Applying to physics grad school with MS in chemistry

In summary, this person went to a state university and majored in math with a minor in physics. They withdrew from three semesters for personal reasons. They have caught up on all the things they ought to have learned in school but didn't, and plan on applying to Ph.D. programs at the end of this year. They are daunted by the prospect, but feel a little daunted by the self-test because it allows them to know what they need to prepare themselves for.
  • #1
masterfool
5
0
I'm trying to figure a way to get into a physics program, from a less-than-ideal position. I've seen a lot of advice on this forum aimed at college students, which is perfectly reasonable, but unfortunately I don't have a blank slate. Anyway, here's a brief summary of my rotten little CV:
I went to a state university and majored in math with a minor in physics. Physics was always my real passion and I took most of the undergraduate physics courses there. For two years I got decent grades, about a 3.75. After that, I ran into some problems - to make a long story short, my transcript is riddled with c's (including both semesters of mechanics and one of E&M), and I had to withdraw entirely from no less than three semesters for personal reasons. I finished with a 3.06. Convinced I wasn't cut out for physics, I went to a chemistry masters program at a small, uncompetitive local college. I will finish that masters at the end of this year, and it is my ambition to never use it. Presently I'm spending all my spare time catching up on all the things I ought to have learned in school but didn't - but that won't show up on a transcript.
I feel a little daunted by the prospect since I really haven't set myself up very well, but I plan on applying to Ph.D. programs at the end of this year, and I could really use some advice on where to apply, how to present myself, and what to do between now and then to make myself more attractive.
If you've taken the time to read this, I greatly appreciate it.
 
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  • #3
Thanks for your advice. That thread, however, is more about whether you should go to a physics grad program, and takes it for granted that you can get into one. I already know I want to, and I really just want to know how to prepare myself.
 
  • #4
But the self-test IS a direct test on you finding out what you are lacking, and therefore, allows you to know what you need to prepare yourself for.

Zz.
 
  • #5


I understand your desire to switch from a chemistry masters program to a physics PhD program. While it may seem like a daunting task, it is not impossible. Your background in math and physics, along with your passion for the subject, are valuable assets that can help you in your pursuit of a physics PhD.

Firstly, I would recommend reaching out to professors or advisors in the physics department at your current university or other universities you are interested in. They can provide valuable advice on where to apply and may even be able to offer you research opportunities that can strengthen your application.

In addition, you can also focus on showcasing your skills and knowledge in physics through your personal statement and letters of recommendation. This is your opportunity to explain your journey and highlight your passion for physics. You can also mention any relevant coursework or projects you have completed outside of your chemistry program.

Furthermore, you can also consider taking additional physics courses at a local university or through online platforms to demonstrate your commitment to the subject and improve your understanding. This can also help you prepare for the physics graduate entrance exams.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that your past academic performance does not define your future potential. Your passion, determination, and willingness to learn and improve can make you a strong candidate for a physics PhD program. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
 

1. Can I apply to a physics grad school with a MS in chemistry?

Yes, it is possible to apply to a physics grad school with a MS in chemistry. While having a background in physics may be beneficial, many graduate programs in physics welcome students from diverse academic backgrounds, including chemistry.

2. Will having a MS in chemistry put me at a disadvantage compared to other applicants with a physics background?

Not necessarily. Admissions committees for physics graduate programs often look for a strong foundation in mathematics and a passion for physics, which can be demonstrated through coursework, research experience, and letters of recommendation. A MS in chemistry may also bring a unique perspective and skill set to the program.

3. Do I need to have taken specific physics courses before applying?

Each graduate program may have different requirements, so it is important to research the specific program you are interested in. Some programs may require certain physics courses as prerequisites, while others may offer remedial courses for students with non-physics backgrounds.

4. How can I make my application stand out with a MS in chemistry?

Highlighting your relevant coursework, research experience, and any publications or presentations in the field of physics can demonstrate your interest and aptitude for the subject. Additionally, strong letters of recommendation from professors who can speak to your potential in physics can also make a positive impact on your application.

5. Are there any additional requirements for applying to a physics grad school with a MS in chemistry?

Again, this may vary by program, but some schools may require a GRE subject test in physics in addition to the general GRE. It is important to check the program's requirements and plan accordingly. Additionally, some schools may have a physics placement exam for incoming students to determine appropriate coursework.

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