The academic curriculum consisted of four components -- core courses, electives, laboratory projects, and a team research project. Together, these covered topics ranging from special relativity and superconductivity to bio-ethics and electronic instruments.
To keep pace with the rapid changes in science, PGSS courses evolved from year to year. Although always covering the general topics of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science, the exact content varied. The topics listed below provide a general picture of the experiences students could expect.
Students were required to take all five core courses at first but had the option of dropping one core course after the second week, provided that they were carrying at least one elective course. However, most students did not drop any (despite taking more than one elective).
Each class consisted of a one-hour lecture, for four days each week. In addition to lecture, students were expected to complete a problem set each week for each course. In keeping with the collaborative spirit of PGSS, students were strongly encouraged to work together to solve the assignments.
Students selected one laboratory module from biology, chemistry, physics, or computer science, designed to complement the core curriculum in that area. The labs were held in modern facilities, under the supervision of university experts. As with the core courses, the exact topics varied from year to year.
Lab courses were held for 2 days each week, in 4 hour sessions.
PGSS typically offered from five to seven elective courses each year. Each student could take up to four elective courses, to encourage a balance between academic and social activities. Elective offerings varied drastically from year to year, and were designed to augment the core courses by providing additional breadth of topics, as well as additional depth for advanced (or simply interested!) students.
A smattering of topics offered over the years included the following.
Each elective met for 2-3 hours per week, typical spread over 2 sessions. As with the core courses, students were expected to complete (or at least attempt!) a problem set each week, with group efforts strongly encouraged.
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