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**From EE to Applied Physics...grad school app, undergraduate courses, no research**

Hi,

I'm a senior undergraduate majoring in Electrical Engineering with a CGPA of 3.84/4.0 (normalized to a scale of 4 -- at my college its on a scale of 10). I'll be entering my final year in a few weeks from now. Apart from the core and professional EE courses, I have taken two courses in Quantum Mechanics from the Physics department, and am presently registered to take Quantum Field Theory and Relativity as electives next semester. I have the necessary background (more or less) in classical mechanics and electrodynamics, PDEs, tensor manipulations, Fourier Transforms, etc.

Unfortunately, I don't have "A" specific area interest. I am interested in several things, most notably electronic circuits, device physics, and high energy physics. I know all these are very different areas and people usually get to work in one of these fields. I intend to pursue a PhD in Physics (or Applied Physics or even EE) with some hopes of working in one of these fields. My interest in physics is not a passing interest, but I apart from courses and self-reading I haven't had any "research" exposure. I do not have an REU exposure in physics and my summer projects have been very basic.

I have several questions, but for the time being, I want to know

(a) How much do REUs influence grad school admissions?

(b) Are there areas which would benefit from academic preparations in both experimental circuit design and measurement as well as theoretical areas such as quantum mechanics and quantum field theory in particular?

(For instance, in grad school, can I work on something which is quite experimental involving circuit design, device physics

*as well as*analytical/theoretical quantum field theory?)

I am proficient in C/C++, Java, MATLAB, Mathematica, and am familiar with general computational techniques for solving physical/mathematical problems, finite element methods, etc. But as I have not worked in an REU or an "official" summer project, I do not have any publications in journals or conference proceedings to highlight.

I am yet to the GRE..will probably do so in a few months. I would appreciate any advice or suggestions which might help me choose my courses wisely. Since I have only 4-5 months before I apply to grad school, I want to be sure of what I can and cannot do with my present level of academic preparation, so I do not end up chasing a wild dream.

Thanks!

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