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How many courses first semester?


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Hi all,

I am getting ready for course registration, and I wanted to get some feedback from some knowledgeable sources/people who have been in a similar position.

I am starting an MA program in Geography in September. I am doing the Thesis program, so I have 3 courses to take to fulfill my coursework requirements (1 Core + 2 electives). Additionally, my funding package requires that I TA 205 hours, and hold an RA position for my advisor (the times/hours will be flexible on this one).

Bottom line: I'd like to take all 3 of my required courses in the first semester. There are 2 electives that look interesting, and relevant to my research interests. What are your thoughts about taking 3 courses during my first semester of grad school, in addition to these other responsibilities? Would it be more beneficial to take 2 courses Fall semester, and then 1 semester in the Spring, so I can get my feet wet without biting off more than I can chew?

Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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I guess it depends on the difficulty of the courses. I am taking three courses (no TA requirement), but one of the courses is very competitive.

I think you should ask your advisor and other grad students in your lab their opinions. Assuming your not incredibly smarter (or less intelligent) than the rest of your cohort, following their lead would probably be the best course of action.

That TA requirement seems like a killer though.

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Three or four courses + a TA assignment and/or research is pretty common in my program, but these things will be very program dependent, so I'd suggest asking some current students in your program.

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Honestly, I wouldn't try to take them all in the first semester. I would take them according to whatever schedule most of your cohort is because it will give you a chance to bond with them. Moreover, I wouldn't take more than 3 courses plus TAing in your first semester.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I took 4 courses the first semester. Actually, one was added due to my supervisor's request. I didn't plan to enroll too much courses, anyway, the main intention for a phd is doing research, not attending classes, right?

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