Non-Astro Coursework

A good course to take if you are interested in machine learning, statistics or just want to become better at coding (while learning a new language: R), is W4400 Statistical Machine Learning offered by the Statistics Department.

Added by Sarah Pearson.

While our primary mission as astronomy graduate students is to train to become professional scientists, there are sometimes worthwhile courses outside of astronomy. Courses in physics, geosciences, mathematics, computer science, and engineering are generally encouraged by the faculty if it is related to our research interests. In addition, it is generally permissible to take a course totally outside our research field (i.e. music, foreign language, etc.) as long as that course doesn't take up too much of our time. The unspoken policy is to never take more than one non-departmental course at a time, and keep focused on our own research. Informing your advisor and peers of your decision is optional.

Added by Cameron.

I totally disagree with Cameron on one point here. Always talk to your advisor. The more upfront you are with them, the better things will go. Your advisor is the person who is in the position to help you achieve your goals in this program. Maybe one of those goals is becoming fluent in Japanese. Maybe a class in math or applied physics helps. Keeping an open conversation with your advisor about your time management and other commitments is key. Otherwise the conversation will happen later and will be less awesome. You don't always have to take faculty advice, you're a grown up. But they have been around the block and watched other students choices unfold. This advice goes not only for coursework and other extra activities, but also general advisor/advisee relationship issues.

Added by Sarah (graduated)