Q & A for Prospective Graduate Students (Xubin Zeng's Group)
Q1: Which degree programs should I apply for?
Answer: If you have a B.S. degree, you would apply for M.S. If you have a M.S., you would apply for Ph.D.
Our Department offers M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric science, and M.S. and Ph.D. in hydrometeorology.
You only need to choose one.
Q2: Who are your current and previous group members?
Answer: Check our group pictures and current and previous research members
Q3: What are your research areas?
Answer: Our interests are very broad. There are multiple ways to answer this question.
(a) Land-atmosphere-ocean interface processes, climate modeling, hydrometeorology, remote sensing, and nonlinear dynamics
(b) check the title of our current grants
(c) check the title of our publications
(d) check the program of our recent Research Showcase
Q4: What are the research style and highlights of your group?
Answer: Check our group web site
Q5: What do you look for in my applications?
Answer: Besides carefully reading the whole package, I pay particular attention to
(a) quantitative background (e.g., scores for math courses)
(b) any computer programing experience
(c) willingness to learn and explore new frontiers
Q6: If I join your group, what will I work on?
Answer: Most M.S. students have some vague ideas of what they want to do (e.g., severe weather, climate change, hydrometeorology),
but don't have the concrete ideas that can be pursued for a M.S. degree within a 2 year time frame.
Therefore I usually sit down with each new student at the beginning to design a thesis topic of mutual interest.
With the broad projects we have, we can be quite flexible (see Q3).
Q7: What types of programming does your group do?
Answer: Modeling is usually done in Fortran 90 or C. For data analysis,
group members typically use Matlab or NCL.
Q8: What approach do you take to the student-advisor relationship?
Answer: I expect my students to be fairly independent, although my door is always open for questions and guidance.
I also encourage my students to interact with other group members.
Q9: What activities and meetings does the group participate in?
Answer: My group meets monthly where at least one member of the group
presents the current status of their research and
the remaining members of the group ask questions and offer discussion/critiques.
We also hold an annual Research Showcase where each member of the group presents a conference-style presentation of their work,
followed by questions or comments from the group.
We also hold occasional (and optional) happy hours and group lunch.
Q10: How can I prepare myself ahead of time for the demands of my coursework and research?
Answer: If it has been a few years since you have been in school, it would be helpful to brush up on math.
Specifically, you should have a solid foundation in calculus.
If you have no programming experience, a powerful and fairly easy language to learn is matlab.
Q11: What does a research assistantship entail?
Answer: When funds are availablle, half-time research assistanships (including the coverage of tuitions) are awarded to group members during the academic year.
Being a graduate student supported by half-time research assistantship to do coursework and research is akin to a full time training.
I don't keep track of hours, but I do expect students to provide me with updates on their research progresses on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
-- Last updated December 2016