6 December 2007


Not entirely good news, but at least the removal of some long-lasting uncertainty. So it's at least something less to worry about during the Christmas holidays. Wonder what I am talking about?? Here's the long story.

I talked to the professor who has to decide whether I can waive some of the breadth requirements of the PhD program due to the courses that I already took back in good old Ilmenau. He instantly dismissed all of the math courses (you'll soon see why) as not being eligible and then we talked a lot about the algorithm courses that I wanted to use to waive my theory credit. The material that I had brought was not sufficient, so he kept asking questions which I couldn't answer to his satisfaction either. After all, I had already given him all the material that I had!

Finally it came down to one thing: he wanted to know how difficult the courses were! He said that a graduate course is only taken by the best of all the students who do undergrad courses and those students get much lower marks on the graduate course. Should I have told him that in Germany just the contrary is true? Obligatory courses filter students. Optional courses educate students. (Okay, this was largely exaggerated.)

Result of the meeting: I have to come up with some more supporting evidence that the courses are really hard enough. After all, the mark will go to my official transcript, so I understand that some caution must be taken. (Actually I have to ask whether the mark really goes to the transcript. Because if it doesn't, everything should be quite a bit easier to handle.)

So now why am I relieved nevertheless? There is still some really good news! Just after leaving that prof's office, I went the the grad office and the nice people there told me that my request for course reduction was granted in full extend! So I only have to take six courses overall for the PhD!

Well, it might happen that I still have to take more than six to cover all my breadth requirements. That's the pigeon hole principle reversed: how can I cover six areas with six courses if I am already taking two courses in each of my favourite areas?

So you see, some relief has taken place, but the race is still exciting. He, he.


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