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Question about physics grad school.

  1. Oct 8, 2012 #1
    Do some physics grad schools offer tutoring for the graduate classes?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2012 #2
    at least at mine, no. I try to even ask one of my professor after class about homework and he brushes me off. He reads the book to the class, does not do a single example problem, and doesn't have printed notes but writes on the blackboard in a totally incomprehensible handwriting. My other professors are nice though, but still no tutoring.
  4. Oct 8, 2012 #3


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Expect the quality of the teaching in graduate courses to be the worst you have ever encountered. You will be expected to learn despite the instruction. Forget about tutoring. Don't even expect profs to make token efforts to do a good job. I took about 12 courses in grad school. Of those, probably 2 were taught by people who seemed to have put in some effort into teaching and also seemed to be at least somewhat tuned in to what the students were learning.

    I still remember my E&M professor. Twice every week, he walked into class with his copy of Jackson. We all walked into class with our copies of Jackson. He would read it out loud in a thick Italian accent. Everyone would turn the page at the same time. Once I raised my hand and tried to ask a question. "Yes?" "I'm confused, because it seems to me like the solutions form a basis that spans the whole space, so I don't understand why everything isn't just trivially a solution to this equation." Thick accent: "I don't understand." (I try to rephrase the question.) "I don't understand." (I try again.) "I don't understand."
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  5. Oct 8, 2012 #4
    so basically if your not self sufficient in grad school you wont even have a prayer.
  6. Oct 8, 2012 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    You don't have to be completely on your own. Get into a study group with some of your classmates.
  7. Oct 9, 2012 #6
    I'm in my first year of grad school right now. We don't exactly have tutoring, but the TAs hold discussion sections and office hours. This is fortunate because the professor for my classical mechanics course can be pretty confusing, but the TA for the class is brilliant, lucid and very enthusiastic.
  8. Oct 9, 2012 #7
    Get yourself a study group, and think of it as a team building exercise (which it is).

    One thing that I've seen is that people who lock themselves in their room generally end up not finishing.

    Also, one thing about a study group is that it's a good place to vent and to get some indirect feedback. If you mention that the problems are impossible and the professor is incompetent, and people start complaining, then you are in good shape. If you mention this and you get the feeling that people aren't having that much difficulty, then this is a bad sign.
  9. Oct 9, 2012 #8
    I thought it was just my school. Guess not. Do you have experience with office hours in grad level classes?
  10. Oct 9, 2012 #9
    So I should try to pick a grad school that has TA's. And I will also try to form study groups
  11. Oct 9, 2012 #10
    Not at my school. In fact, grad students are expected to tutor undergrads each week and/or lead a lab or discussion section.
  12. Oct 10, 2012 #11
    I guess i should go to a place where I can get help as an undergrad.
  13. Oct 11, 2012 #12
    Wow, I honestly thought I was alone in these observations. I once had a question about one of my HW problems involving a proof and my professor said what basically boiled down to, "The book is old and well-used so the author must be right. Now get out of my office."
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