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From India to Alabama

  1. Jun 19, 2008 #1
    Hello,

    I'm 18yrs old and this August, I'll be flying from here to Huntsville, AL to study at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (www.uah.edu). I'm receiving a scholarship of 70% of the tution fee.

    When I decided to go to US to study, my first priorities were to get myself into a challenging academic atmosphere where I would be exposed to international research. I wanted to get myself into a circle where people would be interested in the pure sciences and increase my enthusiasm for pure thought (I'm thinking U of Chicago would've been my kinda place). I'm not sure if I'm going to get that at UAH.

    Right now, I'm enrolled in the undergraduate physics program but I'm planning to dual major in physics and Mathematics. I don't know how strong the programs at UAH are, but one thing that I do know is that the physics program there is pretty flexible.

    I'm not even sure about the quality of the instruction or how challenging the courses are going to be. I'm worried about it.

    My worries escalated when I casually searched the library catalogue (http://146.229.56.51/uhtbin/cgisirsi/kx5a8We7mM/0/138700011/60/1173/X). I didn't find many of the books that I would have liked to read!

    I'm just worried. I'm wondering if UAH is worth spending all that money and all that travelling. The one advantage I'm sure of is that UAH has extensive ties at the Cummings Research Park and NASA space flight center near by. I might be able to get to work and train there for a couple of semesters as a co-operative education student. But, besides that, I don't know if the people at UAH are going to be enthusiastic about pure sciences.

    I'd like to hear some opinions about UAH and some suggestions on what to expect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2008 #2
    Hi Ragav,

    I'm a junior level Computer Engineering major at UAH. You are right about the location benefits (Space Flight Center, co-op opportunities, etc.) However, if I was not an engineering major, i'm not too sure this would be the place for me. The engineering school is UAH's bread and butter and they know it. The math dept. is challenging but not overly difficult. The physics department, in my 2 classes of experience there, was a joke. For one class the teacher has good intentions yet he can't seem to get his point across. The other teacher instructed from powerpoint slides. Both teachers gave exams where questions were pulled directly from a "test bank" that every student had.
     
  4. Jun 20, 2008 #3
    There are intelligent and enthusiastic people at every college. Even in unlikely schools, you will meet people who could easily be kum laude at MIT or caltech. Though the circle of scholarly minded students may be smaller at UAH, consider that there are a lot of reasons for choosing a university. If you are worried, check out the departmental website and see how active it is in research, organizations, etc.
     
  5. Jun 20, 2008 #4
    US News ranks the UAH Physics department at 95 nationally. So, it can't be a utter joke or like some poor community college. Research in the physics department isn't totally inactive, I figured. http://physics.uah.edu/research.htm. Actually, almost all professors are involved in some sort of research.

    I don't want to be completely discouraged. I think your experience might have something to do with who those two professors were. There's no way to genuinely judge a department based on a couple of professors because the course, the tests, methods of teaching are designed individually by the professors themselves. Perhaps the infrastructure, labs etc might say something defenitively about the department. Anyway, can you give me the names of those two professors?

    What can you say about:-
    1) The General infrastructure in the campus
    2) How beautiful the campus is
    3) Your experience at the UAH library

    Cheers.
     
  6. Jun 20, 2008 #5
    You have a PM regarding names.

    You are quite right about the physics teachers. Both teachers are heavily involved in research and I suppose they just taught classes because it was a requirement.


    The campus is very pretty. The new Shelby Center is VERY impressive. They have built a new entrance to the school which is based around a lake at the front of the campus where many students go to study/eat/relax. Stay more than 5 minutes and the ducks will come and greet you. I can't honestly say much about the library as I do not live on campus and seldom go there.
     
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