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Everything posted by juilletmercredi

  1. The answer is probably "a lot." More than you're used to reading, most likely. It can vary a lot from program to program: in my public health department - which was based in the social sciences, mostly sociology and anthropology - we routinely had about 4-6 main reading assignments that were each usually between 20 and 40 pages, plus some secondary/extra reading assignments that usually fell in around the same page range, maybe slightly shorter. So usually somewhere between 100 and 200 main pages a week. That was for one class, but it was definitely the heaviest class. My psychology classes had far less assigned reading - maybe 3-4 articles, but psychology articles are also typically shorter, so I'd say maybe closer to like 60-100 for those classes? The exact number doesn't matter: it's a lot of reading. You'll need to read faster, of course, but also get really good at active skimming. You won't actually read everything you're assigned to read; you'll read some of it and skim the rest. The key is learning how to quickly identify what you can skim and what you need to read - both between pieces and within pieces (there are some paragraphs or sections within an article that maybe you should read closely! And others you can just skim). The only way to really learn it is to practice, so in the time between now and grad school - if you have some downtime and are looking for something to do - try reading some articles, books, monographs, etc. (whatever your field regularly publishes) and building this skill.
  2. At most universities, people who are denied tenure get a "terminal year"; since academic hiring works on the academic calendar, it's usually an opportunity for the professor to at least have employment while looking for another job. So, if your university is like most other universities, your advisor's final year will coincide with your final year. She will, however, be very busy - and in the spring of your fifth year, will likely be traveling a lot to do on-campus interviews. Usually, what happens in these situations is that your old advisor technically becomes your outside reader for your dissertation, but in practice still serves as a primary advisor. Then you find another professor in the department who can serve as your technical primary advisor and chair of your committee, but in practice will be a regular committee member. If you have concerns, approach your advisor and talk to her. You don't have to say that you're worried she won't get tenure. However, certainly every academic knows that tenure denial is a possibility, so you can say that you want to talk about the potentiality.
  3. I saw no purpose for joining ResearchGate, as you can access all of their full-text articles without logging in. All their accounts seemed good for was spamming me with a whole lot of emails. Academia.org is less-used in my fields (psychology and public health), so less useful.
  4. Typically, no, they don't. Some universities have add-on packages you can purchase - for example, at Columbia, dental was an additional $250 a year on top of the student health insurance. I don't remember how I had vision coverage in graduate school; I think that was also an additional package. I needed to purchase that because I wear glasses.
  5. If you are looking for academic employment, most employers are actually going to want more than one reference letter. You can, of course, opt not to use your primary advisor as a reference letter writer. It will look a little bit odd, and many departments may wonder why you chose not to. But I think this situation is common enough, and if you have glowing references from three other writers who know you well, that will mitigate the issue. (And yes, some departments will reach out to your primary advisor regardless of what letters you provide.) For non-academic employers, this is less weird.
  6. What kind of "data processing software"? Are you talking about statistical packages? Most laptops in that range should be more than capable of handling statistical packages these days, especially if you opt for 8 GB of RAM. You're not going to find a Mac in the $500-1000 range. Not a new one, anyway. I got an HP Spectre x360 several years ago for $800, and it ran Stata like butter. There are some good Lenovo machines in that price range, too. I replaced my HP recently with a Surface Laptop, which I love, and is super lightweight, and also plenty powerful enough for a statistical package. There are good Toshiba and Asus machines in the price range as well.
  7. Well, let me begin by saying: I don't think pursuing a graduate degree is a huge risk. Employment data shows that people with graduate degrees have lower unemployment rates and overall higher average salaries than people without them. Parsing it farther, the unemployment rate for doctoral degree holders is very low - somewhere around 2%. Pursuing a graduate degree is a risk IF you consider your only viable career option to be academia, as a tenure-track professor in your field. If you think more expansively, it's actually not that risky an endeavor. However, I have to say that I heartily disagree with Mexal. Sure sure, a PhD allows a person to more deeply study a field and contribute to a particular field of inquiry. And that's all fine and good, if one were independently wealthy and did not need to feed themselves or their families with work. For everyone else, graduate school should be seen as a means to an end - and one shouldn't pursue the degree unless they intend to do something with it that requires or strongly recommends it. (Or, alternatively, if they go in with eyes wide open that their PhD program is just a 7-year diversion and they are fine with the idea of doing something that doesn't require it later.) I have to say that I have a lot of disdain for current professors (as Mexal is) trying to extend/preserve their way of life by repurposing graduate school away from preparation for a tenure-track position in academia to being just about strong interest in a field. Most professors certainly don't act as if preparing their students for a TT position isn't the goal. It's also disingenuous: most professors know that most students who enter PhD programs do so intending to be tenure-track professors in the field. More insidiously, though, is that in my eyes that repurposing is a selfish and frankly exploitative move by these professors: they need PhD students to teach their freshman service classes so that they can spend time on their scholarship and teaching the upper-level 12-student seminars. I'm fine with PhDs being seen not only as a vehicle for TT jobs if and only if there are other positions that ask for a PhD in certain fields, or would strongly benefit from one. I work in an industry that hires a lot of PhDs in the computer, mathematical, and engineering sciences and quite a few in the social and behavioral sciences. But if someone came to me tomorrow and said they wanted to be a UX researcher, should they go get a PhD? I'm not sure I'd say yes. I'd tell them to start with a master's in HCI and see where they could get from there.
  8. Try working backwards to create a timeline for yourself. Let's just call it early November; you have 5.5 months to transcribe, analyze, and write. That's plenty of time but only if you're focused and do a little each day. You can transcribe interviews yourself. It's a pain in the butt, but honestly, it's a good skill to practice/have and it helps you get really close to your interviews. You may want to consider buying a transcription foot pedal from Amazon (it allows you to stop the recording with your foot while your hands finish the thought; you make fewer errors that way). Let's say that if you've never transcribed before, the interviews will each take you a full day's work - so 8-9 hours - to transcribe. Then that's 9 working days on the interviews. Let's add a little time for each hour of audio for the focus group - since you'll have to separate voices and such - so let's say that will take you 4-5 working days to transcribe. We're at 14 working days, which let's say is about 3 work weeks, excluding the weekends. SO let's say it'll take you to the end of November to transcribe your interviews, particularly if you take time off for Thanksgiving. Then the analysis. It's a little harder to estimate how long that'll take you, especially given that you're new - it depends on your data and your thesis topic. My opinion is that you don't have to practice on other data first; I don't think there's anything wrong with practicing on your interview data. Your first set of codes and themes is supposed to be messy - that's true whether you're a whiz at grounded theory or brand new. Most researchers take much longer to code the first 2-3 interviews and the codes are messy and sprawling, and then after they get into a rhythm, they revisit the first 2-3 interviews and recode/fix/whatever based on what they've learned. There's not really a set of hard-and-fast rules to it, and they're going to kind of evolve anyway depending on the data, so my choice wouldn't be to work on another set of data. But everyone learns differently. Given that you have 4.5 months left after subtracting about a month for transcribing, I'd say try to compress the analysis to 2 months so you have 2.5 months to write and turn in your thesis. That's a very tight timeline, and it depends on how long your thesis has to be. But it's doable.
  9. Might be your location? When I search 'Advisory Board' they're the first result, but likely because I've clicked on them before. https://www.advisory.com/careers
  10. Yes, while I advocating getting through a PhD in a timely manner, a PhD is also a marathon and not a sprint. It's better to take a longer time and set yourself up for career success than it is to rush through only to find yourself having to spend all the time you "saved" in postdocs. I'd advocate for applying to those top programs in your field you're already planning, and see what happens in admissions. Many other programs offer the three-paper option to students, and sometimes you can edit or beef up a paper you published previously (regardless of what program you were in when it happened) to include in your dissertation. Also, somewhat paradoxically, getting a postdoc at a prestigious institution is a lot easier if you have a PhD from a prestigious institution.
  11. A program can be a cash cow and still be very good. Columbia's EALAC program is definitely a cash cow (very expensive; financial aid offers are rare) but Columbia's East Asian studies departments are some of the best in the world. That also doesn't mean you won't get attention and advising from your professors or professional benefit from getting the MA. So the question is, are you wondering what programs are bad quality and expensive, or are you just wondering which programs don't offer a lot of financial aid? Area studies master's programs often are cash cows for universities, because they do tend to be expensive and don't tend to offer a whole lot of funding or aid. But that doesn't mean that an area studies master's isn't right for your particular career goals.
  12. Why do you want examples of rejected GRFP proposals? Alex Lang (https://www.alexhunterlang.com/nsf-fellowship) has a listing of successful GRFP proposals, and a few of those do have links to previous years' unsuccessful proposals or to the proposals of Honorable Mentions. I'm not sure that thinking of all the things you could've done better or may not realize that you did poorly will keep your mind at ease. Moreover, while some unsuccessful proposals are clearly not competitive, there are other unsuccessful proposals that were really good and didn't get an award simply because the competition is fierce.
  13. That kind of stuff can indeed go on your CV, often as 'press coverage' or 'media coverage'. I would include them, because as you say, they can go to count towards communicating science to the public. And yes, you should still list presentations on which you are an author but did not present yourself. It's generally understood that only the first author of presentations presents at a conference unless otherwise noted.
  14. I'm not sure I'm totally understanding your situation, but from what I do understand - yes, this is normal in psychology. In a psychology department, it's pretty normal for a student's funding to be tied to a combination of research and teaching. Even if you are not 'technically' on a research assistantship for a given term or semester, it's pretty common (and expected) for a student to be assisting their PI with research in the lab. This is how you learn to do research, and also how you get the data you need to present papers at conferences and ultimately write papers. It is rare for psychology PhD students to do independent research outside of their PI's lab. Usually your work, up to and including your dissertation research, is done under the auspices of the lab you belong to. In return, though, you usually coauthor papers with your PI and eventually work up to the point where you are first author on some papers.
  15. In private for-profit industry, you can certainly conduct research with an MA in sociology. Most researchers in the social sciences in industry hold master's degrees, actually. Companies vary a lot in their preference. Many top companies will prefer PhDs if they can get them, and they do tend to - but that doesn't mean they won't take an MA, especially one with experience. My team is made up of mostly PhDs (mostly in psychology and neuroscience) but we do have some folks with just an MA and even one or two with a BA only, albeit these people have many years of experience and are truly excellent at their jobs. You could also definitely conduct or assist with research in a hospital. You'll want to look at research coordinator positions - lots of researchers conducting clinical trials hire MA holders to do research tasks for them, especially research administration tasks. Sometimes the hospital has a whole research wing and the administration of such, as well as lower-level and intermediate research tasks, are done by MA (or MPH) holders. Often these positions are also called research associate, so I'd look that up. As someone else mentioned, you could also get research associate positions with think tanks like RTI or Mathematica. Research consultancies are another place to look; one place that comes to mind is Advisory Board, which hires master's holders as research associates.
  16. The caveat I would add, though, is to make sure you really can't learn that skill set in an industry position as you go along. If you know you want to go into industry, often you have time - or it's baked into your position - to learn skill sets that you don't already have, usually with the company's time and money. You'll be making way more money and gaining useful experience while learning that skill set. Sometimes a postdoc is the ideal way to do this, but sometimes you can do it on the job, so consider whether the skill you want to learn is something you really need a postdoc for.
  17. It's good that you are considering these things. Whether you can get financially secure depends on what that means to you and how much your partner makes. In a counseling psychology PhD program, you can probably expect to earn between $25K and $35K as a stipend. In most cities and college towns, that's enough to get by but not enough to set the world on fire in terms of investing, buying a home, saving for retirement, etc. You can travel in a doctoral program, too, but how much and to where depends a lot on your financial priorities and your partner's salary. You probably won't be taking twice-yearly trips to Europe - both in terms of time away from the program and your personal finances. As to whether you'll have free time to enjoy with your boyfriend - you will if you make time for it. You have to be very intentional about creating space for your personal life when you're in a doctoral program, as the doctoral program's work will expand to fill the space you allow it to fill. That may involve creating schedules and hard boundaries for yourself (like I ended my dissertation writing at around 6 pm each evening, no matter how much progress I'd made that day). I know one couple who was able to set themselves up well financially while one half was in a doctoral program, and had a child; but the other half was a software developer at a very large tech company known for high salaries. One goal for you to is to examine why you've been 'dreaming' of obtaining a PhD since undergrad. Why? What does that dream mean to you? Lots of people want PhDs for a variety of different reasons, but really the purpose of it is to get you to some career that requires or greatly benefits from having one. Do you want to be a counseling psychologist who sees clients and does therapy? Or do you want to be a psychology professor, and/or a researcher that uses psychology and psychological principles/methods? How important is it to you to have one of those jobs rather than another career that will make you happy and also give you more time, money, and energy to travel and achieve your financial goals? Really dig into yourself and think realistically about other careers you think you might also enjoy, and decide for yourself whether the PhD is more important to you than the other goals you have - or whether you're okay with delaying those other goals for the PhD program. For a personal anecdote: I did my PhD between ages 22 and 28, and after a postdoc for a year, I started my first full-time shortly after I turned 29. I've been here for a little over 3 years. On the one hand, I really love my job, and I wouldn't have gotten it without a PhD (I'm a researcher in the technology industry). I also did some things in graduate school that I likely wouldn't have easily done had I not gotten a PhD, including 7 years living in New York. On the other hand, I often reflect that I could've gotten a master's in another field I enjoyed - statistics; quantitative methods in the social sciences; even an MBA - and potentially spent those 6 years in my 20s making money, buying a house, having a wedding with the budget I wanted (rather than what I could afford since we were both in school), saving for retirement, traveling, and getting more financially secure. Those things were all delayed to my 30s, and now I'm in the position where I would like to have children soon but I don't feel like I've done most of the things I would've liked to have done before I had children (mostly saving, traveling, and buying a house). But back on the same first hand, I make a lot more money now with my PhD than I probably would've made with any master's I was likely to have gotten (and even if I had gotten an MBA, I would've had to contend with far more debt). I can't decide whether I feel like the sacrifice was worth it, probably because I don't know what I would've actually done had I not gotten a PhD. I had a long-term partner when I started my program and we got married at the beginning of my fourth year. The first couple years of the doctoral program were rough, both because I had less control over my time and because I hadn't yet put the structures in place to maintain a healthy relationship. My husband described it as me walking around in a "PhD fog" all the time; even when we were alone together, it always seemed like at least half my brain was occupied by the PhD. (I can confirm: that is true.) It got better once I got closer to my dissertation; my time was more flexible and I made the conscious decision that I was going to structure it to give myself more time for personal pursuits and hobbies. I made more time for me and my husband; more time for my friends; I started running and doing yoga and knitting and taught myself how to bake. I will say that I did not feel like a full human being until about year four in my program when I made time to do those things. I wish I had known to do that earlier. Beware that a lot of programs don't allow you to defer enrollment unless you have a medical or military reason to do so. If you don't want to attend graduate school in fall 2019, don't apply this year - just wait until next fall to apply for 2020.
  18. To be clear, a program being a 'cash cow' doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad or useless program. Cash cow, IMO, just means that the program is a significant source of income to the university. For example, Columbia's MBA program could be considered a cash cow program - they don't really award scholarships for it and it costs a whole lot of money. However, a Columbia MBA is pretty valuable and is quite likely to result in a high-paying salary after graduation. There may also be some academic/non-professional programs that are cash cows but also have good career prospects for students. Full funding for academic MA programs in many fields is pretty uncommon or even rare, and those programs may well be cash cows, but that doesn't mean they're entirely useless. So it may be with your program. It's possible that the program is a cash cow, meaning it generates a lot of revenue for Columbia. But what you should worry about primarily is the cost-benefit analysis to you. You're getting funding to attend, which offsets the cost; the next step is doing what you are doing - finding out post-graduation outcomes for students. Follow up with the coordinator and ask about job placement. You can tell him your career aspirations and see what their response is. Also, I'm not trying to be pedantic but anecdotes are, indeed, data. They're just data that you have to consider within context, since there are lots of factors that could influence a person's eventual career journey. My point is that you don't need to disregard anecdotes or individual people's outcomes; you do need to seek out a variety, though, so you can learn what's out there.
  19. Yes, there's no way that most programs would know that you are applying to PsyD programs as well as PhD programs, and you don't have to tell them.
  20. Agreed with the above advice from l3ob, although I'd go so far as to say if you have no research experience now, you may want to take 2-3 years to get it to be competitive for a PhD program. Remember if you only take a year, you'd be applying in December when you only have like 4-6 months of experience; if you take 2-3 years, you'd have more to show for it and a strong recommendation letter from that experience. This is also one of the few times I recommend an MA in psychology. Going as a non-degree student or for a post-baccalaureate certificate is also not a bad idea. I think the run-around you're getting at UF is actually quite normal. Professors and others involved in the graduate program admissions are not going to want to give you a pre-admissions evaluation or give you any advice about getting into the program if they don't already know you - they have no incentive to do so, and they don't want to give you the impression that you will be admitted if you do X and Y things. You'd be better off talking to your own former professors in your undergraduate psychology department. Start with a professor in whose class you received an A. (The reference to career services was bizarre, since not only do they only deal with current students but they're not really set up to do graduate school advising.) That doesn't mean that the department won't be helpful when you are a graduate student there; it's just that (putting it frankly) they really have no reason to help you individually get admitted to their program.
  21. Have you searched PubMed, the public database of peer-reviewed scientific journals in health and medicine? Try that. There is a lot of research in this area, and a search there will yield many, many articles on the relationship between housing and health - especially depending on what you mean by "housing" (do you mean the actual building in which people live, or the location of that building, or the neighborhood?) I would wager that given the length of the average new story, you might want to narrow this down and focus on something more specific. There are many books written on this topic - it could fill several volumes. One book that may be of interest is Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, by Eric Klinenberg. It is about the week-long heat wave in Chicago during the summer of 1995 and the effects it had on residents, particularly low-income and elderly residents living in poor neighborhoods and public housing projects. Another seminal case in this area is the Kennedy Krieger Institute's study of how different levels of lead paint abatement affected children's development in housing projects in Baltimore. The problem is that KKI didn't give complete, understandable warning to the families moving into these housing projects that there was some level of risk from the lead paint, and some children suffered permanent damage due to being exposed to this common household contaminant. There's a NYT story from 2001 (here: https://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/24/us/us-investigating-johns-hopkins-study-of-lead-paint-hazard.html) and more recent stories in FiveThirtyEight (here: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/baltimores-toxic-legacy-of-lead-paint/) and ABC (here: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/baltimores-kennedy-krieger-institute-sued-lead-paint-study/story?id=14536695 ). You can probably fine more if you dig a bit. The classic public health/epidemiology story is also a case of how where you live can affect your health: John Snow, commonly known as the "father of epidemiology," discovered that families that lived in certain areas of London were more susceptible to cholera than others. He determined it was based on where they got their water from: the Thames River was absolutely disgusting and had pathogens in it that led to cholera, whereas families who lived a further distance and got their water elsewhere were doing better.
  22. You don't need a second master's in math. Even if it's difficult, is it possible? You really need undergraduate courses in math. I'm not in economics but I've heard other econ folks say that three semesters of calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, 1-2 semesters in probability and statistics, and potentially real analysis are good classes to take. (Check out this article from the American Economics Association: https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/students/grad-prep/recommended-math) How much of that do you have already? All of those courses are offered at the undergraduate level, so you don't need special admission to some gated graduate classes; you just need to be able to take the standard undergrad courses along with all the other math and quant science majors. If you haven't even started any of these, then I would imagine in a three-semester program you could at least get through 1-2 semesters of the calculus sequence. (You probably won't be able to take any graduate-level courses in economics, since it seems like those are all highly quantitative, but that's okay because what you really need now is the math.) You can then go to work for a few years after you finish your MAPSS and take the rest of the high-level math classes you need as a non-degree student at a nearby university. With your MAPSS degree, you should be able to find work as a research associate at a think tank or government agency or somewhere else that you can continue to get research experience to build your resume. Or, can you extend your time in the MAPSS program - maybe by going part-time - and take some more math classes? This will cost you more money, but will probably get you further ahead in the sequence. A lot of those higher-level math classes may be difficult to take in the evenings and/or weekends when you are working. An alternative is to concentrate on PhD programs in public policy, then acquire some of the requisite knowledge in the PhD programs. PhD programs are usually more flexible than master's programs; you usually have access to pretty much any class you want to take; and as long as you have funding, you can extend your time to degree to acquire the knowledge you need (to a point). When I was in my PhD program, I took some math courses in the undergrad math department. There are also usually economists working in public policy schools/PhD programs. With your background, you'd probably be competitive for some top public policy PhD programs once you get some more research experience, and then you can sort of laterally gain as much economics knowledge as possible to do some work in that field. However, the caveat for this is that it likely won't scratch the itch for economics fully and if you want to teach and do research in an economics department, you'll find that nearly impossible with a PhD in public policy. If you know you specifically want to be a professor of economics, you need to take the long road of taking the math classes you need. But if you just want to do research in the area and related fields are OK, then the second option may be easier and faster for you.
  23. I would imagine those schools are trying to get a more diverse pool of applicants. For a variety of reasons, applicants from underrepresented backgrounds often score lower on the GRE. Applicants from more traditionally represented backgrounds also may perform below their potential, too, depending on the circumstances around their test day. I don't know what the current science is around GRE scores and success in graduate school, but my guess is that GRE scores aren't highly correlated with who finishes a PhD program or who achieves success (like papers, posters, fellowships, etc.) within the program - because the GRE doesn't really test domains that contribute to that success, not directly anyway. There are a couple of more recent articles that address this, like one in Science Mag (https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2017/06/gres-dont-predict-grad-school-success-what-does), and this journalistic one in The Atlantic (https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/03/the-problem-with-the-gre/471633/). I don't think the GRE has ever been very important to admissions to doctoral programs. The old wisdom was that GRE scores can keep you out, but they can't get you in - in other words, usually once you cross some threshold (usually unsaid, although some programs will recommend a general minimum to shoot for) they don't do any additional work to boost your admissions, but scoring below that threshold can be damaging to your application. But even that can be bent - if an otherwise really outstanding applicant has mediocre GRE scores, that can be overlooked. Given the lack of predictive power in all the axes that doctoral admissions committees actually care about, I guess some professors/program are like why force good potential candidates to spend a couple hundred dollars, several months of studying, and a few hours of stressful high-stakes testing on something that's not really going to help them evaluate the candidate at all?
  24. Yeah, probably not. Even if you really wanted a job in finance, you'd probably be better off getting a graduate certificate in finance or trying to find a job in the field.
  25. This isn't really a graduate school question. It's also a little difficult to understand your problem. The basic outline seems that you've been studying at McGill and you only have one class left, but now you had to move to Oregon with your family and are trying to complete the last class in Oregon. The issue seems to come in with finding an equivalent class for an upper-level statistics course you need. Is the study away advisor the necessary person you need to sign off on this? Go back to your math or psychology department chair or advisor and ask them for advice in navigating around this. Is there someone higher-level that you could communicate with, like an academic dean for the school within McGill that you're enrolled in? I'd escalate there. I'd also send an email back to the McGill advisers who denied your request/application saying exactly what you said here - that you don't understand the denial of Oregon State on the grounds that it's on a quarter system since many of the other American universities on the pre-approved list are also on the quarter system. Mention that this will hamstring your attempts to finish the degree at all, since most West Coast American universities are on the quarter system. Ask them what parameters the university you choose to complete this course at need to adhere to, so you can successfully select a university in your new area that will allow you to complete your degree. Call them if they don't respond to emails. What is the class? Do you have any trusted advisors at McGill? Are there academic advisors? I would talk to one of the, via phone (since it seems like they take a while to answer emails) and ask for advice.
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