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Financial aid from US Unis for Masters

  1. Jun 20, 2008 #1
    I've been going through some of the Masters in Physics programs offered by various US universities and none of them seem to offer financial aid for the masters level program - however, all the Ph.D Physics programs seem to be financially covered. Is this the norm for all US universities? Aren't there any schools that offer aid for a Masters in Physics?
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  3. Jun 20, 2008 #2
    i'm sure this is frowned upon but if i had no money and wanted just a masters i would apply to a phd program, get funded and then quit after i got the masters
  4. Jun 20, 2008 #3

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    The problem with that strategy is that acceptance into a PhD program is more difficult than acceptance into a terminal MS program.
  5. Jun 20, 2008 #4
    ahh well therein lies the problem. if you're not good enough to get funding you're just not good enough.
  6. Jun 20, 2008 #5


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    How good is this compromise idea: Since what you understand and what you know how to do is more important than a degree, you could enroll in maybe 3 or 4 extra courses AFTER you earn your undergraduate degree and by so doing, improve your employability - as long as you can support the finances using part or full time employment for those 3 or 4 courses;
    So, how good is this idea?
  7. Jun 20, 2008 #6
    very idealistic idea but some places automatically pay you more when you have a little piece of paper.
  8. Jun 20, 2008 #7

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    I don't see how taking classes without seeking a degree would be substantially cheaper than taking the same classes while seeking a degree.
  9. Jun 20, 2008 #8
    i know san jose state unviersity has financial aid for MS physics. i havent asked the other CSU schools.
  10. Jun 21, 2008 #9
    Are you looking only at Ph.D. granting institutions?

    Locally, any school that offers the M.S. offers financial aid of some sort. I was supported by assistantship and loans, though the assistantship was low pay.

    You're probably in better shape if you're looking for an applied physics master's or another specialization (medical physics, engineering physics, etc.).
  11. Jun 21, 2008 #10
    No, I want to do pure Physics with a view to eventually doing research in an area I like - right now its an idea I'm enamoured with really, but I want to make it happen. I've looked at all the good universities (Top 20) and none of them seem to offer financial aid for the MS program. :(

    I've looked at some unis in Canada like McGill and Toronto and they do offer aid for the MS program. Does it make practical sense to do the MS there and then do a PH D from a US uni?
  12. Jun 21, 2008 #11

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    If you want to do research, you need a PhD, not a MS. I don't think any of the top 20 schools have a real terminal masters anyway - the MS is there for people who bail from a PhD program and for overachieving undergraduates. My graduate school claimed to have one in their catalog, but in fact accepted exactly zero applicants every year.

    With a fixed class size, every terminal MS student that is accepted means a PhD student - who will ultimately become a research assistant working on his or her thesis - is rejected.
  13. Jun 22, 2008 #12
    The only reason I went into a master's program was because I wanted to fill in some gaps I perceived in my undergraduate education. Otherwise I would have sought a doctoral program.

    Unless you have a really pressing reason to get a MS, why not go for the Ph.D.?
  14. Jun 22, 2008 #13
    I don't think it would be good for me to do a Ph.D. directly - I don't have a BSc in Physics and I need to catch up a lot on the subject - which I could do if I were to do a 1 year MS course before the Ph.D. Also, it'll be difficult for me to get admitted to a Ph.D. course right away because of my lack of qualifications and experience in the field of Physics. Seems I'll have to try my luck at a Canadian uni.
  15. Jun 22, 2008 #14
    Based on your English usage (the abbreviation "uni" isn't used in the U.S./Canada), you are not a U.S. citizen. So this might limit the funding you can get for a Master's.

    I would advise that you apply for a Ph.D. directly. Brush up on your physics and take the physics GRE and see how you do.

    At least in the U.S., it is not usual for people to do a M.S. in Physics before getting their Ph.D. So if you're thinking of getting an M.S. because you have to get it before you can go on to a Ph.D., then apply for the Ph.D. program.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  16. Jun 22, 2008 #15
    But will a good university accept my application based on just the Physics GRE? Don't I need to have carried out projects or done some research already? Since I really haven't explored the subject I don't know in what area I want to carry out research - which means my SoP will seem unconvincing compared to an MS or BSc Physics graduate. Are there any good American universities that will accept a candidate like me (with financial aid)?
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