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 work at a midwestern university in a very small department in a specialised field in the Humanities. I’ve been working here as a non-tenure track assistant professor, and have been offered a TT position.
I genuinely dislike the place I live in, not for aesthetic or social reasons, but because I have experienced racial harassment fairly consistently since last year (the area is extremely conservative, and does not look kindly on difference of any kind. I’m brown, female and immigrant). It got so bad I had to file a police report against someone who had been harassing me at my apartment. That’s not the only instance, though. I’ve been abused on the streets and told to ‘Go back home where I come from, you b*&T*h’ while out running. Among other things.

I was offered an extension on my non-TT contract a while back and would give anything to go back to the non-TT track with the possibility of leaving for another TT position outside the university after an undoubtedly difficult application season or two.

I’m happy to continue working here, as I like teaching here, but I can’t do this for another 20 years, which is what my department head talks about when he refers to the tenure track. I don’t think I can live or work here for that long, no matter how nice it is to be wanted in the department. I’ve tried approaching him with a long list of the encounters I’ve had here, and he seems genuinely nice, but also said that there is nothing he can do, which I understand. Most faculty I discuss this with keep telling me to ‘forget the racism, it’s just a few idiots’. I can’t be quite that sanguine about it. They don’t seem to understand the psychological effects of living in a place where you run the risk of harassment every time you step out of the house.

And yes, I get that the market is bad. By dint and design, however, I work on a rather niche subject which IS rather marketable.

I am rather anxious about taking this offer, and was wondering what to do. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.

Usually in United States, three letters of recommendation are required by graduate schools but some applicants might ask more than more than three professors (say five) for letters. In this situation, there might be an issue of choosing whose-letter-to-which-school.

I wonder whether it is appropriate to ask each referee at which schools or departments they are relatively more well-known (having connections or interactions with professors in there) so that their letters are more powerful in there.

If it is not appropriate to do so, are there any efficient ways for students to determine to which schools should they send a certain professor’s letter?

I am a little awkward with my grammar in this question (including the title). Please feel free to edit my question if you are a native speaker of English. Thank you very much!

I am an M.A student of American Studies,I am wondering of writing a thesis on US-China relation and its impact on Iran’s nuclear deal,but I faced with problem on narrowing down the title,I would be appreciate if sb help me of the new and recent perspectives on this issue that I can focus on them and develop my thesis,such as the new theories on nuclear diplomacy,the recent fields and capabilities in Sino-US relations that worth doing research on.

I was accepted into a US PhD program and then switched to the MSc due to personal reasons. After I got the MSc I wanted to continue to the PhD but then I was told that I have already graduated and was no longer a student there and I should reapply for the following term (spring 2018). So, I could no longer mantain my F1 visa status and had to leave the US.

I have written some emails to the new graduate studies director but they do not repply to me.

I want to reapply but only if I have a good chance to go back. For me it is very expensive and difficult to do so from abroad, especially for the currency exchange rate.

And as far as I know, there are top applicants from Russia and Germany. And I do not know if I will be even considered.

What should I do? How should I approach to the graduate committe?

By the way, I already passed my three PhD qualifying exams. But I stil have no replies to my emails.

I have an equal opportunity to pursue my PhD in chemistry in the United States or United Kingdom. As I investigated, the educations systems are different (correct me if I’m wrong):


  • BSc: 4-year coursework
  • MSc: 1-year coursework + 1-year research
  • PhD: 2-year coursework + 2-year research


  • BSc: 3-year coursework

  • MSc: (it can be) 2-year research

  • PhD: 4-year research

In all programs I checked, a master degree is required for the PhD admission (I think it is the standard for chemistry).

My ultimate goal is to continue in academia and I anticipate that I need 3-4 years of postdoc before applying for a faculty position. Since the UK system is more research active, I thought a research degree can be more helpful to get a postdoc position (I anticipate I can publish more papers during 4 years as opposed to two years of research in the US).

In general, I am fascinated by the research-oriented system in UK and I prefer it to coursework, but it can be my misconception only. This is the reason that I ask this question to avoid any illusion.

Disclaimer: I know that a PhD program may take longer and each university may have different programs to offer. These numbers are just standard averages for the sake of comparison.

From Stanford’s admissions page:

My mathematics background isn’t that strong. Should I still apply?

A strong mathematics background, especially in probability, statistics and linear
algebra, is important in the admission process. However, it is not the only factor that determines which applicants are admitted. You may consider strengthening your math background and applying later, or just hope that factors such as breadth or research experience will compensate for a relatively weak math background.

My math background isn’t “weak” per se, but I assume they are talking about a much stronger level of mathematics than I might have on the gradesheets of my MS and bachelor’s programmes. I do take an interest in mathematics, and I try to study several concepts related to stats and math (eg., Machine Learning).

However, how can I prove this? I have done well in courses related to Machine Learning and Probability, and have taken courses in Real Analysis and Linear Algebra (and there is of course overlap in all four of those areas), but how can I say “I also read stuff because I like it”? I guess one way would be to ask a professor in the stats dept. to guide me through some research and then make them assess me, but how else can I show that I have “strengthened my background”?

Also, is a background in machine learning, signal processing and computer science in general considered for these admissions?

My question is about a situation that nobody wants to see but might have already happened in history (I have heard of this only from some second-hand sources). I ask this because there are people in here who are serving or have served on a graduate school admissions committee and would like to hear their thoughts.

Suppose during the admissions process a department secretary or a professor on the committee receives some emails accusing an applicant of academic misconduct. In most cases, such letters could be forged by the writer (out of jealousy or enmity) and usually they don’t come from official email addresses.

I wonder how such letters will be regarded in the admission process. Would the committee inform the applicant of this and let them explain it or would they contact the institute of the applicant to verify or disprove the claims?