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Graduate Coursework Review

May 8, 2013

Now that I have officially finished all of my required graduate coursework (celebrate!), I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I did right and where I went wrong. Due to the nature of my interdisciplinary degree, it’s no surprise that I overloaded on social science courses:

  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Seminar in Electric Power (covering the history of regulation in the electricity industry)
  • Risk Perception and Communication
  • Analysis of Uncertain Social Systems
  • Communication Design and Analysis

I’m considering rounding out my focus on communication design with a graphic design course. I really enjoyed all of these courses (except economics … too many proofs). Each one ended up being a lot more interesting and useful than I had expected.

I also did my fair share of science and engineering coursework:

  • Experimental Design for Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Engineering and Economics of Electric Energy Systems
  • Intermediate Statistics
  • Optimization
  • Introduction to Econometric Theory
  • Cybersecurity in Critical Infrastructure Protection

Here is where I benefit from hindsight. I ended up doing my statistics coursework in completely the wrong order. I learned very little in my Experimental Design course, which suffered from too-detailed directions in the labs. Ultimately, I should have taken statistics in the policy school rather than the statistics department – I barely passed Intermediate Statistics, although I learned a lot about the fundamental arguments in statistics (ex. Frequentist vs. Bayesian, Confidence Intervals vs. Hypothesis Testing). Intermediate Statistics was interesting, even though it was too difficult for me, which is really a testament to the professor. I tacked on the cybersecurity course at the end of this semester in preparation for a potential cybersecurity project that I will be involved with.

The sad part is that I went around to a bunch of older students during registration for my first semester to get advice on what courses to take. Everyone’s advice conflicted, of course, so I took some and not others. Now I look back and finally understand who’s advice I should have taken and didn’t. Alas, such is life.

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