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Graduate School Questions

  1. Sep 23, 2009 #1
    I have a couple of questions about graduate school:
    -Does focusing on a subject in graduate school require a major in the subject? (my major will stick with what I'll be focusing on...I'm just curious) - If it doesn't, then what are the necessities for entering graduate school for that particular field?
    -Do they pay for graduate tuition while under assistant-ship?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2009 #2


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    Some graduate programs (MBA, MLS) can be entered from any major. Some (most humanities subjects) require some background (writing, languages) but no specific major. And some (math, science, engineering) require significant background in the field to the point where if you didn't major in the subject you'll be very unprepared for graduate study in that subject. Physics is one of those fields. But you can sometimes catch up - some grad schools will let you take undergrad courses your first year if you're missing a substantial part of your physics education but still appear to be a promising applicant.

    Yes, grad schools will waive your tuition and pay you a small stipend while on an assistantship.
  4. Sep 24, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the reply. In the case of physics, there would be a minimum number of courses one would have to take, right?
  5. Sep 24, 2009 #4
    Advanced undergrad courses in classical mechanics, E&M, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics form the backbone of any undergrad education in physics. If you've taken at least three out of these four, then you should be good. Granted, you might need to take some undergrad courses your first year to play catch-up, but that's certainly not unheard of.
  6. Sep 24, 2009 #5


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    For grad school in biology the requirements are a little bit more relaxed. I know many people with math, engineering, chemistry, or physics undergrad degrees who are now in biology graduate programs. Many, but not all, did take a good number of biology courses during their undergrad, however.
  7. Sep 24, 2009 #6
    Again, thanks for the replies.

    How many credit hours would that be in total.
  8. Sep 24, 2009 #7
    At my school each of these classes were one semester long. Stat mech was 3 credits, and the others were 4. So that makes 15 credits. At most schools (including where I go to grad school), these classes tend to be split up between two semesters. But I guess this means that you can take two at once, i.e. classical and E&M can be taken concurrently. Either way, you're probably lookin at 12 to 14 credits. Nothing you can't do if you've still got a year left before graduation.
  9. Sep 25, 2009 #8
    I see...it doesn't seem too hard to qualify for a graduate program...but is this only to qualify? Other than qualifications, I would take the guess that certain universities would demand more than just the minimum (due to competition), right?
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