Thursday, September 6, 2007

Kicking Off Grad School

When I was applying for graduate schools, I was told by several sources that BYU has a reputation for giving out inflated grades in undergraduate classes that resulted in less being demanded of the students. This would logically mean that starting graduate students coming out of BYU should be poorly prepared for graduate classes relative to their peers from other, tougher schools.

I don't know what Joe's experience is so far, but I can tell you that my experience here at the University of Colorado has shown that not to be the case. Not even close.

For example, in my math methods class, right now we're reviewing the linear algebra I learned in Math 343, which I took as a freshman at BYU. In my internal processes class (its the astrophysics version of quantum with a dash of E&M) we're talking about the hydrogen atom, which I learned both in Physics 222 and 452. The only one of my classes that is actually presenting new material to me is my Fluid Dynamics class, and even then we've spent a lot of time reviewing these things called tensors (anyone heard of those?), writing vectors with indices, and what the divergence, curl, and gradient operators do. It's pretty rough.

My sarcasm aside, I understand that graduate classes are taking people from a wide variety of programs that covered or failed to cover a wide range of topics, but right now I think I am among the most prepared students in my incoming 1st year group of students, which includes students from highly prestigious schools such as UC-Berkley, Chicago, and Cornell.

BYU may have a bit of a poor reputation for grade inflation and a "soft" undergraduate program, but in my experience, that reputation is totally unfounded. Maybe Joe is having a different experience, but from where I sit, BYU did a better job of preparing a student for grad school than almost any other program represented here at CU.


  1. We don't start here until the 27th so it's hard to tell, but so far I haven't met anyone who strikes me as being out of my league in terms of preparation or being an intellectual powerhouse.

    People here seem on about the same level as BYU, from what I can tell. Maybe when classes start I will be able to tell better.

    I will actually post more about the school in the future. I'll say this: so far so good.

  2. I'd agree. I'm in 3rd year astrophysics at yale, and had i think the best undergrad physics/astronomy courses out of anyone. the only possible exception was in computer programming/numerical methods. by the way, joseph, we should talk sometime; I'm doing my thesis on feedback of Pop III stars on the first galaxies, adn just saw your paper on astro-ph the other day.

  3. I'll leave my name -- bill knows me. andrew davis ( cheers


To add a link to text:
<a href="URL">Text</a>