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Can I get into grad School?

  1. Aug 29, 2009 #1
    Hello all. I am wondering what my chances are of getting into grad school. I realize there are other posts on the topic, but everyone is in a different situation so I think this is warranted.

    I have what the university calls a combined honors mathematics and physics BSc degree from the University of British Columbia. I am a Canadian student, so going to a Canadian university would be preferable, as the Canadian government subsidizes tuition fees here. Although, I would go anywhere if I can afford it.

    I have an overall standing of 78% for my university career. I took many high level mathematics courses, which ended up lowering my overall standing. I simply enjoyed the tough math, even though it did lower my average and was hard as hell. However, in all the courses that count (QM,E&M,Solid State,Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics) I got A's.

    I spent my 4th year working on an 'undergraduate thesis'. Which is a small research project you work on with the help of a professor. My project had to do with photo emission spectroscopy on YBCO, which was interesting to say the least. I enjoyed working in the lab, everything from tightening bolts to talking about theory and troubleshooting.

    Also, during my 4th year I was getting quite burnt out. All those math classes I took ended up stressing me out. So, I decided not to go directly into graduate schooling. Now it is about a year later, and I am feeling the need to do some physics (next fall I guess). It is hard to describe, but there is something missing. I have toyed with being an engineer, but even with the promise of money and many job prospects I still want to work in physics.

    I have not taken the GRE yet, but I have not decided 100% to go to grad school yet. I am just testing the waters, so to speak.

    Thanks to anyone that takes the time out of their day read this and formulate a response.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2009 #2
    Absolutely. If you got all A's in your physics classes and have experimental physics research experience/reference letter then I'd say you're a shoe-in if you apply for experimental in canada. The only Caveat is that UBC might have a retarded 80% cumulative average requirement (I can't rememeber). However, it is the only school in Canada with that requirement.
  4. Aug 29, 2009 #3


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    I don't know about "shoe-in" but it's likely you will be able to get in somewhere. Contact the graduate advisors in the departments you're interested in to see what your chances are.

    Unless things have changed in the last few years, you only have to write the GRE if you're planning on going to the U.S.

    Something you may want to think about is how you can 'stay in the game.' It's likely you will have been out of school for two years by the time you start back again.
  5. Aug 29, 2009 #4
    Well, I was thinking about buying some graduate level QM and E&M texts and studying in the meantime. To be sure, I have gotten rusty. Some recommendations along these lines would be appreciated.

  6. Aug 30, 2009 #5
    I honestly think you have nothing to worry about. I had worse marks (though very good letters of recommendation and work experience) and I essentially had my pick of uni's. I'd only add that in terms of application to grad school, remember that you're applying to profs not schools. Find a prof, initiate a dialogue stating an interest, receive a response gauging their opinion AND THEN send in an application. And consider all schools. I ended up choosing one of the better reputation schools I was accepted to (though not the best) but grad school is a different game where a good prof in a less prestigious place can very much be the better choice.

    Go through all the website of the canadian uni's (well those with phys grad departments) and find the profs that interest you and cold e-mail.
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