This is a question for anyone who thinks he has an answer: I'm a first year math grad student (well, I will be in August.) I think for the first year I will take Algebra I&II Analysis I&II, Advanced Linear Algebra, and Complex Analysis (note, this is over two semesters so three classes per semester, not 6 classes this first semester.) My question is: when did you decide on what area of math (or physics or whatever, if it is similar) to write your dissertation in? In particular, did you know before grad school, or did you really find out what you wanted to do after you took some grad-level courses to see what math at that level is really like? I think I will need to wait until after the first year to get an idea; is this normal?