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Programs Age and PhD in US

  1. Sep 5, 2012 #1
    Is it possible to start a PhD in US universities when you are 27? Having a Master from a major university. Is it too late?

    I mean, if you are not focused on an academic career, and you want to get a PhD to get the higher possible degree and then get a job that is somewhat related to physics (instead of attempting to get tenured).

    I have heard that US universities do not discriminate by age. Does that mean that they are really not interested in the age of the applicant?

    P.S. I am still 23, but I think I will spend next two years getting a Master from a major UK university. Then I suppose I should use one year for GRE before applications. So I would apply when I am 26.

    Thanks for any opinion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2012 #2


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    This shouldn't be a problem. I know many graduate students in the US who are significantly older than this, and it is against the law for US universities to discriminate on account of age.
  4. Sep 5, 2012 #3

    Dr Transport

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    yes, that is how old I was went I went back for my PhD
  5. Sep 5, 2012 #4
    Ph.D. practices vary wildly from field to field. In some fields (education) it's standard to start a Ph.D. in your 30's or 40's.

    Now, in physics in the United States most people go straight into a joint masters/doctoral straight out of undergraduate.

    I don't think they care. The big barriers aren't the admissions committees but rather lifestyle issues (it's easier to live on ramen if you are unattached and have no kids). I don't think 23 versus 27 is going to make a difference here.
  6. Sep 5, 2012 #5
    I will finish my Physics BS right near turning 32 (graduation is generally around my birthday) and whenever I bring up my age with my adviser and professors (one of which is my age...): they say that the maturity and experience that I bring with my age can be a boon. They are not the least bit pessimistic about my getting a PhD because of my age.

    If you take a peek around the forums - there are quite a few others taking the 'non traditional' track towards a PhD.
  7. Sep 6, 2012 #6
    Thanks for the numerous answers !
  8. Sep 7, 2012 #7
    Why would you need to devote an entire year for the GRE exam? You should take a look at some past papers now and see how much of it you can do already. Also, if your Masters is taking two years does this mean you are doing it part time?
  9. Sep 7, 2012 #8
    Thanks for advice!
    Actually this year I am going to follow the last year of a 4-year degree this year, and I hope I will be admitted to a MPhil next year.

    I have no research experience(it is almost the rule for undergraduater student in my country), so I am planning to do research in the second year at the UK institution I am enrolling at through the MPhil degree.

    My mother tongue is not English so I think I would need more time to prepare for the GRE generale. RE PGRE, I think I would need a high score and I am a perfectionist I couldn't take it with a preparation of a few months while I am studying full time. This is just my current plan however.
  10. Sep 7, 2012 #9
    Oh, I know this particular course, and it is a route that I would very much like to take in the future. I'm interested in how U.S universities would view these particular qualifications since a masters is usually included in a graduate course.
    Also I'm interested to know if it's possible to complete a PhD in less time (in the U.S) having done a masters like this.
  11. Sep 10, 2012 #10
    lol.. I went back for my PhD at an early 27 and I only had a bachelor's degree. I did have a fair amount of graduate classes completed but they didn't count towards my PhD except for the fact that some professors let me into their classes without having to take the formal prerequisites.
  12. Sep 10, 2012 #11
    Started mine at 28. Only had a bachelor's + 6 years working experience. It's a bit of a transition, people that have been in academia for too long are kind of strange sometimes.
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