Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shopping for Classes

Brief update. I've officially started graduate school. It's been 2 days. Two really LONG days. I can't believe tomorrow is only Wednesday. I've attended about 8 classes so far. I have two required classes I have to take this quarter. This leaves me the flexibility to choose one more class (plus a seminar). It's not as straight forward as I thought it would be. More and more interesting classes keep coming my way.

I've managed to order some books for my required classes. I'm going to meet with my advisor again tomorrow and settle on one of the four choices I have for my third class. I think I will also sit in on two classes that don't really have anything to do with geo. My advisor said to talk to him in a couple of weeks about research once I get settled in. I think I will be really busy this term.

The two required classes:
(1) Structural geology and rock mechanics: I think this class will be interesting. But I lack the MATLAB skills and geology knowledge. The class is pretty diverse in terms of these knowledge and skills so I'm not the only one. But I think it will still be rough getting up to speed on some of these things.
(2) Finite Element: This class is sooo abstract. It's like being in 18.014 again... The professor uses mathematical symbols liberally. I'm glad I have some theoretical math background though because most of the other people in the class are engineers. But a lot of them have had some exposure to finite element and finite difference methods. This class also involves MATLAB.

The 4 classes that I'm considering (need to choose only ONE):
(1) Crustal Deformation (3 units): very interesting stuff. not sure I will be able to follow. professor seems cool and will NOT be teaching the class next year.
(2) Surface and Near Surface Hydrological Response (3 units): I didn't make it to the first class because my advisor told me about the class that day. I did manage to pick up the syllabus and this class looks useful.
(3) Sedimentation Mechanics (4 units): A little intimidated by the 3rd year geoscience grad students in the class. The class seems somewhat interesting. Includes field observations and lab work. Not sure if I can keep up but we're doing dimensional analysis for the first few lectures, which I think I can handle.
(4) Hydrogeology (4 units): Not sure why this is 4 units. This class seems the easiest of all the classes. I think it would be somewhat useful and interesting.

I'm leaning towards the 3 unit classes because this would let me take a one unit class on using MATLAB. I think I need the MATLAB class if I want to survive this quarter (and future quarters). Anyway, any opinions/advice would be appreciated.

1 comment:

X said...

I have to use quite a bit of MATLAB in my hw for solid mechanics(which covers pretty much the same thing as 1.050). There were quite a few people who didn't know how to use it before, but I think it's not too difficult to pick up, esp if you have some programming background.

I agree with you about the finite elements. All the prof did in class was derive things. I think I understood it a little better after the first hw, which was pretty much going over what happened in class.

If you know anyone there who were undergrad at Stanford, you could ask if they have taken those classes before.

I wish I have only two required classes. Five classes and a proj is so much work...