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Are some sub-fields of physics easier to get into than others?

  1. Aug 8, 2011 #1
    I am trying to apply to graduate school, and weighing my chances of getting into some programs.. I was wondering if the following scenario means anything:

    School A has sub-field X, with 2 faculty and 2 graduate students
    School B has sub-field X, with 4 faculty and 15 graduate students

    Could this mean that school A is easier to get into than school B in sub-field X?

    I realize there may also be other indications of how hard it is to get into a specific sub-field in a specific school.. Is it possible to easily get this kind of information (for sub-fields)?

    Thanks for reading this.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2011 #2


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    No, school A has only 2 faculty in a sub-field X, which means that program is not interested in admitting many students who say they want to work in sub-field X. A department can only admit so many students and if your sub-field is poorly represented, you're not going to get to admit a lot of students for it.
  4. Aug 9, 2011 #3
    I don't know, I disagree with what you said. I don't think you can infer anything about the ease of getting into grad school going from those two facts alone. The department could just as well have plans to increase the number of faculty in sub-field X.
  5. Aug 9, 2011 #4


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    That's kind of out of the scope of the discussion though. You could also say the university with the 12 faculty is going to be hit by a meteor after the application deadline. Assuming nothing radical like a meteor or a university quadrupling the number of faculty it has in a field in 1 year, the one with 2 people in the field is probably harder to get into.

    Then again, I should have mentioned it, a school with 12 faculty in one area compared to 2 faculty in the area is probably going to get a LOT more applicants interested in that area than the one with 2 faculty.
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