First I would like to say one thing: FUCK CANALBLOG. I've been writtring this article for the past half-an-hour and the page just froze all of sudden. How to waste 30min for nothing...thanks Canalblog.
So I will write AGAIN what I was just saying.
Some people have been asking me what I was studying and all sorts of questions that come with it. I'll try to answer by explaining you what I'm doing this semester
"What am I doing this semester?", the answer is quite simple: mostly Material Sciences (I'm doing my major in Material Sciences so..). This means that this semester I'm doing the following modules (that I've chosen to do thanks to NUS policy towards exchange students and my supervisor in France I could choose almost whatever I want):
-EE4413: low-dimensional devices: The recent emergence of fabrication tools and techniques capable of constructing nanometer-sized structures has opened up numerous possibilities for the development of new devices with size domains ranging from 0.1 - 50 nm. The course introduces new device concepts that take advantage of quantum mechanical phenomena on the nanometer scale, including the discreteness of confined states and electron charges. Topics covered: nano-engineering and nanofabrication techniques; introduction to nanoelectronics including single-electron effect and its application in transistor and memory devices; low dimensional structures (quantum well, quantum wire and quantum dot); low dimensional physics, including that of heterostructure; and carbon nanotube electronics.
-CN4223: Microelectronic Thin-Films: This module provides students with a working knowledge of thin film technology as this is applicable in the microelectronics industry. The emphasis is on the role of chemical and engineering science in materials processing. The module commences with an introduction to basic concepts in the kinetic theory of gases, thin film formation, vacuum technology and surface preparation. The next section covers a variety of thin film deposition techniques ? physical as well as chemical. Thin film processing and patterning is the next subject of discussion. In particular, process operations relevant to semi-conductor device manufacture are covered. Diagnostics and characterization of thin films is also presented with a view to familiarize students in state-of-the-art methodologies. The last part is devoted to an intensive study of thin film phenomena from a materials perspective. This module is targeted at level 4 chemical engineering students.
-PC3241: Solid State Devices: This module aims to introduce students to solid state devices. The topics covered include: introduction to semiconductors, charge carrier concentrations, drift of carriers in electric and magnetic fields, diffusion and recombination of excess carriers, p-n junction physics, junction diodes, tunnel diodes, photodiodes, light emitting diodes, bipolar junction transistors, junction field effect transistors (JFET), metal-semiconductor contacts metal-insulator-semiconductor interfaces, basic MOSFET.
-ML4104: Fracture and Fatigue of Materials: Material fracture at atomistic scale: bond breaking; material damage at microscale: the nucleation, propagation and interaction of dislocations, void formation, crack initiation and propagation; fracture mechanics and its application to material design and selection; experimental measurement of fracture toughness; mechanisms of fatigue crack nucleation and growth; fatigue crack growth models and their applications to material life prediction; creep micro-mechanisms and creep fatigue; non-destructive evaluation techniques; case studies. Learning objectives: Material failure mechanisms, designs and selections from the atomic through micro- to the macro-scale. Target students: Students of Materials Science and related disciplines.
-MLE3102: Degradation and failure of materials: Corrosion of metals and alloys: Economics of corrosion, Thermodynamics and electrochemistry of corrosion, Types of corrosion, Environmental effects on corrosion, Corrosion of selected metals and alloys, Corrosion protection, Corrosion monitoring; Degradation of nonmetallic materials: Biological, chemical and photodegradation of polymers, Environmental degradation, Photocorrosion of semiconductors; Failure mechanisms of materials. Failure analysis and Non-destructive testing: techniques and methodology, case histories.
As you can see I'm doing 4th year modules (the ones in 4000) and 3rd year modules (the ones in 3000). The 4th year is the final year before graduation for NUS students meaning that they also have to do a FYP (Final Year Project) with a thesis to submit by the end of the year. Fresh graduate can either decide to start working with their new diploma: a Bachelor or to pursue their studies in a graduate school: first Master Degree and then PhD. Master Degrees are minimum 3 semesters long (most students are using two years). PhD are 3 to 5 year long (most students will do it in 4 years).
The thing that matters for them anyway is the GPA they obtained for their graduation. GPA stands for General Point Average and can be calculated as follow (you simply weight each module by its number of credits).
Therefore it allow you to get a mention or not once you graduate according to this table right above.
All this to tell you that if one day you want to find a job in a country overseas (such as UK, USA, and so on) you will be asked to give your GPA. And it's something you HAVE to do. For example I've done several applications during the past few weeks, everytime I had to fill an application form online (you basically enter your resume in their database). Thus you have to fill the blank corresponding to your GPA if you want to be able to continue to step 2.. As a French I'm just fucked (we don't have any GPA) so I simply decided to enter the one I had last semester at NUS.
Second thing, don't be surprised if someone tells you during a career faire fair: "I'll check these informations [whe was referring to my GPA and the module I took last semester] with NUS" (it happened to me). Grades matter a lot wherever you want to go: Intel is asking applicants to have a GPA above 3, to go in exchange NUS students usually need a GPA above 2.75, to enter a graduate school you also need to have a good GPA..
Ok back to "what I'm studying". It's been three weeks since I started and so far I'm ok with what I took. I really like EE4413 (lectures are interesting and the lecturer is talented). CN4223 is also very interesting since it's mostly informative (we skip most of the theory about physical and chemical processes ocurring). PC3241 is interesting but starts to be really difficult. Having 4hours of lectures straight is not really helping to stay focuses on the equations..However the lecture is from the industry (he works for Chartered Semiconductors) hence he brings details which are noteworthy.
Finally fracture and corrosion are pure Material Science modules, it's ok. Both are theorical and quite difficult, both are not really related to what I want to do as a future engineer, but this is part of my cursus so I won't complain to much about it.
Final thing I want to say in this article (I could talk about the way people act in class: both lecturers and students, the facilities we have, the content, the format, etc. but I am already not concise so...) is to present you what IVLE is. IVLE stands for integrated virtual environment (have a look to the homepage). This allows us to have access to informations concerning our modules such as the descriptions, the venue, but also to download all the slides and the tutorials before the lecture/tutorial. There is also the possibility to email anybody in the class roaster or the lecturer. Finally you also have a direct view of the current and upcoming events at NUS (sports, activities, parties, etc). This is what I see: