The physics department at the Colorado School of Mines is refining its doctoral track with new graduate-level classes.
The department has received information and inspiration from its innovative faculty. Professor Lincoln Carr, the leader behind the movement, has spent three years as a teacher in the school’s McBride Honors Program. One year ago, he chose to offer a classical mechanics course to help students gain more preparation for intensive research, which is a major part of physics graduate school careers.
In the physics department, one out of every five students will spend eight or more years in school working toward their Ph.D's. Unfortunately, this educational path is structured in a complicated way in the U.S.
“They do two years of classes – it’s this block where many faculty, including me, have tended to repeat what their great masters taught them,” Carr said. “And then they do research.”
Carr chose to change this approach to help students achieve in graduate school.
“My idea was to have them start on research on Day One in the classroom,” Carr said. “They all got shop-certified, they got electronics lab-certified, they had to build an apparatus and explain it.”
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