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Grad School Advice Please help!

  1. Jan 28, 2012 #1
    Grad School Advice!!!!Please help!

    Ok so is it an advantage for me to take graduate courses with my undergrad courses and graduate with 17 credits each semester or should I take it easy with 14 credits because taking graduate courses in my research area of interest (the area i will apply to for a phd) will not give my application an edge and I don't need to take them. Bottomline, does having graduate courses based on research area (dpt) applied-to give applicants competitive advantage?

    Also regarding publications, does it matter if you're the 1st author or not? Eitherway how do people manage to become 1st authors? Does it mean the research has to be original and all?
    And similarly regarding undergrad theses, how do students pick the topic of interest while keeping in mind originality,availability of research equipment, apparatus, etc.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2012 #2


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    Re: Grad School Advice!!!!Please help!

    Only if you do well in them.

    In my opinion, it's generally not worth the risk. You could end up in over your head, and it sounds like you would be taxing yourself for something that's not needed.

    If you are currently taking senior undergraduate courses and do not find them to be much of a challenge, if you have the prerequisite courses, and you talk to the professor to get an idea of how reasonable it is for you to take a course, then you may want to consider such a course.

    This depends on the field, generally being first author means that you did the majority of the work on the publication (but not always). There is a little more prestige that goes with being the first author, I suppose. But there's no breakdown of who did what and so the important thing is being listed as an author at all.

    When people feel it matters, this is something that gets decided amongst the collaborators. It's always a civilized discussion either. But as I said, there is usually one person who is the driving force behind the manuscript and that person usually gets first authorship.

    The research has to be original if it's going to be published in an academic journal.

    Usually this gets decided by talking with professors. I would love it if students came to be and said, "I have this idea that I want to try and was hoping you could serve as a mentor" but most of the time its more of a "I really want to do a project - what do you have available?"
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