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Earth and Space Exploration?

by Nick Raaa
Tags: earth, exploration, space
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Nick Raaa
#1
Nov20-08, 07:13 PM
P: 4
My school offers a degree in Earth and Space Exploration. To me it sounds intresting and I'm thinking about double it majoring along with geology. And since there is already alot of overalp in classes it probably won't add too much classes wise.

It seems like a very general degree and I'm wondering what I could do with it, other than just personal enlightenment. I'll be looking for grad schools in the couple next years and is there much benefit in having dual majors as far as grad schools are concerned?

Here a link to the 'course roadmap'

http://catalog.asu.edu/files/majormap08/LASESBS.pdf

Thanks in advance.
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physics girl phd
#2
Nov21-08, 08:18 AM
physics girl phd's Avatar
P: 936
Note: I'm in physics, not geology... but here's my experience:

There's generally perhaps a very SLIGHT consideration of dual majors (or even very strong minors with many of the upper level courses required in a second major without some of the intermediate courses), but it depends a bit on what the dual major is in, and if it compliments your research plan.


Generally in graduate admissions processes, what matters most in the "committee factor" (from faculty in the committee reviewing your application) is research experience.... when I was on a committee, we gave a committee score on an application that was factored in with GRE scores, GPA, institution quality (from our own ranking system on a scale of 5 that was revised every few years), etc. When committee members reviewed the application (read by three committee members, rated and averaged) research and publications (backed up by strong faculty letters) were really what determined our number (in our case on a scale of 10). Sometimes factors like a dual major, very strong minors, drastically improving grades, etc. could push it up by 0.5... but that was about it. While the committee number was ranked very strongly... I can't believe that 0.5 points really made a strong difference in the overall ranking.

Here's my summary:
1) You should be very strong in your primary field... take all the upper levels you can an perform well in those courses. This will help you do well on the GRE and shows to the committee shows that you can get through any core coursework and qualifying / comprehensive exams... the hurdles in the graduate program.
2) You should be strong in research. The strongest applicants do research at their home institution during the year, and do research at other institutions (through things like REU programs) during the summers. This shows that you can do the primary function of a graduate program.

Nonetheless, I'm rather fond of dual majors / strong minors. I generally think if it is in a complimentary field, it helps with both of the above. It helps in coursework (often upper level coursework makes references to and links more to other fields than you might expect). It also will likely help you do better research... you might do more interesting / research by combining fields in a creative manner... or you might at least have insight when something unexpected happens.


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