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Courses A question about being an Undergraduate taking Graduate coursework

  1. Nov 24, 2008 #1
    I know it may sound strange, but I by time I finish my undergraduate degree in physics at my current university, I will have taken the graduate Stat. Mech sequence, Quantum Sequence, and Classical Mechanics Sequence. And, no I don't mean the senior level/graduate split course work, I have also taken all of those (400/500 are the split course work at my university and 600 is strictly for graduate students). I mean I have taken both the 400 sequences and the 600 sequences.

    However, I am not going to be able to carry any of these graduate courses with me to graduate school, and am feeling a little dismayed. If I have already taken the course work, will I be wasting my time learning it a second time? The course work the first time around wasn't all that challenging, and I am losing my excitement over the topics. Would it be a good time for me to take a break from school, get a job, and come back? Or should I just keep doing the same things over again for another 3-5 years to get my PhD? On top of all this, I am working on an undergraduate thesis, that according to my adviser sounds more like a PhD dissertation than an undergraduate thesis. I just don't want to have my life stuck on repeat for another interval of time.

    Any suggestions?

    Or heck even some comments?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2008 #2
    Obtaining a phd requires more than simply "3-5 years of the same thing." Your graduate courses should help you in getting into a top phd program. I would say go for the phd but if you really believe the process to be 3-5 years of the same thing you should research it a bit more.
  4. Nov 24, 2008 #3


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    1. Do you know for sure that you won't get credit for the 600 level classes? The policy varies from school to school.

    2. If you enroll in a master's program, why not take different courses? Consider E&M or perhaps you could look into courses that are unique to the university you attend.

    3. Graduate work is more about the research than it is about the coursework in my opinion anyways. Your senior thesis is not the same as a PhD dissertation, even if it "sounds like" one. The senior thesis will likely give you a taste of what research is like, but it's not the full meal deal.

    4. Only you can decide whether it's worth it to pursue graduate studies. What do you hope to gain from a PhD? If it really all seems like it's "more of the same," once you have the PhD it's probably still going to seem like "more of the same" as you embark on a career as a researcher. There's nothing wrong with taking time off to work for a while, except that it becomes a lot more difficult to give up a steady paycheque to become a grad student.
  5. Nov 24, 2008 #4


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    A lot of math grad schools I've looked at will let incoming students take the quals and excuse them from the classes for the quals they've passed. I'm sure physics programs work the same way.
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