Notes to Prospective Grad StudentsGraduate students in the Chaos group at Maryland come from a wide variety of disiplines, including physics, engineering, and applied math. Based on your experience you should apply to the department that suits your interests.
Here is what to expect in the first several years of grad studies. The following comments are derived from my experiences in the physics department, but in general, they also hold true for students in other disciplines.
I would say that the first year is generally the toughest because that's when you are saddled with taking core courses, teaching undegraduates, and preparing for the PhD Qualifying exam. Basically, the transition from an undergraduate to a graduate student is pretty discontinuous, and most people will admit that the experience is generally much tougher than they expected. Of course, all is not doom and gloom. Times do get much better once a student passes the first year and the Qualifying exam. I think what gets most people through the tough times is the friendship and camaraderie they develop with their fellow grad students.
The normal course for a grad student in physics would be as follows:
Finally, here are the contact information you need to apply for the various graduate programs: