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Review before gradschool

  1. Jun 3, 2007 #1
    I'm starting grad school this fall for my PhD, and want to review material before I take my classes again. After talking to the department chair she was suggesting all students retake the undergrad core courses their first semester (Quantum, Statmecn/thermo, theo mech) so that they have a solid understanding. She said some students dont take it but its always better to. Well im only a year out of undergrad and I got A's in all my cores, and I still remember most of the material (I think?). So I'm wondering what I should review so I could take the grad level courses as soon as I start, thus completing my degree a little quicker and avoiding spending 3 months relearning the quantum I already know.

    My question mainly is: I don't have my books anymore (Well, sold my QM book, I have my thermo/stat one, and Theo Mech there was no book.) Whats a good book or site to review these subjects at the advanced undergrad level? Just to make sure I remember most of it, and still understand it.

    Also, anything good for nuclear or particle classes (undergrad level). Just want to make sure I'm up to speed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2007 #2


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    For quantum, you could read from a different book. If you learned from a C-T styled textbook, try Sakurai.

    For classical mech, read the parts in Goldstein that were skipped (for instance the most general case of Neother thm probably)
  4. Jun 3, 2007 #3
    Hello Healey. I'm in pretty much the same position as you (starting my PhD coursework this fall), but I got started on research this summer, so I've obviously been hanging around my department for quite awhile. Can't give advice, but I can tell you what I'm doing. In reviewing for my qualifier, I'm studying out of the Fowles and Cassiday book on analytical mechanics, Griffiths for both E&M and quantum, and Kittel and Kroemer for statistical mechanics. I think these are all very good books...except for Kittel. But I can't find any good thermal books out there. Anyway, I think this will also be helpful in preparing for this fall.

    By the way, are you sure the department chair suggested retaking your core courses. I also got good grades (2 A-s and 2 B+s) in my core courses, and no one suggested that I retake any undergrad courses. I'm taking graduate level E&M, quantum, classical, and thermal. But maybe your department is different than mine.

    Well, good luck to both of us this fall!
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2007
  5. Jun 3, 2007 #4
    Its not that they said "retake". I went to a different school for undergrad. She suggested taking the basic QM/Stat/Theo classes which at THIS school are considered Graduate Level. But they're not the ones required for my PhD, they're the ones required for a bachelors.
    So its grad level courses, but same material I already took at another school (who considered it an undergrad level course).
    And its not as if my graduate school offers an Undergrad QM AND a Grad QM, they offer Grad QM, then QM Theory I and QM Theory II, the latter of which are what is actually required for PhD. The regular Grad QM is whats required for the undergrad degree.

    I think they just call it graduate level because it's complex material.

    Perhaps I'll retake the stat mech/thermo one for a better understanding. I lacked interest in that course in undergrad so it couldn't hurt. But QM and TheoMech I believe I scored 94% and 96% respectively. I had a solid understanding of both thanks to the heavy mathematics.

    Good luck too and thanks for the suggestions!
  6. Jun 4, 2007 #5


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    The one thing you neglected to mention in the REASON why your dept. chair wants you to have a "solid understanding" of these things, especially when you had excellent grades in the undergraduate classes. If the whole point of taking those classes is to get you to pass the qualifier, then I think that decision is entirely up to you.

    Many students who came from less competitive schools but managed to get accepted to more competitive ones will tend "test the waters", so to speak, in the advanced undergrad classes for at least the first semester just to see how well they do among the students at that school. However, you can judge for yourself how well you might do with the qualifier just by simply asking for the old exams and see if you are capable of doing those. If you think you can, and have a good understanding of all the subject areas covered in there, then I'd say that you should consider skipping her advice and go straight into the graduate level classes. You may, for example, want to redo one or two courses at the undergrad level (I redid my thermo because even when I got A's in them, I still didn't think I had a good grasp of it and taking it a 2nd time gave me a better perspective of it). But other than that, you should consider starting your graduate level classes.

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