Classes Advice

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Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:07 am

Classes Advice

Postby Rev » Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:29 pm

Hi guys!

Firstly, good luck to everyone who's applied to grad school and congratz to those who got accepted! :). I would like to get your opinion on something.

I'm currently a junior that transferred to a university with a pretty good Physics Rep in California. So I currently have a 4.0 and doing research in Plasma. I want to go to grad school, but there's a small problem.

My physics department has a set core of classes that we take to graduate. Then there are "Recommended" classes that I should take if I want to go to grad school, that are not required for graduation. Classes such as 'complex analysis', 'general relativity' (Yikes!), 'nuclear physics',.....etc.

Being a transfer, I started upper divs a bit late (relative to others), and can probably complete the major requirements + maybe 5/10 of the recommended courses in the next 2 years. I MIGHT be able to cram a bit more of the classes into my schedule, but this seriously puts my gpa at risk. (I'm talking 5 upper div classes per quarter on top of research).

So is it better to demonstrate a (B to A-) level of understanding while taking a lot per quarter, or should I just stick with 3-4 upper div classes, maintain my high gpa, and graduate as a "basic" student?

I'd like to hear your insight. Thanks!

Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:26 pm

Re: Classes Advice

Postby theladybug » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:50 pm

I don't have too much insight on which would be better, though probably a balance between the two is best. If you're planning on doing plasma in grad school, too, I've been told that complex analysis is especially useful. I'm taking that class now and it's really not too bad.

Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:34 am

Re: Classes Advice

Postby bstrekha » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:02 am

I think having as high of a GPA is important. Five courses per semester is a good load. I think taking six per semester might be pushing it, especially assuming you put in ~10 hours into research per week. I think Columbia's website (or one of the other top uni) says that taking graduate courses isn't required and, in fact, looks bad if you take grad courses and don't get a good grad. That might also apply to undergrad, where taking 7 courses but getting B's isn't as attractive as 5 courses but mostly A's.

You can always just read Complex Analysis over a summer or winter break. Shouldn't take you too long to self-learn Complex Analysis from Stein & Shakarchi.

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:07 am

Re: Classes Advice

Postby Rev » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:48 pm

Thanks for the replies. 5 classes is a bit too much for me if we're in the quarter system. I'll just do 4 classes per.

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