Hi, I will be applying for graduate school soon. I plan to make the move in 2011. My interests are still a bit broad. I am interested in eventually learning plasma physics for advanced spacecraft propulsion. I haven't found a graduate level program yet though that is working on soemthing like the VASIMR thruster. The nearest programs I can find in the astronautical departments are hall thrusters and electric propulsion programs. I am also interested in nuclear physics and fusion, though I am worried about my ability to contribute meaningfully to a program there, as my background is in Astronautical Engineering. My interest in the area is in terms of overcoming the fundamental energy constraints that presently exist in chemical propulsion for interplanetary spaceflight. My qualifications so far: Good grades at a good engineering school for undergraduate (3.91 GPA) I program "fluently" in C++ and matlab I have been working in a research lab for the past 3 years as a test planner and engineer. Unfortunately, I didn't do well recently when retaking the GRE. My scores, (down from perfect back in 2003 :-( ) are 770 Quantitative and 620 Verbal. How much of a black mark is that getting into a graduate engineering program? Should I retake them? My math isn't too terribly atrophied. I can still hack differential equations, it is just doing timed trick algebra problems that I've gotten rusty at. I'm currently going to apply to Georgia Tech, MIT, Stanford, possibly Cornell, possibly Caltech. How narrow does my statement of intent have to be if I'm applying for graduate school? Do I need to have a specific research program worked out with the faculty before writing it? Do I just need to provide my interests?