I posted a question asking for advice on pursuing one of either an Applied Math or Statistics degree. I felt that it wasn't appropriate for Academia.SE since I felt it required knowing more about the subject matter and coursework. Since it had three close votes and no answer, I resorted to deleting it.

Is my question, based on the information I've given here, off-topic - and if so, is it at all appropriate for any SE website (because, if I have to, I will resort to a forum)?

ETA: Resorting now to a forum. See comments.

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    $\begingroup$ Ask people who actually know something about you. Since you're asking about math grad school, I assume you have an undergrad degree --- the people who gave you that degree are probably the first people you should talk to. $\endgroup$ Nov 16, 2014 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson - I would, but what I'm looking into deviates far from what anyone at the department I graduated from has studied, i.e., no one at the department has done further coursework or research on the topic I am interested in. $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2014 at 0:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Clarinetist Have you asked people in your department, or are you just assuming? People know other people - for example, I know nothing about multifractals, but if someone asked me about them then I do know someone who I could e-mail... $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Nov 17, 2014 at 10:08
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 - Unfortunately, I'm not assuming. Maybe two people have even seen the material I am interested in, and I have asked such questions to them in the past with little to no success. $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2014 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Clarinetist: It seems to me you could word the question in such a way that it would benefit others. It sounds like you are looking for schools who have a strong department in X. This will benefit any other person who is also interested in X. $\endgroup$
    – RghtHndSd
    Nov 17, 2014 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @RghtHndSd - Actually, I did not ask about various schools. I was merely asking about a choice of major. $\endgroup$ Nov 18, 2014 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Obviously your question is reasonable. I personally would be happy to answer such a question if I happened to have some reasonable input. Is it technically adherent to site norms? Is it really interesting to ascertain the answer to that? Just ask. $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2014 at 6:27

1 Answer 1


it wasn't appropriate for Academia.SE since I felt it required knowing more about the subject matter

The fact that a question requires expertise in mathematics does not mean it can't be answered at Academia. Mathematicians who are active on SE and are interested in giving advice on academic careers tend to participate at Academia. However, there may be other reasons for why the question isn't suitable there. According to Academia Help Center,

Recommendations for a university, journal, or research topic

are off-topic. Also,

You should not ask "a question that will help only me," but rather "a question that will help people like me." If your question is so limited as to be useful only to you, consider broadening the scope so others can learn from your question as well.


Many questions about graduate school in mathematics are well received at Academia, but not all of them. When such questions are not suitable for Academia.SE, they are not likely to be suitable for Mathematics.SE, either.


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