HELP: Interdisciplinary programmes in GRAD SCHOOL

In summary, the speaker graduated with a BSc in Neural Computation with a minor in Astrophysics and attempted to learn game programming before realizing their passion for simulating sciences in 3D environments. They have a B+ average and are looking to apply for an interdisciplinary graduate program in math, computer science, physics, or psychology. Their goal is to take courses from each department, but they are unsure how to approach the departments and find a mentor for their research interests. The suggested approach is to find a faculty member doing research in their area of interest and contact them to discuss applying to a graduate program and potential research opportunities. Another option is to choose a primary department and mentor, but also have a co-mentor or committee from another department
  • #1
neurocomp2003
1,366
3
Hi
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 a lot 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
Graphics
Animations
Computer Vision
Computer Audition
Computer Linguistics

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

Best
Jack
 
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  • #2
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 into 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.
 
  • #3


Hi Jack,

Thank you for reaching out for help on your graduate school journey. It sounds like you have a strong interdisciplinary background and a clear passion for simulating sciences in 3D environments. This is a great starting point for exploring interdisciplinary programs in graduate school.

First, I would recommend researching graduate programs that have a strong focus on interdisciplinary studies. This may require looking beyond traditional departments and exploring programs that specifically cater to students with diverse academic backgrounds. Look for programs that have a strong focus on simulation, computational sciences, or cognitive sciences as these may align well with your interests.

Once you have a list of potential programs, reach out to the admissions departments or program directors to inquire about your specific situation. Explain your background and interests, and ask if they have any recommendations for how you can tailor your application to fit their program. You may also want to mention specific courses or research areas that interest you and ask if they are available within the program.

In addition, consider reaching out to professors or researchers within the departments that interest you. They may have insight on how to craft an interdisciplinary program that meets your needs and aligns with their research interests. They may also be able to provide guidance on which courses to take and how to structure your program.

Lastly, don't be discouraged by your lower grades in psychology and life sciences. While they may not align with your current interests, your strong performance in math, physics, and computer science demonstrates your ability to excel in these fields. Emphasize your strengths and passion in your application and highlight how an interdisciplinary program will allow you to merge your diverse interests and skills.

Best of luck in your graduate school journey!
 

1. What exactly is an interdisciplinary program in grad school?

An interdisciplinary program in grad school is one that combines elements from multiple academic disciplines or fields of study. It allows students to explore topics and research questions from various perspectives and approaches, breaking away from traditional disciplinary boundaries.

2. What are the benefits of pursuing an interdisciplinary program in grad school?

There are several benefits to pursuing an interdisciplinary program in grad school. These include the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of a topic, the ability to think critically and creatively by combining different perspectives, and the chance to develop a versatile skill set that can be applied to various industries and careers.

3. How do I choose the right interdisciplinary program for me?

Choosing the right interdisciplinary program for you depends on your personal interests, career goals, and academic background. It is important to research different programs and speak with advisors or current students to get a better understanding of the curriculum and opportunities available.

4. Can I pursue an interdisciplinary program if my undergraduate degree is in a specific field?

Yes, you can pursue an interdisciplinary program even if your undergraduate degree is in a specific field. In fact, having a background in a specific field can bring a unique perspective to an interdisciplinary program and enhance your overall learning experience.

5. What types of careers can I pursue with an interdisciplinary degree from grad school?

An interdisciplinary degree from grad school can open up a wide range of career opportunities. Some common fields that interdisciplinary graduates go into include research, academia, healthcare, technology, and social services. The skills and knowledge gained from an interdisciplinary program can also be applied to various roles within these fields and beyond.

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