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Which should i take, solid state or stat mech?

  1. Dec 6, 2012 #1
    deciding between 2 grad courses next semester, solid state and stat mech. I've already taken the undergrad versions of both. Got an extremely low grade in solid state the first time, A in stat mech. Currently grad student in condensed matter physics.

    The solid state class will focus on electromagnetic properties of materials covering crystal structure and X-ray diffraction, Drude and Sommerfeld model, periodic lattices and band theory, lattice vibrations, experimental probes, semiconductors, dielectrics, magnetism.

    The stat mech class will cover review of basic thermodynamics, classical gases, Bose statistics, Fermi statistics, interacting systems with cluster expansions, second quantization and intro to phase transitions. Applications include electrons in solids, phonons and magnetism.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2012 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd go with the stat mech to keep your grades good while you polish up on your undergrad solid state knowledge.
     
  4. Dec 6, 2012 #3
    You can't go wrong by taking both. :)
     
  5. Dec 6, 2012 #4
    I want to avoid taking EM and 2 other hard theoretical classes since that might have bad results...

    thanks for the advice!
     
  6. Dec 7, 2012 #5
    ok situation has a minor change; I'm probably going to work on a project involving fabrication of Josephson junctions. Would it be better to take solid state? Then again the solid state class is going to not be too intense in superconductivity, so I'm not sure if stat mech would be better. Maybe I can just listen to the solid state class while registered for stat mech?

    In addition, I'm just in this for my MS; would getting a low undergrad grade in a core class solid state and then not making it up with a higher grade at the grad level hurt me in PhD admissions (for physical chemistry and materials engineering), even if I had high grades in quantum and stat mech, both of which are still core classes for physical chemistry and materials engineering? Even though I will try to take solid state next year, it won't show up on my transcript; the professor also said he might go on sabbatical next year. Damn, dunno what to do.
     
  7. Dec 7, 2012 #6

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Go stat remember you're going to use the to audit or review your solid state stuff.
     
  8. Dec 7, 2012 #7
    would it hurt me badly in admissions when they see the big red F next to solid state (kinda important class for materials research!) on my undergrad transcript and no corresponding "high" grade in my grad transcript?
     
  9. Dec 7, 2012 #8

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Is that the only bad grade? Did you get your act together after that? How did you do on GRE tests?

    Grad admissions committee looks for reasons to reject? First is GRE? Then your overall transcripts and statement of purpose letter? Then whether you have some special skills that a prof is looking for to further his/her research? Ultimately you're applying for a job? And how well you do once you get your degree reflects on the department.

    I would contact the departments you're applying to to get an idea of how they review grad apps? Grad admissions don't do this in our school, they just manage your application making sure everything required has been submitted before they forward it to the department.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2012 #9
    I'm not sure.

    For potential "hireable skills" I have experience in a huge array of chemical analytical equipment; suffice to say that many important hard materials measurements (SEM, AFM, XRD, PMS, tensile testing) is covered as well as some soft materials measurements (chromatography, electrophoresis, dynamic light scattering); fabrication knowledge using lithography, sputtering, CVD, PVD and synthetic inorganic chemistry; 1 year undergrad research in polymer physics; starting to do grad research in superconductivity; programming in C, Labviews and Mathematica. No papers yet however.

    My GRE is 1300+/4.5; haven't taken subject GRE, probably will take the chemistry GRE and don't need subject GRE for materials engineering grad school. However the F in solid state is not my only bad grade from undergrad. Also some D's in some bio and econ classes. Yeah I had a rough time in the middle of the degree.
     
  11. Dec 7, 2012 #10

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, haven't we all. Well there's nothing you can about the grades you have other than to continue to do well. Your other skills should help. Also apply to a range of schools, some long shots some in the ball park and some safe schools to cover all bases.
     
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