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Rankings of the U.C.s for Undergrad Physics

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D.T
#1
Feb8-13, 11:19 PM
P: 2
I would like to know the general rankings of the Universities of California for the undergraduate physics major. Please provide reasons and explanations. Grad school information would also be helpful.
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Arsenic&Lace
#2
Feb9-13, 09:13 AM
P: 310
I think several of them are top ranked, UCSB, UCLA, and UC Berkeley in particular, at both undergraduate and graduate level

But really, you should go where the money is. The undergraduate program at Ho Dunk State Uni isn't likely to be much worse than the program at Fancy Pants Famous Uni, and getting into Fancy Pants for grad school isn't really that much easier if you went to a Fancy Pants for undergrad.*

*You might find it easier to get letters of rec from famous people at Fancy Pants which can make a big difference if you screw up your GPA/PGRE/research. First couple years at Ho Dunk tend to be designed to weed out the guys/gals who aren't cut out for it, so if you're a prima donna like me who doesn't like grunt work you might have a lower GPA; grade inflation is (according to some) widespread at top schools. A 3.5 at Princeton looks nicer than a 3.5 at ASU, but at the end of the day none of these "perks" make a significant difference, because becoming a physicist is a crap shoot. The top 10% or so of ASU students typically wind up at top 20 grad schools, so it doesn't appear to matter where you go, as long as you play the game to put together a good application.

EDIT: I contrasted princeton with ASU because I'm an ASU student and ASU is sort of infamous for low standards and is relatively unknown as a physics school.
jtbell
#3
Feb9-13, 09:34 AM
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Quote Quote by Arsenic&Lace View Post
ASU is sort of infamous for low standards and is relatively unknown as a physics school.
I think the folks at Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) might take umbrage at that. (Or is that Alabama State, or Arkansas State, or...)

Arsenic&Lace
#4
Feb9-13, 09:40 AM
P: 310
Rankings of the U.C.s for Undergrad Physics

Haha, Arizona State :)
chill_factor
#5
Feb9-13, 04:48 PM
P: 900
ASU is not that bad. its top 30 physics and seems pretty good in condensed matter and astro.
bcrowell
#6
Feb9-13, 05:00 PM
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AFAIK the physics rankings at the top are basically the same as the over all ratings at the top: Cal and UCLA are the flagships. At the low end, there may be less correlation, e.g., Riverside is one of the easiest to get into in general (nobody wants to live there), but I think their math and physics are actually pretty decent. It's only $70/campus to apply, isn't it? Why not just carpet-bomb the top five UC's and then apply to one backup?
Physics_UG
#7
Feb9-13, 05:07 PM
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Quote Quote by Arsenic&Lace View Post
Haha, Arizona State :)
it's better than U of A for most technical fields though. (according to the rankings)
Arsenic&Lace
#8
Feb9-13, 05:14 PM
P: 310
Yeah ASU is actually up and coming; a collaboration between the chem/physics departments is being floated as possible Nobel material; one of the guys who discovered nanotubes or something did a lot of his research here as an undergrad, there's a famous electron microscopist and I think one of the first people to image individual atoms (if I'm parsing the jargon properly) Ponce works here. And I think Professor Schmidt has some world famous algorithms for solving many body schrodinger equation or what have you.

But I suspect anywhere in the top 40 has its share of almost-famous or actually famous individuals, I was just contrasting the admissions standards which are among the lowest if not the lowest in the nation.
Physics_UG
#9
Feb9-13, 06:47 PM
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Quote Quote by Arsenic&Lace View Post
Yeah ASU is actually up and coming; a collaboration between the chem/physics departments is being floated as possible Nobel material; one of the guys who discovered nanotubes or something did a lot of his research here as an undergrad, there's a famous electron microscopist and I think one of the first people to image individual atoms (if I'm parsing the jargon properly) Ponce works here. And I think Professor Schmidt has some world famous algorithms for solving many body schrodinger equation or what have you.

But I suspect anywhere in the top 40 has its share of almost-famous or actually famous individuals, I was just contrasting the admissions standards which are among the lowest if not the lowest in the nation.
I got into ASU EE PhD with only a 3.5 gpa and 1 yr of research. I think the admissions rate for ASU's grad program is 33%. Fairly competitive...Also, ASU has 2 nobel winning economists and one nobel winning biologist (I think he's bio).
denjay
#10
Feb9-13, 10:00 PM
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Quote Quote by D.T View Post
I would like to know the general rankings of the Universities of California for the undergraduate physics major. Please provide reasons and explanations. Grad school information would also be helpful.
Probably could be solved with a google search and looking at each of their graduate programs. Yes I'm being *that guy* right now for some reason.
D.T
#11
Feb10-13, 11:54 AM
P: 2
I was hoping for some facts (like the UC pages where they list the 10 reasons to choose physics as a major), but also opinions of people with personal experience that could help me decide on a university. I haven't taken high-school seriously enough and don't have enough talent to make up for it, but I figure if I can discipline myself and do exceedingly well and any of the U.Cs (better if they have a good amount of funding), I'll be okay. I'll try to take advantage of Coursera, EdX, ocw, khan, all that good internet material.
I'm a high school senior now, and probably within the mid-tier UC range.
Asian, 1st-gen, family income~40k 6 ppl, ACT(Comp:29, Eng:26, Mat:31, Red:24, Sci:34, Wri:27); SAT(2020-CR:680, Mat:730, Wri:610); SATII(MatII:670 =(, Chem:720, Phys:750) AP(Chem:3, Lang:2, PhyB:4, US:3, World:4) UC GPA: 3.82, Unweighted~somewhere around 3.4?, Weighted no cap:~4.08, Good Personal Statements (In my opinion o-o) Weakish E.Cs
Can't be like my friend that can take PhysB & C and Calc BC, totaling 8 ap tests, in his junior year x-x.
I carpet-bombed 6 U.Cs: Berkeley, Irvine, L.A, Riverside, SD, SB.
Luckily Riverside released admissions in February =), I was offered the Chancellors Scholarship (2500/yr) and am considering going there for the financial benefits of that. Just waiting on other decisions to come in March, but after that, it's time to choose.


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