sense.

What is the best course of action?

Warning: The following are stupid questions. (Read in Kiefer Sutherland’s voice)

Question 1 Is it weird or stupid to apply for a research assistant post at some university or research institute, and not a company in industry, with the purpose to gain research experience to boost profile for graduate studies, and why/why not?

  • I think it could be weird or stupid for the same reason why you shouldn’t mention potential graduate study plans during job interviews.

  • Then again, my understanding of research assistant posts is that they wouldn’t be for long term employment as is the case in industry, say, “research” analyst jobs in industry. Rather research assistant posts are usually on temporary contract. So, yeah, I am just doing this with the intention to apply for a PhD because I’m apparently not yet good enough to get into a PhD program.

  • Based on what I’ve read online, this is the baby version of a postdoc, so postdoc is to faculty applications as research assistant is to PhD applications.

Question 2 Who are the usual applicants of research assistant posts?

  • I can’t think of any applicants for research assistant posts besides people exactly in my situation: wants to go to grad school, is waiting in some process of grad school applications (for the application period to start, for the results of application to come out or, for those already accepted, for the semester to start) or wants to boost profile for grad school. Please enlighten for other cases.

Question 3 What’s the difference between a research assistant post and an internship in industry?

  • I think I recall seeing some research assistant posts that pay as much as a full time job in industry, so I’m guessing research assistant posts are not necessarily simply academic versions of internships in industry. I think things like this are academic versions of internships in industry. But my understanding is that they are both short-term. I guess a research assistant post would be analogous to a temporary contract job in industry.

Question 4 To confirm, if research assistant posts are indeed on temporary contract or short-term, is there indeed a risk for someone to quit their regular full time industry job hoping that a research assistant post will boost their grad school application profile?


  • Since I graduated master’s in 2015-6, I started work as a maths teacher at a branch of a company that is something like Kumon. I guess I haven’t done research there.

  • I’m waiting for results for PhD/MPhil applications for 2018-9. I already got rejected for one (well technically I’m not on the list of applicants who got initially offered admission, so I guess I could still be accepted if others on the list back out), and I think I’ll be rejected for others.

  • For 2019-20 applications, I am thinking to boost my profile by, among others, working as a research assistant, either full time or part time. In the former case, I’ll have to quit my job. In the latter case, I think I can downgrade to part time.

The following are related questions:

How can I improve my research experience for PhD application?

How to boost academic profile for Master's application

How to gain research experience after master program?

If I cannot get sufficient recommendation letters, what can I do?

***I was referred here from gradcafe.com as you all are older and more experienced in graduate level academics

So I am in a good yet bad pickle between two graduate programs and I don’t know what to do. So I will give you all the run-down of everything to give you the whole picture.

I have applied to Louisiana State University, Southern Illinois University, and University of Kentucky for a MS in Animal Science.

LSU – I fell in love with and my POI seemed great when I visited. And his students had nothing but good things to say about him. Another benefit is I would be his only grad student come Fall. When it comes to an assistantship he never formally gave me an offer, but it was implied. So I applied and got recommended for admission by the department – without funding. I told the POI this and he was upset for me and is talking to the school director on my behalf because he has funding for me from what he’s told me. I was also accepted by the school overall for admission! yay! I just can’t accept until I know directly about funding as I cannot afford LSU as an out-of-state student without going into heavy debt. The POI said he’s trying his best, the school director is a busy man currently so getting a hold of him is difficult.

UK – I have heard nothing from them, but I am not really upset. my POI there said he would love to have me, but he’s full on students atm. He seemed great.

SIU – This was my fall-back school as it is in-state for me. The POI loved me from the start it seemed as I have research experience and she like my writing in my review paper. She gave me a partially funded offer (Summer, Fall) and I would have to cover the rest. But she gave me the added bonus of probably getting me defended and out a semester early to save $. But I would have to start right away after graduating with my BS this May. She seemed really positive and encouraging to me, I just think she is assuming I am coming there currently as she has “everything a go” for me to start this Summer.

The pickle part is I think she forgot I applied to other schools, as she is/was aware of LSU, and she wants to do a phone conference with me soon to plan Summer right away. But I don’t know how to tell her I am waiting on another school (specifically, my dream offer), or how to tell the LSU POI I need to hear ASAP and I am being pulled two different directions. I just don’t want to give her false hopes, or hold out for LSU and wind up with no funding there then have nothing.

I really do not know what to do. Like I said its a somewhat good problem as I am between schools, just not in a beneficial way.