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Programs Applying for PhD in physics by non-physicist

  1. Nov 2, 2008 #1
    Hi all

    Well i'm extremely interested in physics and i'm really interested in doing a PhD in physics. But my problem is i have an undergraduate degree in mechanical. And i'm currently doing my master's as well in mechanical in NUS, Singapore. However my supervisor for my master's thesis is from physics and i now currently work on theoretical condensed matter physics. Well as a matter of fact, i have just started learning physics as my undergraduate i never really learned anything owing to my horrible curriculum and examination methodologies.

    I'm extremely interested in doing a PhD in physics but i don't know most of its basic courses like advanced classical physics, GRT, electromagnetism, quantum field theory etc. (I'm just learning quantum mechanics and solid state physics). What would you people suggest me? I aspire to apply PhD in US and europe and i would like to do theoretical work. Would it be possible. Would the universities accept me? How can i prepare myself from now on so that i can be able to cope up with my PhD. I plan to start my PhD from spring 2010 which means i have one more year to go.

    I would be extremely happy if you people can help me out in this issue
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2008 #2
    Hi there, I can totally relate to your situation. I did my masters too at NUS in EE and I wanted to do PhD in physics too. life got in the way and i could not pursue it immediately but i hope i'd do in a couple of years. anyway, my 2 cents :

    a) u can also consider doing an MSc in physics at NUS science fac, they have an 80-points programme where u can do some extensive coursework to make up ur deficiencies.
    this cud also help u take the physics gre. however, this programme is on a self-financing basis.

    b) u can try to do an MSc Physics in India, say in IISc or IIT, for which u have to sit for an entrance exam - JAM/JEST. the preparation for these itself would be a good starting point to learn the basic concepts.

    c) if u have ruled out the above options, u can try the applied physics phd programmes in most univs, which dont require a physics gre and mostly they would admit you as long as you show the aptitude and motivation through something tangible like a publication or research experience etc. but most of these schools, as far as i know are the top tier ones like stanford etc. if u have an impressive gre score of say 1500+, impressive reco letters etc, u can give these a shot too. i dint do enough research on which other schools have such equivalent programmes.

    while it's not impossible to do Phd in physics after mech.engg, do consider other factors like family, funding, time etc. based on ur priorities and the weights you give to your options, you can make a decision on which could be the optimal route to pursue.

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