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Research paralysis -- moving past: "what's the point?"

I'm writing what promises to be the last parts of my dissertation but am not handling the important and most basic questions well. How do I stay sane and somewhat productive in uncertain times? (longish details within) [more inside]
posted by wallawallasweet on Jul 7, 2014 - 6 answers

how can I kindly reject PhD students?

I have just begun as an assistant professor in the humanities at a prestigious university, and I am getting more emails from prospective PhD candidates than I can handle, gracefully or otherwise. I am presently a total n00b (read: incompetent at my job) and can't realistically take more than one a year. But I have no idea how to deal with these emails. Any suggestions on how to handle them, from anyone in similar but wiser positions? Agonized details below. [more inside]
posted by starcrust on Jun 30, 2014 - 21 answers

Turns of phrase for thesis defense. Help!

Defending my thesis next week and need help with turns of phrase to kick off complicated answers to difficult questions. Have flopped in conferences past. [more inside]
posted by hollypolly on May 27, 2014 - 11 answers

Posthumous PhD

Do you know of anyone who received a posthumous PhD? How was the graduation ceremony handled? Who accepted the degree on their behalf? And, where were they in terms of their dissertation -- already filed, soon to file with a few revisions, etc.? [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on May 20, 2014 - 11 answers

What to expect as part of a university hiring committee

My anthro department will hire a new PhD student and invited me to be on the committee as I am a potential supervisor for this individual. But as a relatively new prof myself, I am not sure how these things work. What tips can you suggest to help me seem like I know what I am doing? [more inside]
posted by mateuslee on May 11, 2014 - 5 answers

Migrating to Medicine from Computer Science

I did my Bachelors (in Computer Science) in India and Masters in Computer Science in USA. I now intend to migrate to medical field and aspire to do a PhD or an MD in psychiatry or any other branch of study in medicine. Can anyone tell me if there are any premier institutes in India or abroad that might have my credentials as an eligibility criterion for an admission? Thanks in advance! [more inside]
posted by godugu on Apr 21, 2014 - 8 answers

Rebranding or repairing a broken PhD student

This seems to be a week for academia-related questions. I am an ABD student in the humanities at a prestigious university. The job prospects in my field are grim, and they are grimmer still for me because I have not performed well in my program. My history is one of late papers, lingering incompletes, delayed time to qualifying exams, and poor rapport with faculty. I am in the beginning stages of writing a dissertation that I know will serve me no real purpose. So what do I do now? [more inside]
posted by redfishbluefish on Apr 8, 2014 - 16 answers

Non-academic career options for PhDs?

My partner is finishing a PhD in a social science next year and is unsure about staying in academia. Have any MeFites been in a similar position? [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Apr 6, 2014 - 11 answers

PhD-level conservation careers for maximum real-world impact

I'm in a PhD program pursuing a degree in conservation biology. When I finish (and possibly after completing a postdoc or two) I'd like to end up in a job where I can maximize my real-world conservation impact. I'd like to hear some suggestions on how I can do that; lots more detail to be found inside, as well as my reasoning on the subject so far. [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Mar 18, 2014 - 5 answers

How to take scientific notes efficiently?

What is the best way to take grad level notes that feature tons of text, math equations and diagrams, during class, while reading books, and while reading research? Ability to search and organize a huge plus! Digital or non-digital solutions considered. [more inside]
posted by Riton on Mar 18, 2014 - 13 answers

The Mid-PhD Crisis

Hi Hivemind, I'm currently enrolled in a PhD program for statistics and operations research, and in two more years I can grab that PhD. Alternatively, I can jump ship now with a MS, headed for the (inviting/inevitable) waters of industry. Knowing that I have no interest in staying in academia, give me some motivation to finish. Or, tell me to quit because actual work experience is more valuable! What roles should I be looking at other than Data Scientist? Would it be feasible to get a position doing private research, and would that be awesome? Bonus points if you can tell me what skills I should be cultivating to be hire-able (software engineering)? P.S. I will also do some more chatting with profs and former students to figure out how I should be directing myself, but I hope the HiveMind can provide some complementary ideas.
posted by zscore on Feb 16, 2014 - 11 answers

CS academia vs. industry, with snowflakes

I'm graduating this spring with an undergrad degree in computer science, and I'm lucky enough to have two great postgrad opportunities on the table. But how to choose between a safe and enjoyable industry job vs. attempting the grad school grind to (maybe hopefully) do what I love? [more inside]
posted by serelliya on Feb 15, 2014 - 10 answers

Need a mentor for the application process to Clinical Psych PhD programs

I am doing a post-bac program in Psychology and hoping to apply to a Clinical Psychology PhD program (I know that for practitioner focus, PsyD's are recommended but FUNDING IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME. I have already gone into ~$100K of debt to do this post bac program as a result of career change. If there are PsyD programs that provide funding I would be into that too. Just looking to shape a strategy here). I want to know how I can find a mentor who can give me good advice through this process because I'm kind of at a loss when thinking about and structuring my approach to applying. [more inside]
posted by bengalibelle on Jan 24, 2014 - 5 answers

From ABD to MD

Leaving academia and going into medicine: when to jump ship? [more inside]
posted by oinopaponton on Jan 12, 2014 - 15 answers

Rethinking being a PhD candidate: whether, when, how, why, & what next?

I am a doctoral candidate and have become increasingly convinced that I no longer want an academic job, and possibly not a PhD either. When/how do I tell my supervisor? (Particulars inside, and apologies in advance about the length.) [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 10, 2014 - 15 answers

Exiting Academia

I just finished up my third semester of a PhD program in information studies. There are parts I like, but as I get deeper into it I'm beginning to realize that those aren't in the majority to the parts I dislike. I have a masters in Library and Information Science and have been keeping an eye on job openings and it seems like there are a number that I would be a great fit for. I'm remembering how much I liked the job when I was in it, and I'd like to exit academia before sinking too much time into it. However, my GAship is providing a steady salary and health benefits. How do I do this in a way that works out well for both me and my adviser? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 2, 2014 - 7 answers

Transitioning from academia back to a former job

I'm coming to think that, while I don't hate academia, I'm beginning to like it less and less and have apprehensions about continuing through to my dissertation. I'm in my second year of the PhD program, and have a masters with practical application in the field that I was working in before deciding to continue on to my PhD. The place where I was working, a public library, is now hiring for a position similar to the one that I was in before I left. Typically my master's degree would command a higher salary, and I think I would probably need a little bit more than what they're offering to live comfortably and start paying down my extant debt accrued during my masters (I'm not taking on any new loans, thankfully). I left on great terms, and feel like a really strong candidate for the job with the skills I've gained in the interim, but would only be able to take it with slightly higher salary than they offer now. I loved this job, and it's looking more and more appealing compared to my current experience in academia. What steps should I take to contact the HR department of the library system to a) let them know that I'm interested and suss out how interested they might be in me, and b) talk about flexibility in salary? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 28, 2013 - 2 answers

Therapist in midtown Manhattan? Software; life changes?

Are you/were you a software developer or PhD researcher who is or was having horrific career issues? Do you/did you really like your therapist? [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on Dec 16, 2013 - 2 answers

Should I give my student a gift to celebrate her PhD? If so, what?

This is a gift question, but not holiday related. Still, MeFi is full of experts.... So, my first PhD student just successfully defended, and I am very proud of her. The question is whether to give her a gift, and if so, what.... [more inside]
posted by JMOZ on Dec 15, 2013 - 20 answers

I just got my masters in Biophysics and want to leave. Should I?

I'm in a Ph. D. program in Biophysics. I'm getting paid to be here. I've joined a lab and finished the classes, but I still have at least 2 and a half long years of research to go. I don't care for my project, I don't care for the town I'm in, and I don't even know if I care about science anymore. Finally someone noticed and I've been told I need to step up my game. [more inside]
posted by Archibald Edmund Binns on Dec 12, 2013 - 22 answers

LCSWs and Psychology Ph.Ds, tell me about yourself

I'm looking for current LCSW and Clinical/Counseling Psychology PhD holders to give me "real life" information on the pros and cons of each degree. [more inside]
posted by metacognition on Nov 11, 2013 - 14 answers

Am I too old (51) to go to grad school?

I have been thinking about getting my pHD—for a couple of reasons. Though I am a very well-established and published non-fiction author, I have been up for a few teaching positions lately and have been told that my lack of an advanced degree (I have a BA) is holding me back. In addition, I simply am interested in going deeper with my work; the degree I am considering is in geography, though history of science also intrigues me. The question: am I crazy to be thinking of this at my age? I don't want to get a degree strictly as a "broadening my knowledge" proposition—I want to be able to use it and to teach. But we're seriously talking being the oldest guy in the class, most likely. So, my questions: is it worthwhile? will it help me find employment teaching? does my existing experience count for anything? and where do I start? Thoughts, answers, advice...all appreciated. Thanks.
posted by soulbarn on Nov 11, 2013 - 23 answers

Should I get a PhD?

I'm about to finish an MPA. I find myself very drawn to a PhD in Urban Studies. Is this a bad idea? [more inside]
posted by anotheraccount on Nov 4, 2013 - 8 answers

Funding for PhD student attending an overseas academic conference?

I am a criminology PhD student based in London and have been invited to present at a conference in Tampa, Florida next year. The conference is perfect for my area of research; the only thing is neither my university nor the hosting institution can provide funding to cover my travel expenses. Are there any other bodies that might be able to provide some funding?
posted by PhDStudent on Oct 7, 2013 - 6 answers

Academics: Explain open-access publishing in your discipline!

I'd like to know more about SSRN, Arxiv, PLOS, and other open-access publishing platforms and how they work in your discipline. Do you publish in them? Do they keep you from publishing in other (more prestigious) journals later? Etc. [more inside]
posted by carolinaherrera on Oct 1, 2013 - 9 answers

Too late to begin applying for PhD program in Sociology for this fall?

Or should I wait until Fall 2014 to apply? [more inside]
posted by black_lizard on Sep 25, 2013 - 14 answers

My PhD lab is still paying me post-graduation-Should my CV say postdoc?

I graduated with a biochem PhD a month or so ago. As is common practice at my institution - my thesis advisor offered me a few months of additional funding to finish up some papers while I hunt for industry jobs. Formally, I now have a post-doc appointment and salary, but I'm not actually taking on any new projects or doing any new science, nor do I have funding to stay her for more than another month or two. How should this look on my resume? I'm only applying to industry positions, not to academic positions or proper post-docs. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 9, 2013 - 11 answers

How can I pursue a masters or pHD in Canada if I'm working a 9-5 job?

It's a huge hassle for anyone who has a 9-5 job and no savings to pursue a masters or a pHD in a reputable/respectable college or university, no matter what country s/he's in. If that's my case, how can I make it work if I live in Toronto, Canada? (I'm interested in reading your thoughts and experiences even if they're not about Toronto per se).
posted by omar.a on Sep 7, 2013 - 11 answers

Having the PhD Cake and Eating the Friendsloversandeverythingelse Cake

What do people do when they have to move for their PhD but don't want to leave their old life behind? [more inside]
posted by fishingforthewhale on Aug 29, 2013 - 14 answers

Frustrated beyond beleif

I am in the last year of my PhD. My supervisor keeps canceling meetings last minute due to a number of personal events occurring (i.e. his life seems like a lifestyle movie) and my patience is wearing thin. My project has greatly slowed down - not sure what to do anymore. [more inside]
posted by sabina_r on Aug 13, 2013 - 15 answers

Are PhD's More Intellectual?

Obviously higher education is excellent and should be supported by those who have the want, desire, or ability to obtain a doctorate. The question however that was thrown on me the other night was that a PhD and a friend would have trouble conversing about politics and humanity because they are more intellectual. Thoughts?
posted by profiledefenders on Jul 28, 2013 - 37 answers

Teach me how to narrow down my dissertation topic

I am working on a PhD and in the middle of research methods classes. It's time for me to really narrow down my PhD topic/research question so that I can start focusing my assignments on my actual topic instead of random stuff. How exactly do I take my "big ideas" and give them some laser-like focus? [more inside]
posted by MultiFaceted on Jul 11, 2013 - 13 answers

What kind of help should I expect from my dissertation chair?

My social sciences dissertation proposal defense went pretty badly, and it makes me think that I need more help than my dissertation chair will provide. Are my expectations for feedback reasonable, or not? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 2, 2013 - 11 answers

Yet another "Should I stay in grad school?" question...

...but this time there is a newborn baby! This fall I will begin my 5th year in an English PhD program. I have been ambivalent about staying in my program pretty much since the first year, but have always come down on the side of staying in, even though I long ago decided I don't want to even try to become an English professor. Three weeks ago my husband and I had a baby, and that is making me less confident I want to continue. I need some help sorting this out. [more inside]
posted by apricot on Jun 9, 2013 - 7 answers

Post grad student resources - what do y'all need?

Provided those needs are cheap, and can be provided on a website run by your Faculty. [more inside]
posted by b33j on Jun 2, 2013 - 8 answers

New baby + diss defense, can this math work?

Wrapping up a pregnancy and a dissertation at the same time. Given the inherent badness of this idea, when is the least ill-advised time to schedule my defense? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 28, 2013 - 15 answers

tech recruiter for a phd?

I'm lacking direction in my job hunt. Can you recommend a specific tech recruiter? [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on May 28, 2013 - 5 answers

How can I get my advisor to set my date?

Not sure what to say to my M.S. thesis adviser (formerly my Ph.D advisor) or prospective interviewers on when I can leave academia and start a real job. [more inside]
posted by permiechickie on May 13, 2013 - 10 answers

another PhD drop out thread

Considering dropping out of 1st year humanities PhD program. Terrified of starving on the streets. Help? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 12, 2013 - 21 answers

Rebuilding shattered self-confidence after grad school?

So, now I've got a PhD. But I'm crippled by zero self-confidence as I start applying to industry jobs. Did you rebuild your self-confidence after a PhD? [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on May 9, 2013 - 17 answers

Big life changes and feeling unsettled

Do I need professional help or just time? I've been feeling anxious and stressed for the past three months, and I'm having a hard time parsing if this is due to this being an exceptionally...erm...challenging point in my life or if some sort of anxiety or depression has settled on me. [more inside]
posted by brambory on May 6, 2013 - 8 answers

Recommend me an app to organise my PDFs.

I'm a PhD student and a typical day involves downloading and reading through lots of journal articles and eBooks. I store these locally on a MacBook. I am looking for something akin to the native Finder app, but which offers separate columns for "Author", "Title", "Year" and so on, as well as tags (very important). I have dabbled with Papers2 and Endnote, and a couple of "Finder"alternatives, but these either (A) duplicate the PDF files and save them elsewhere, or (B) don't offer the author/title/year etc. columns. Is there anything that will do what I'm looking for?
posted by FuckingAwesome on May 1, 2013 - 19 answers

PhD thesis woes - what do I tell my supervisor?

I am in the final year of my PhD. I suffered from many months of depression and an inability to get my writing done in a timely fashion. I am now playing catch-up. I have a telephone appointment with my supervisor next week, and wonder if and how I should disclose the difficulty I faced, and am still facing. I don't want to burden her with my personal issues. How do I, or should I, discuss this? How do I regain her faith in me? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 28, 2013 - 11 answers

Finished PhD; informally meeting with a prof in a different field?

Just got a PhD, don't have a new position lined up, meeting a prof, no obvious goal for conversation, have questions. [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on Apr 22, 2013 - 8 answers

PhD dropout

I'm dropping out of a PhD program in a social science with only a masters degree. I need a real job. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 17, 2013 - 15 answers

What programming language should I learn in order to freelance?

This Fall I will be starting a PhD in the social sciences. Because of my research interests/subfield, I will have to know the ins and outs of statistical software like R, Stata, and SAS. Can this knowledge enable me to freelance for some supplemental income or should I being learning another programming language? [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Mar 19, 2013 - 13 answers

Day in The Life of a professor or research scientist

I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on the daily experience of a university researcher in either psychology or the basic sciences as well as a meta-review of the job as a whole. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Mar 14, 2013 - 5 answers

Online Work Tracking Solutions for PhD student writing buddies?

There seems to be huge number of online work/project tracking/logging programs out there, but they are mostly designed for small businesses and freelancers (e.g. focussed on invoicing) and charge by the month. I've seen a few that look OK like Toggl and Slimtimer but none that seems ideal for my needs yet. Can anyone recommend ones (ideally free and with the ability to track different tasks & share that tracking/logging) that are easy to use, have decent functionality, and would be good for 2 friends working on writing their PhD theses and would like to try and help each other keep track of how much work they're doing? [more inside]
posted by zresearch on Mar 10, 2013 - 6 answers

Looking out from the ivory tower

I am a 5th year PhD student in Pharmacology. In two years or less I (universe willing) will graduate, with a good handful of first author papers. I also have an MS in biochemistry and two years of lab manager/technician experience in a university setting. I want to know (exactly) what jobs are available to me post graduation that meet the following requirements: 1.) 45 hours a week or less; 2.) 65k a year or more; 3) health benefits and reasonable vacation time. Please respond with as much detail as possible.
posted by corn_bread on Mar 7, 2013 - 8 answers

Economics Grad school?

What are my chances of getting into a decent economics grad program with a math degree with a "meh" GPA (3.2ish), a law degree with a pretty good GPA (3.7+), and a high GRE quantitative score (790)? Also, how much does the prestige (rank) of grad program matter in the economics field? [more inside]
posted by Geppp on Mar 7, 2013 - 11 answers

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