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HELP: Interdisciplinary programmes in GRAD SCHOOL

  1. May 3, 2005 #1
    I graduated 2 years ago with a BSc in Neural Computation /w minor Astrophysics. The past 2 years i've tried to learn game programming but I realized my passion is simulating the sciences in 3D environments(particularly Astrophysics and ALife/Cogsci).

    I was a B+ student with avg breakdown of MATH A, PHYS A-, COMPSCI B+
    PSYCH & LIFESCI C+....As you can see my psych marks are pretty bad but my other marks are relatively comfortable.

    My problem is that applying to grad school I don't fit under the courses bracket for any of the depts: Math, Compsci, Phys, Psych.

    My QUESTION is...How do I approach the departments with the problem above wanting to do an Interdisplinary programme in either math/cs/physics or math/cs/psych. Most of these depts require taking alot of grad courses in single dept.

    But what I want to take are courses from each dept like

    Bifurcation & Stability Theory
    Dynamical Systems(some differ from the above)
    Math. Neurosci.
    Numerical Methods (I-II if they have both)
    Number THeory
    Chaos Theory
    Computer Vision
    Computer Audition
    Computer Linguistics

    4 courses in Astrophysics(Stellar formation, cosmology ...)
    Classical Mechanics
    Vision/Audition/Child Development

  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2005 #2


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    The best approach to this is to find a person doing research in the area that interests you and contact them about how to go about applying to grad school (and if they would have openings in their lab for a student if you successfully applied to their program). Faculty can be affiliated with multiple graduate programs, and their students come to them through whichever program best suits their primary interests. Graduate programs usually have room for you to take a few classes outside the program, and you can take courses in the complementary program without needing to meet all their degree requirements.

    Another alternative is to choose a primary dept and primary mentor, but then arrange to have a co-mentor in another dept or a dissertation committee composed of faculty in both depts. But for something that is going to depart from the usual departmental offerings, it's really important that you identify who you will potentially work with in advance and ensure they would be open to this idea before you choose the programs to apply to. This doesn't mean you're locked in to working with them if you do lab rotations and find something else interests you that you didn't expect and work with that person instead, but it just means you'll be sure to apply someplace where you will have someone to work with once there.
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