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Hello, I am looking forward to applying to a chemistry PhD program for the fall of 2018. I wanted to know if there are any schools that "specialize" in theory/computation. Or, what are some schools that have really good faculty in this field? Thanks
I'm about 16 months into my PhD program. At my university (which is mid-tier but rising), you spend the first year knocking most of your required classes out of the way and join a lab during the summer after the first year (so about 10 months in). So for the last 6 months or so I've been in my PI's lab doing work, but I often have the opposite problem I see some PhD students mentioning... my problem is that I don't do enough work. It's not that there is work for me to do and I ignore it, there just isn't much for me to do. The PI gives me tasks and they either don't take very long or are so over my head that there's no chance I could do them without him being there, and he often only physically shows up 1 or 2 days a week because he's busy with other things. I am wondering what other people's experiences are in terms of hours. I know every lab and field is different, we're in the chemistry department, but it's a computational lab, so the work is all on the computer, I find it hard to get meaningful answers about this because what we do is so different from the rest of the chem department. The only other computational chem grad student I know is the other guy in my lab who has been there a year longer than me, but is in the same stage of the program (i.e. he hasn't started having committee meetings yet, etc) who always seems to have something to do, but I get the impression that what he's doing is learning stuff for himself and it's not really related to the lab. Since it's on the computer, the PI often works remotely and is slow to answer emails sometimes. When he comes in, sometimes I mention this to him but he doesn't seem particularly concerned. He's a nice guy and he seems happy to help with stuff when he's there, but he's a young guy, a new prof and I'm essentially tied for being his first graduate student, so he doesn't seem to have a lot of experience managing people. I'm too new to the lab to be independent/come up with stuff to do for the lab's research myself, and the prof doesn't give me much to do so I often only spend 3-4 hours a day actually doing anything, then I just go home and relax or half-heartedly skim some random publication related to the lab or read up on coding tutorials that I think will be useful later etc. At first I greatly enjoyed the lack of pressure (this is partly what drew me to computational chem in the first place... no getting up at 7 AM to prepare samples and do a bunch of chemical rundowns like when I did some short lab rotations in some more traditional labs that I was thinking about joining) but it's been a couple of months and I am getting worried that I'm going to be really behind when the department comes inspecting, or that I'll generally fall behind in some important way, such as publications (I don't have any, but the prof says that in computational chemistry, often you don't publish results formally in a journal and instead share a program or code so our field tends to have a low paper count). I can't say I've done NOTHING, because occaisonally there are weeks when I have a lot to do, but "a lot to do" for me means I spend 30-35 hours working instead of 15-20 (not counting TAing, which I spend 5-6 hours a week on). 30-35 still seems quite light compared to what I hear other chem students say they do, but on the other hand, they spend a lot of time doing more traditional chem labwork that is necessary to actually do research, whereas what we do is on the computers so we don't have that. Since it's such a different type of field, I'm not sure what's normal. I would post this in the chemistry forum, but that seems to be all people asking about admissions, so I doubt I'd get any meaningful replies there. Thanks for reading. Edit: I thought I should mention that I am not currently in any classes. My only real responsibility besides labwork during this semester is TAing freshman chem lab, which is 3 hours per week with an accompanying 1.5-2.5 hours of grading. There are no office hours
I'm now in my junior year (2 semesters left actually), double major in Biochem and Computer Science and interested in applying to Compbio PhD programs. Used to spend a lot of time in wet-lab(might be a waste of time...) but grow more interest in the comp bio recently, and plan to change to dry lab in the following semester. Here comes the question, I consulted a Ph.D student who is in a compchem program and he told me that coding ability actually is more important for computational science research. So I'm now considering about giving up biochem major, also concerning continuing on these two majors could be really a heavy burden for the following semesters. I took some chem/bio courses which I think should be already meet the prereq compbio programs(with reference to CMU compbio), but there are still like 5 more upper-level courses left to finish the BS degree: Gen Chem 1/2 w/Lab, Organic Chem 1/2 w/Lab, Inorganic Chem, Analytical Chem w/Lab, Phycical Chem 1/2 Computational Pchem Lab, Gen Bio 1 w/Lab, Molecular Biology & Genetics, Intro Biochem, Macromolecule Struc & Metabolism (Will still take one Cell Bio and one u'grad course in compbio offered by bio dept next semester if I decide to give up biochem)