GSS: Beyond the Qualifying Exams John Paul Roop August 25, 2003
Finishing Up Graduate Coursework • Breadth Requirement: Two courses in each sub-discipline of algebra, analysis, computation, operations research, and statistics. - Sixty credit hour requirement - Sixty credit hours are the minimum; however, you will be strongly encouraged/required to take more than that number of hours. - Most transfer credit from other universities will be ignored, especially courses from foreign universities. - It is important to understand that the amount of work required for each graduate course greatly varies by course and instructor.
Taking/Passing the Comprehensive Exam - This exam makes you a Ph.D. candidate. - Involves an approximately 20+ page research paper which includes: - An introductory section which reviews the relevant literature. - A presentation of original work which has been conducted so far in your area. - A proposal for future work to culminate in your Ph.D., although the game may change before you actually finish. - Preferably a timeline indicating your future progress in the program, including a potential graduation date.
Work Involved in Finishing the Dissertation - Lots more learning/background research in terms of gaining expertise in your field of choice. - Refereed journal publications. - Seminar/conference talks. - Potentially serving as reviewer for research publications as well as grant proposals. - Formatting the dissertation/learning LATEX. - Composing a Vita, Research and Teaching Statements.
The Choice of an Advisor and Research Topic Has Many Serious Ramifications Towards Your Progress in the Program
Example: M.S. Advisor Selection -Student A: Barely 3.0 GPA and finished in 1.5 years. -Student B: Higher GPA than A and finished in 2.5 years. -Student C: Higher GPA than A or B and finished in 3.5 years.
The Choice of a Ph.D. advisor/research topic has more serious ramifications - The skill set required in order to perform research tasks. - How long it will take you to finish your degree. - What positions you are able to apply for and/or obtain. - What specialized courses you will be able/required to teach. - Your research curriculum for at least the first few years.
How Should One Go about the Process of Choosing an Advisor? - Use coursework to decide your areas of interest/ability. - Attend research talks of professors/students of interest. - Schedule a meeting with potential advisors. - Examine the nature of the professor’s research output. - Your most valuable resource: other graduate students, but BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TALK TO.
Other Topics of Conversation/Advice - “I hate analysis and proofs.” LEAVE NOW - “If I can just pass qualifiers, writing the dissertation will be a piece of cake.” NOTHING COULD BE MORE FALSE - “I don’t need to come to class if I don’t want to.” MANY PROFESSORS MAY GIVE A LOWER GRADE BASED ON POOR ATTENDANCE/PERSONAL OPINION - “My professor/supervisor is a jerk/stupid/slacker/nut-job.” IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER TO KEEP A PROFESSIONAL DEMEANOR IN A PLACE OF BUSINESS
Parting Shot “Much like personal salvation, the battle of obtaining a post-graduate degree is a battle against yourself, and no one else.”