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Doing a PSM in Nanoscience before applying to Ph.D at top schools

  1. Dec 17, 2012 #1
    First: I am US Citizen, inquiring about US study though open to study abroad.

    I'm in my last year of my Physics degree, and like many people would like to go to do my Ph.D in Physics.

    However, my GRE and GPA are only mediocre and I'm concerned that I would have difficulty getting into a reputable Ph.D program. My GPA is 3.2 and my Physics GRE 580.

    My current University offers a joint BS/PSM program. I've prepared to enter the program by carefully selecting my Upper division Physics electives but always thought of this as a Plan B and have yet to officially apply.

    My questions are, exactly,

    1. Will doing my PSM (Nanoscience) enhance my chances of entering a reputable Physics program like Stanford or Caltech?

    2. Will I still have to submit GRE scores when I already have a Master's? (Generally)

    3. Is the PSM independently useful or is it hype like a Bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies?

    4. Is a Ph.D from a less reputable but very competent school useful in the job market?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2012 #2
    1) I doubt it. A PSM program is supposed to prepare you for a career track isn't it? So aren't some business courses usually in the mix? I would think taking "normal" physics grad courses and doing more physics research is a better choice. But I don't think you have a realistic chance at #1 schools with your grades. Is there a reason you think only #1 ranked schools are reputable.
    2) I am pretty sure the PGRE rules apply to everyone, but you will do better on the PGRE once you take (harder) grad level courses (and "Carnegie Hall" practicing).
    3) I don't really know, but PSM students I know do not take all the core physics grad courses nor the comp exams so PSM does not carry as much weight in the academic setting. Really, I thought PSM was about lining up a non-academic career.
    4) Bright people will shine wherever they are, but... You will hear a lot of arguments about this, but my personal feeling is that to get a tenure track faculty position (and first the excellent respected post-doc), you need to be a place where great things are happening, usually the most highly ranked schools. But if you are being realistic and considering non-academic careers, people outside the university are usually not too aware of the rankings. I would say that it depends on which job market you are talking about.
  4. Dec 18, 2012 #3


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    What's a PSM?
  5. Dec 18, 2012 #4
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