Grad Coursework Length: Is 20 Hours Normal?

In summary, the grad quantum course is taking a lot of time, but it's worth it if you can dedicate the time.
  • #1
CPL.Luke
441
1
length of grad assignments

I'm taking my first grad courses this semester (I'm an undergrad), group theory and quantum mechanics, and grad quantum mechanics.

so far neither is conceptual challenging and the former is pretty easy as I've taken abstract algebra before, however the graduate quantum course is eating my time.

So far I've misjudged the time requirement for the assignments and failed to finish the first two, its not any conceptual problem, as I can easily set up the equations, the problem is the time it takes to solve them. So far i'd estimate that each assignmnt if done propoerly would take 20 hours or so of computation.

Is this normal for a grad course such as quantum mechanics? or is this professor fond of giving out extra work?

also for reference the last assignment involved computing the transmission and reflection coefficiants of a square potential "hill" for both the scattering and the bound states, approximating the transmission coefficient for the case E<<V creating a general formula for approximating any potential "hill" and then finding the transmission and reflection coefficients of the delta potential with strength g.
 
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  • #2
My professor for my graduate-level applied quantum mechanics mentioned that the course would require about 20 hours of effort per week, so your course sounds pretty typical to me.
 
  • #3
CPL.Luke said:
length of grad assignments

I'm taking my first grad courses this semester (I'm an undergrad), group theory and quantum mechanics, and grad quantum mechanics.

so far neither is conceptual challenging and the former is pretty easy as I've taken abstract algebra before, however the graduate quantum course is eating my time.

So far I've misjudged the time requirement for the assignments and failed to finish the first two, its not any conceptual problem, as I can easily set up the equations, the problem is the time it takes to solve them. So far i'd estimate that each assignmnt if done propoerly would take 20 hours or so of computation.

Is this normal for a grad course such as quantum mechanics? or is this professor fond of giving out extra work?

Yes this is typical for graduate courses, and yes your professor is fond of assigning excess homework. But all professors in grad school like torturing their students, so your experience would be the same even if you took the same course at a different university. It's sort of funny you posted this today, actually. I just started my quantum homework yesterday (would have started earlier, but I had another course and grading to worry about). I spent two hours yesterday afternoon, and four hours this afternoon. Six hours total, and this was actually one of the shorter assignments.

Anyway, I'm sort of perplexed that you're taking graduate quantum in the spring, since I'd think that most universities only offer graduate quantum 1 in the Fall. But if you're just starting the first semester of graduate quantum, I feel I should caution you that it will get conceptually more difficult pretty soon. Not that you should worry; as long as you've had undergrad quantum and can dedicate enough time to this class, you're fully prepared. But the purpose of graduate quantum is to give you a much deeper insight into quantum mechanics than you can get in undergrad. That, at least, was what I took away from my first semester of graduate quantum. Yes, it does get really annoying with what seems like meaningless hours of mathematics in all those homework assignments. But there's a purpose behind all that torture. Work hard in this class, and you'll come away knowing quantum mechanics very well.

also for reference the last assignment involved computing the transmission and reflection coefficiants of a square potential "hill" for both the scattering and the bound states, approximating the transmission coefficient for the case E<<V creating a general formula for approximating any potential "hill" and then finding the transmission and reflection coefficients of the delta potential with strength g.[/QUOTE]
 
  • #4
las3rjock said:
My professor for my graduate-level applied quantum mechanics mentioned that the course would require about 20 hours of effort per week, so your course sounds pretty typical to me.

If you mean 20 hours of homework effort- then yes. That did not count reading for class and supplemental reading.

Same for me for grad QM and Electrodynamics. Hell, I remember turning in one homework for a bunch of Electrodynamics problems (some Jackson problems :frown: ) that was about 70 pages- one sided- once I was finished. Oh how I don't miss Jackson :smile:
 
  • #5
You guys should have been engineers, muwahahaahah.

Im sorry, but 70 pages of Homework sounds way too excessive. At that point, I question if your actually learning anything or just mindlessly calculating.
 
  • #6
It's actually possible. I've never counted the amount of paper I used for my undergrad courses, but if there's a lot of calculation and cancellation and your handwriting a little larger than average, you can easily hit 70 pages.
 
  • #7
Don't upper level students do their homework on the computer? With latex or some math program?
 
  • #8
In general 1 grad course hour is equivalent to 2 undergrad course hours. Around my school, a "full load" is 3 grad classes, but honestly it varies. At least one grad class I took as undergrad was merely lecture + a paper and a final.
 
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  • #9
awvvu said:
Don't upper level students do their homework on the computer? With latex or some math program?

The only meaningful reason for doing homework with some kind of software program should be that the student had a physical or neurological handicap preventing or seriously restricting him/her from using pencil-or-pen and paper.
 
  • #10
awvvu said:
Don't upper level students do their homework on the computer? With latex or some math program?

No, that's not generally true. Latex is not a math program.
 
  • #11
symbolipoint said:
The only meaningful reason for doing homework with some kind of software program should be that the student had a physical or neurological handicap preventing or seriously restricting him/her from using pencil-or-pen and paper.

I've used MATLAB in my homework that was due today. Do you even know what your talking about?
 
  • #12
When I took graduate level graph theory, it ended up being about 20 hours of work. For the first two assignments, I did not expect it taking a week to actually finish the problem(s). However, it's interesting and kind of fun.
 
  • #13
Cyrus said:
I've used MATLAB in my homework that was due today. Do you even know what your talking about?

If MATLAB coordinates between something like pencil or pen movements and output of a document then I did not know what I was talking about; but if MATLAB does not do this, then I know what I am talking about. If I do not know what I am talking about then explain this.

Writing symbolism will never lose its value. We use pen or pencil on paper; we write a sequence of steps and draw figures more easily than using keyboard buttons and mouse. Also, a computer is less convenient than pencil & paper. The two big differences possible are that I never dealt with gigantic equations and large systems of equations or expressions having huge amounts of symbols; and I really am not familiar with the capabilities of matlab. So for this, EXPLAIN how MATLAB makes doing homework easier than conventional pencil & paper. Does MATLAB work in Windows(XP)? Is MATLAB more convenient to use than TexAide or MathType?
 
  • #14
I would go to wiki and learn what MATLAB is before you argue with me...

You should search ode45. Are you going to solve differential equations by hand, and plot the output? No, you're not.

As for symbolic math, yes, I've used MATLAB for that too. I am not going to waste time multiplying out a series of rotation matricies full of symbols. Matlab can do that for me.
 
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  • #15
Cyrus said:
I would go to wiki and learn what MATLAB is before you argue with me...

You should search ode45. Are you going to solve differential equations by hand, and plot the output? No, you're not.

As for symbolic math, yes, I've used MATLAB for that too. I am not going to waste time multiplying out a series of rotation matricies full of symbols. Matlab can do that for me.

Arguing?... You are arguing. I just wanted an explanation.

I saw the Wiki article. Matlab seems aimed at upper-level and graduate level coursework. The general usefulness of MATLAB for clearly showing and doing homework seems clearer than before.
 
  • #16
Its a very powerful program that is used in industry.
 
  • #17
Cyrus said:
Its a very powerful program that is used in industry.

Powerfully... annoying! We upgraded to the newest version and it broke hundreds of lines of code.
 
  • #18
CPL.Luke said:
also for reference the last assignment involved computing the transmission and reflection coefficiants of a square potential "hill" for both the scattering and the bound states, approximating the transmission coefficient for the case E<<V creating a general formula for approximating any potential "hill" and then finding the transmission and reflection coefficients of the delta potential with strength g.


By computing do you mean on a computer? Cause by hand I think that is one of our Qualifying Exam questions, and you probably have about 30 minutes max to spend on it.
 

Related to Grad Coursework Length: Is 20 Hours Normal?

1. How many credit hours is considered a normal length for graduate coursework?

Typically, a graduate course is worth 3 credit hours, so 20 hours would equate to roughly 6-7 courses.

2. Is 20 hours of coursework too much to take on at once?

This can vary depending on the individual and their schedule. It's important to consider the workload and balance it with other responsibilities.

3. How long does it typically take to complete 20 hours of graduate coursework?

This can also vary depending on the individual and the specific courses. However, on average, it can take about 12-15 weeks to complete 20 hours of graduate coursework.

4. Is 20 hours of graduate coursework enough to fulfill degree requirements?

It depends on the specific degree program and its requirements. It's important to consult with an academic advisor for a more accurate answer.

5. Can I take more or less than 20 hours of graduate coursework?

Again, this can vary depending on the individual and their program. Some programs may allow for a range of credit hours to be taken, while others may have a fixed amount. It's important to check with the program's guidelines.

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