Tuesday, June 29, 2010


It's not that people cannot think mathematically. It's that they have enormous trouble doing it in a de-contextualized, abstract setting.

-- Keith Devlin

From In Math You Have to Remember, In Other Subjects You Can Think About It

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Masters to Graduate Diploma

In 2008 I commenced a coursework Masters in mathematics at the University of Queensland. I have downgraded this to a Graduate Diploma and should officially graduate in a few weeks.

My original goal for commencing postgraduate study was to improve my knowledge in programming languages and make the current research more accessible. Unfortunately the local universities teach very little (relevant) theoretical computing science, so I enrolled in mathematics with a focus on discrete mathematics, logic and abstract algebra. After the first year I discovered that there is no real future in programming language research here in Brisbane. I had achieved my goal in the context of the courses available and so switched my study to statistics as data analytics is both interesting and hopefully more viable locally.

To complete the Masters I need to do the equivalent of four courses in research. As I am enrolled in a coursework masters, I pay 2-3 times the standard undergraduate fees. The last course cost $2010. Therefore there is approximately $8000 in fees remaining.

I would enjoy the remaining Masters research component if could find the right supervisor and topic. However employment as a researcher now generally requires a PhD, not a Masters and while a PhD is longer, it also has no fees. So if the circumstances were right to do the Masters research it makes more sense to consider a PhD anyway.

The value proposition for completing the Masters is too low. I have fulfilled the requirements for a Graduate Diploma and so will finish with that.