Dear Second-Year Students,

Congratulations for surviving your first year of graduate school! Now you get to do it all again, but with a twist: the Second-Year Project. The Second-Year Project is your chance to explore a possible thesis topic without fully committing to it. After presenting your project near the end of the Spring semester, you are free to continue with it, switch to a different project, or even switch to a different advisor. If you do not have a second-year project lined up at this time, please come see me!

In Fall 2012, the Astronomy Department offers the following courses that you might be interested in:

ASTR630 Planetary Science
ASTR670 Interstellar Medium
ASTR699 Master's Degree Research (2 credits)

Recall that it is a requirement that you take either Instrumentation (offered next semester) or Computation (next fall) and that you take either Planetary Science or Galaxies (offered next fall). You can find other possible electives from the course offerings of other departments; Physics, Aerospace Engineering, Meteorology, and Computer Science are good places to look. Two classes, the Second-Year Project, and a TA-ship is a reasonably full load. You may want to consider adding an additional course if you have a fellowship or are extremely Gung-Ho! I have cleared all of you to register for the above three classes - please talk to me about other electives and/or if you are considering an extra course.

In the Spring, check to see if you have a total of 30 credits of 600-level courses in your first 1.5 years. Most of you should have 30 credits; if so, sign up for 2 credits of ASTR898. With 29 credits, sign up for 1 credit of ASTR898 and 1 of ASTR699. For 28 or less, sign up for 2 credits of ASTR699.

Doug Hamilton
Graduate Director