Student involvement in research (PhD)
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Student involvement in research (UG and Masters)
Our department has a long and successful history involving students in research. Students work jointly with faculty on research projects and are often coauthors on publication. To this end students are required to take 2 or 3 electives preparing them for the research experience.
I am continuing this tradition. A have a small group of students working in my computational lab on aspects of research problems, accessible to them. This often results in publications with students coauthors, many of them in the best journals of my field: polymer science and biophysics.
This is a new and interdisciplinary (chemistry, engineering, biology) research area in a field (thermo and statistical mechanics) in which students at SDSU receive as yet a low level of formal training. Hence interested students should consider themselves as pioneers, willing to put in additional time and efforts.
On the other hand, this is a very fast growing subfield of physics at the forefront of 21th century cutting edge research. Moreover, many industries like to hire employees with interdisciplinary training at the cross point between physical, computational, and the life sciences. After finishing their degree most students receive additional training at a doctoral level. Afterwords they have gone on to teaching and reserach positions at colleges and industry. Some have gone on to programming positions, for which an MS or UG degree could be sufficient.
Students are advised to contact me early on. MS students can start during the summer after their first year. Several of my UG students started research during the summer after their sophomore year. Students have to be in and stay in good standing. This implies a 3.0 GPA for MS and 2.0 GPA for UG students. Both in the major courses.Moreover I require that UG students earn a B in Phys317 and MS students a B in Phys580 before enrolling in 498A or 798 (sometimes 580 can be taken concurrent). All students are required to enroll in at least 1 unit of research while working in my lab during the academic year (if not in research or thesis then in 299 or 499). Sometimes summer stipends are available, but most of the work is done for course credit and for your intelectual development. I am always willing to support and help you to apply for the research scholarship grants that are available for SDSU student through many programs. Most are for low income and minority students, but others exist as well. Physics MS students are usually supported by TA positions.
Electives that prepare students for a research experience in my group are: Computational Physics (580), Polymer Science (538).
Students will be able to take these electives while working on their research projects. However, they will need to finish them before or while enrolling in a thesis class (498B or 799).
Not all electives are offered every year. If this causes a problem, students will be able to enroll in a special study section with me to learn the material. This may or may not result in course credit.