The final grade for the Spring semester posted yesterday, so I’ve officially finished my first year as a PhD student. The first year was packed full of mandatory core courses and prerequisites. We covered a wide range of topics from microeconomics to advanced statistical methods to national level governance and everything in between. Seven courses, 22 credits, 3 final exams, 5 final papers, 2 mid-term papers, 8 problem sets, 4 SPP events, and countless hours preparing on evenings and weekends later, it feels good to have reached this unofficial milestone.
I’ve chosen not to take courses this summer, but I will definitely stay busy. I spent many hours trying to figure out which direction I wanted to take as I moved beyond the first year. I had narrowed my research focus to two fairly broad areas: information technology policy and nuclear policy. After much deliberation, I decided that while I’m keenly interested in both, my greater interest lies in nuclear policy. When I submitted my updated research goals this month, I incorporated this adjustment and am happy with my choice. I will spend a fair amount of time reading to prepare myself as I move forward. I’ve put together a reading list and will work my way through what I can over the summer.
I’ve also enrolled for Fall 2011 classes since I last posted. The class list is a little different than what I had originally planned, but not radically so. I will be taking PUBP 800 – Culture and Policy, as it is my last core course. This is significant in two ways: it marks a milestone in my progress (completing all core courses), and it means I’ll be taking the comprehensive exam in January. I also decided to take two PUBP 710 courses: Transnational Security Issues and Globalization of Information Technology. The Transnational Security Issues course should dovetail nicely into my nuclear policy interests. I chose the second PUBP 710 course, Globalization of Information Technology, partly because of my continuing interest in Information Technology policy, but also because I’m hoping it will spark ideas related to my nuclear policy interests. Perhaps I’ll be able to weave the two together as I continue toward a dissertation topic.
Well, that’s it for the Spring Semester … I plan to update this blog periodically over the summer, but first I’ll take a week or two to relax, recover, and regroup. Before you know it, August will be upon us … and the Fall Semester will begin in earnest.