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courses for grad students

Mon Nov 24 20:31:41 EST 1997

As a current grad student, I find that having a certain 'core curriculum' that all students are to complete in their first 2 years at my school put us all on a more even playing field. We had people from extremely diverse backgrounds and countries of origin. Profs at my school can count on us having at least completed this required work successfully before bringing us into their labs. As I've gotten more senior however, I find its terribly difficult to convince my boss to "allow" me to take/audit courses that I find interesting (neuroscience) because they will not directly improve my thesis work. Our graduate dean is very supportive of senior students taking courses in their 3/4th years, and that takes some heat off, but many of my classmates would not even approch the subject w/ their bosses because they don't want the fight. Student interest and enthusiasm for learning is occasionally offered on the altar of "you do want to get out of here, don't you?"

my two amino acids 

Robyn Temple
SUNY HSC at Brooklyn

_______________________ Reply Separator _______________________

Subject: Re: courses for grad students 
Author:  <cjfuller at mindspring.com (C.J. Fuller) > at Internet
Date:    11/20/97 11:58 AM

I went to grad school at Cornell, where the only required course in
nutrition was the glorified journal club seminar.  Theoretically you could
get a PhD in nutrition without taking a nutrition course other than the
seminar.  That gave you a lot of freedom, but that did not foster much
communication between the nutritional biochemists, international nutrition
people, and the community nutrition people--unless you played on the
intramural hockey team.  

In my current dept at UNC-Greensboro, we require all grad students to take
a core nutrient metabolism course.  This requires biochem, advanced
nutrition and physiology as prereqs and contains lots of molecular
biology.  This gives our students a common knowledge base and forces more
interaction (although the basic and applied students still sit on opposite
ends of the room).  Often this poses a problem in recruiting re-entry
students-psych majors, or dietitians who want to get masters degrees in
applied nutrition.  They have to take so many courses to get their
applications looked at that they decide to go someplace else.

I like the idea of core courses for grad students in the sciences, but the
program should not be so regimented that they don't have time to get into
the lab and do research early or they can't stretch themselves by taking
one or two  classes outside their committee's dictates.

Cindy Fuller

C.J. Fuller
<mailto:cjfuller at erickson.uncg.edu>
<mailto:cjfuller at mindspring.com>

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