Graduate courses

vesperlynd
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Graduate courses

Postby vesperlynd » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:38 pm

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Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grae313
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby grae313 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:49 am

Just use your common sense. If you do well in a grad class, that tells the admissions committee something. Something good. It's not going to blow open doors but it's a plus. However, grad classes are NOT graded the same as undergraduate classes. The average is usually a B+/A- so a B does not look good at all.

vesperlynd
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby vesperlynd » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:05 am

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Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mataka
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby Mataka » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:29 am

vesperlynd wrote:
grae313 wrote:However, grad classes are NOT graded the same as undergraduate classes. The average is usually a B+/A- so a B does not look good at all.


My school does not offer A- or B+. It only offers A, B, C ...


Well in that case you're screwed, I mean game over man ! You should just give up, don't ever bother applying to grad schools they will all reject you !

;)

cooper
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby cooper » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:32 pm

I suppose if you took several grad courses and received A's and B's in all of them, that would tell the admissions committee that you have the capacity to succeed in grad school, but I doubt if it will count heavily in your favor, and I especially doubt if one course will matter much to them.

When I was in a PhD program in Psychology (which admittedly is a bit different from Physics), the course work was no different from the course work in Undergraduate classes (in Physics it is different, the coursework in graduate classes is more advanced, but still if you can do undergraduate Physics I don't see why more advanced Physics would suddenly be a problem). Furthermore, almost everyone receives an A or a B in graduate classes. I think the admissions committee knows that almost everyone that applies to a Physics PhD program could get at least a B in the great majority of graduate classes. I think what they want to determine is if you are capable of successfully conducting research in Physics. I don't think completing graduate versus undergraduate courses would be that informative on your potential ability as a researcher.

Well, the above is largely my opinion, admittedly I am not an expert in getting into a Physics graduate program, so I could be wrong.

Edit: I forgot to mention the most important thing. When I applied to a PhD program in Psychology, I had almost completed my (terminal) Masters Degree in Psychology. The impression that I had was that completing all of those graduate courses didn't matter much. For example, the first year that I applied to PhD programs I was rejected by all of the programs. When I asked why I was rejected, some of them, particularly the University of Texas at Austin, told me that they would have accepted me but their financial situation was so bad (it was a bad time financially for Psychology PhD programs back then) they couldn't take anyone, or took very few people. When I applied again, after spending many months building up my GRE vocabulary knowledge and taking the GRE again, and scoring much higher (my combined average Verbal and Quantitative the first time was 1330, the second time it was 1450), I was accepted and given a partial scholarship. The University of Texas at Austin told me that the first time they were just going to accept me, but they gave me a scholarship the second time because of my increased GRE sores. In the long conversation I had the impression that they didn't care that I had a Masters degree. On the other hand, it was largely just an impression, I could be wrong.

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grae313
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby grae313 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:07 pm

I found graduate classes at my undergraduate state school to be not much different than my undergraduate classes, but I've found grad classes at Cornell to be tremendously more challenging. It all depends. Also the majority of my peers have had some to substantial graduate coursework already and they don't have to repeat those courses and can get to their research sooner, so taking grad courses as an undergrad helps. It can also prepare you for graduate school a bit better. But again, it's far from the most important factor on your application and not weighed heavily compared to the standard application aspects. Bs in graduate classes aren't going to impress anyone, so if you're going to do it try hard to get an A.

cooper
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby cooper » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:22 pm

grae313 wrote:Bs in graduate classes aren't going to impress anyone, so if you're going to do it try hard to get an A.


By the way Vesperlynd, you would think the above statement by grae is good advice, and I suppose it is, but there is a danger. So often grades are subjective. I mentioned above about my terminal Masters degree. I will never forget this one professor in my Masters program who gave everyone a B no matter how good or bad the person's paper was. When I complained, saying that my paper was of the same quality as the papers I submitted the previous semester in my classes, and I received A's on those papers, the professor told me that his policy was to give everyone a B unless the paper was good enough to publish. So even if you put in substantial effort you could still end up with an unsatisfactory grade that wont impress the admissions committee.

vesperlynd
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby vesperlynd » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:36 pm

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Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

highbounce
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby highbounce » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:26 pm

So should I bother reporting a B+ in my graduate quantum mechanics class that I took this fall semester? The B+ has further dropped down my GPA which is now a 3.86. Does it matter that this class is taken at a school that is top 10 in physics?

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InquilineKea
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby InquilineKea » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:53 am

One thing though: a lot of schools have grad-level courses dominated by master's students. Other schools won't know this, but they may not give my school's courses the benefit of the doubt (in terms of if I took a class dominated by phd students. alternatively I might benefit a lot if i took a class dominated by master's students). Oftentimes, the course names for PhD dominated courses and Master's dominated courses do not look very much different from each other, and I highly doubt adcoms will really investigate my school's course catalog. But courses dominated by Master's students tend to be easier than those dominated by phd students.

So theoretically, someone might be able to say that he took a bunch of grad level courses (and get good grades in them), even though he mostly took Master's Degree courses. In fact, at my school, a lot of the master's courses have course titles have higher numbers than the phd courses (this may vary from school to school).

But alternatively, the adcoms might think that a person legitimately taking phd-dominated courses was really taking master's degree courses.

So if I take mostly phd courses as an undergrad, then how do I try to avoid giving them the impression that they were dominated by master's students?

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grae313
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Re: Graduate courses

Postby grae313 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:41 pm

At most schools, a master's is obtained en route to a PhD by fulfilling the same course requirements. There is no concept of "masters classes" versus "phd classes." I don't think you should be worried about this. You took grad classes too soon, you failed them. There are really no other distinctions to be made.




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