Most valuable graduate courses?

In summary: That sounds really difficult.In summary, if you're interested in pursuing more studies, taking what you can and focusing on classes that interest you is a good idea. Classes that are pretty much mandatory to know for both HET and CMT are quantum mechanics (Shankar or Sakurai), quantum field theory, and if it's offered, string theory. Other useful classes for HET are general relativity, a particle physics/standard model course, and if it's offered, statistical mechanics. Classes that are useful and pretty much mandatory to know for CMT are graduate level statistical mechanics, Jackson level E&M, and E&M courses in other fields. However, classes like QM, QFT, math methods, and stat mech will
  • #1
shines57
5
0
Hi - I was wondering what the most valuable graduate courses would be for an undergraduate to take. I am interested in condensed matter and high energy both theory; I still haven't decided which I like more. I've taken everything in the standard ugrad coursework (from em to stat mech to relativity, etc,etc). I still can't comprehend research papers (they seem to be way out of my league), so classes that could make me more literate are definitely valued.

Thanks!
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
If you're planning on pursuing more studies, does it really matter right now? You're probably going to have to take a lot. I'd recommend taking what you CAN take that sounds the most interesting. I mean there's only a handful you could really take; QM, EM, Math methods, etc. Take what sounds interesting and fits into your schedule.
 
  • #3
You'll likely have to take the class again since you're planning graduate school, but I'd recommend a graduate level Math methods course, since seeing the material again later will likely make it more understandable and it's a class that will help you in all other physics classes.
 
  • #4
I work in theoretical electronic structure theory. And the most useful course I have ever taken was Social Psychology I. I am not joking.

What works for you and what does not depend on your current knowledge and goals. I would not be too worried about research papers. Sometimes no one except the authors can understand them (and sometimes not even the authors). *Not* writing papers like this is an important achievement.

As far as scientific courses go, programming, numerical methods, and working knowledge of at least one major computer algebra system would be most very helpful auxiliary skills, as would a number of other skills somewhat off the mainly traveled roads (e.g., one of the surest ways of getting established is to become *really good* at scientific writing and giving talks. In practice this is at least as important as the science itself.)
 
  • #5
The most useful course I ever took was one on Anthropology of Religions. I am not joking either.
 
  • #6
shines57 said:
I still can't comprehend research papers (they seem to be way out of my league), so classes that could make me more literate are definitely valued.

The way to improve your ability to read research papers in a field is to start doing research in that field, and have an advisor and colleagues who can answer questions about them. It also helps to look for survey articles, and lecture notes from "summer schools" or workshops intended for graduate students in the field.
 
  • #7
For both HET and CMT, classes that are useful and pretty much mandatory to know are graduate level quantum mechanics (Shankar or Sakurai), quantum field theory, and maybe a math methods course. Other useful classes for HET are general relativity, a particle physics/standard model course, and if it's offered, string theory. For CMT, take lots of statistical mechanics. Jackson level E&M will probably the least useful for either.

Also, it's a good idea to start narrowing in on a particular field as soon as possible, so that once you know what you're interested in, you can look at the most relevant papers/review articles and see what they have to say about required background knowledge. You could then use that to guide the rest of your courses/self-study. But things like QM, QFT, math methods, stat mech will all be useful regardless.
 
  • #8
I think Math Methods would be best. You will need it for quantum, classical, electrodynamics and statistical. Many grad schools run the course concurrently with the others, but you could get a head start with a math methods course. On the other hand I agree an interesting course might be beneficial too. Maybe a special course you can get from a faculty that would be hard to find in the graduate school. (e.g if a faculty member wants to run a second semester of classical mechanics (rare these days) I say go for it).
 
  • #9
Vanadium 50 said:
The most useful course I ever took was one on Anthropology of Religions. I am not joking either.


Please elaborate.
 
  • #10
The professor required clear, cogent, and brief arguments with a minimum of fluff. And a lot of them. Furthermore, she didn't care what we thought. She wanted us to be able to tell her what Emile Durkheim thought. It was definitely not an "everyone gets a trophy for playing" experience.
 
  • #11
Vanadium 50 said:
The professor required clear, cogent, and brief arguments with a minimum of fluff. And a lot of them. Furthermore, she didn't care what we thought. She wanted us to be able to tell her what Emile Durkheim thought. It was definitely not an "everyone gets a trophy for playing" experience.

Wow, input-output.
 

Related to Most valuable graduate courses?

1. What factors determine the value of a graduate course?

The value of a graduate course is determined by various factors such as the reputation and accreditation of the institution offering the course, the expertise of the faculty teaching the course, the relevance and applicability of the course material in the job market, and the potential for networking and professional development opportunities.

2. How can I determine which graduate courses are most valuable?

There are several ways to determine the value of a graduate course. You can research the reputation and rankings of the institution offering the course, read reviews and feedback from previous students, and consult with industry professionals to get their insights on the relevance and applicability of the course material.

3. Are there any emerging graduate courses that are considered highly valuable?

As the job market and industries evolve, new and emerging graduate courses may be considered highly valuable. Some examples of these courses include data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, which are in high demand in various industries. It is important to stay updated on industry trends and demands to identify valuable courses.

4. Can the value of a graduate course vary depending on the field of study?

Yes, the value of a graduate course can vary depending on the field of study. Some fields may have a higher demand for certain courses, while others may prioritize different courses. It is important to research and understand the specific industry or field you are interested in to determine the most valuable courses for your career goals.

5. How can I make the most of a valuable graduate course?

There are several ways to make the most of a valuable graduate course, such as actively participating in class, networking with peers and faculty, taking advantage of any hands-on or practical learning opportunities, and applying the knowledge and skills learned in real-world situations. It is also important to continue learning and staying updated on industry trends even after completing the course to maximize its value.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
9
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
8
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
9
Views
529
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
721
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
22
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
3
Views
383
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
7
Views
760
Back
Top