Applying for Physics Graduate School - Comments

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  • #3
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I just want to mention this is the situation in the US.

Here in Australia if you want to go to graduate school you do an Honours year that prepares you for research.

The other way is you bypass the Honours year and do a Masters with a significant research component - its probably a better preparation, but generally takes a semester longer. The other advantage is you generally need a first or high second class Honours degree, but with a Masters that's not required - although you generally need to have done well.

Because admission is based on an advanced degree this GRE thing isn't needed.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #4
ZapperZ
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Just as a clarification, in the Introduction part of the series, I explicitly stated that the guide was written for the US educational system. While some of the content may be applicable to other parts of the world, it is almost impossible to write one series that will apply to every single person here on Earth. So that is why the guide makes no pretense to be that.

Zz.
 
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  • #5
"3. Unless you have a 4.0 GPA, have outstanding letters of recommendation, and the son of the President of the United States..."
You may believe that you've kidnapped the president's son, but I think he only has two daughters.
 
  • #6
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I hope it is ok commenting on this old post/ insight!

What should I consider as Top, Middle and Lower tier? I usually use www.timeshighereducation.com to see universities ranking. Would you say that the top 100 universities "Globally" are top tier, 200-300 middle and 300+ lower?
 
  • #7
ZapperZ
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I hope it is ok commenting on this old post/ insight!

What should I consider as Top, Middle and Lower tier? I usually use www.timeshighereducation.com to see universities ranking. Would you say that the top 100 universities "Globally" are top tier, 200-300 middle and 300+ lower?
There isn't a hard-and-fast-rule for this. Often, the "top tier" aren't anymore top tier than middle tier. It has to do with name recognition that caused so many people, especially outside the US, to think that those are the only institutions worth going to. Most people think of, say, MIT or Harvard first as having a greater name recognition than, say, University of Michigan or University of Illinois. Yet, those two latter schools often can outrank both MIT and Harvard in certain areas of studies.

One of the things I always advice a student to do is the talk to one's academic advisor and ask him/her to help map out the different schools that one should apply to. One can still obtain a darn good education and experience at a less well-known schools when compared to the brand-name schools.

Zz.
 
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  • #8
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One can still obtain a darn good education and experience at a less well-known schools when compared to the brand-name schools.
This is VERY VERY true. I once posted a lot on Yahoo Answer's in the education section. I noticed in the US there is this cult of the Ivy's. Some do not even understand that schools like MIT and Caltech are as good as Ivy's - although most know that one. What is much harder is getting across there are often schools that beat the usual suspects, but most simply do not know about. For example in people going on to do a PhD Caltech heads the list, but just after that are schools like Harvey Mudd and Reed, even ahead of Harvard etc. Personally my favorite science school is Harvey Mudd ahead of MIT, Stanford, Harvard etc and I always mention those interested in science/technology consider this school. Yet many have never even heard of it. And in some areas like Industrial Engineering schools like Georgia Tech are often ranked higher. We have even had posts here on Physics Forums (deleted of course because it is misinformation) that when this is pointed out start calling those trying to give a balanced answer lairs etc etc - all in a very indignant tone. Its quite exasperating.

To the person asking what is top tier etc a much better way to choose a school is to post here with your career goals etc rather than look at rankings etc.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #9
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This is VERY VERY true. I once posted a lot on Yahoo Answer's in the education section. I noticed in the US there is this cult of the Ivy's. Some do not even understand that schools like MIT and Caltech are as good as Ivy's - although most know that one. What is much harder is getting across there are often schools that beat the usual suspects, but most simply do not know about. For example in people going on to do a PhD Caltech heads the list, but just after that are schools like Harvey Mudd and Reed, even ahead of Harvard etc. Personally my favorite science school is Harvey Mudd ahead of MIT, Stanford, Harvard etc and I always mention those interested in science/technology consider this school. Yet many have never even heard of it. And in some areas like Industrial Engineering schools like Georgia Tech are often ranked higher. We have even had posts here on Physics Forums (deleted of course because it is misinformation) that when this is pointed out start calling those trying to give a balanced answer lairs etc etc - all in a very indignant tone. Its quite exasperating.

To the person asking what is top tier etc a much better way to choose a school is to post here with your career goals etc rather than look at rankings etc.

Thanks
Bill
Yes, I did not hear of Harvey Mudd before, but I have seen Reed in my search....
My answer to your question is a bit ambiguous as I am honestly not sure what field should I get into, but anyway!

I am looking for a PhD program in theoretical physics, I would appreciate a supervisor with a rigorous approach to the physical problems (Not mathematical physics)... I am not sure of the field I am most interested in!... My senior project/thesis was on classical field theory and I was really interested in it, so I would say maybe I am interested in QFT or QED.
 
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  • #10
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I am looking for a PhD program in theoretical physics, I would appreciate a supervisor with a rigorous approach to the physical problems (Not mathematical physics)... I am not sure of the field I am most interested in!... My senior project/thesis was on classical field theory and I was really interested in it, so I would say maybe I am interested in QFT or QED.
I too am interested in Field Theory, but am definitely more in the mathematics mould so I am not the right person to seek advice from for your goals.

My suggestion is you create a new thread in this this sub-forum asking specifically for advice on what you say above. This will hopefully attract others to help you.

Thanks
Bill
 
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