From theoretical physics master to 2nd year grad school

  • #1
I would like to ask if anyone has been admitted to a graduate school(US) straight to 2nd year after a theoretical masters MSc degree in the UK.

I am asking because I would really like to study in the US, preferably on top universities but I don't want to waste another year taking essentially the same courses.

Is this even possible to do? I will be sending emails to each university independently but I guess that I can't really email all of them so I'm asking here.
 

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  • #2
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straight to 2nd year

That's really not a thing in the US.

but I don't want to waste another year taking essentially the same courses.

So there's nothing for you to learn? In that case, why does this take any time? You just zip through the homework and exams.
 
  • #3
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There are many universities with graduate physics programs that might accept you into their program and waive the requirement that you take one or more (core) courses that you might have taken before. Their consideration would no doubt depend on what proficiency you can demonstrate, for example your grade in the course, the quality of your earlier program, perhaps even a evaluation test. I speak from experience that I had some courses waived on the basis of a evaluation test, and/or earlier grades.

Now. notice I said waived, not given credit for it. For example, the physics program typically needs 45 credit hours or about 15 courses. Even if you got 3 courses waived, the university may still require you to get 45 credit hours. You would have the flexibility to replace 3 courses with other courses (which may not be as difficult), but this would not be good (from the students point of view ) as requiring only 39 credit hours. I was offered the option of having a course waived, and I elected to take it anyway. The reason was I could not think of a reason to take another course in it's place, that would be as valuable, even though I had the material before in another university. I needed a course to come up with the 45 credit hours.

As to another question, could you be admitted as a 2nd year student, I should state at my grad school(s), (I presume there are many others) there is some variation as to the length of the program. Some students complete their thesis and requirements in 6 years and some in 8 years. When your done, your done. Someone coming in their "second" year does not necessarily graduate earlier.

There are some cases where, so called "second year status" is a serious disadvantage. I personally know of a case where a person entering as a "second year graduate student" was give only one (only) chance to pass the physics graduate qualifying exam, (before the end of the second year), instead of up to 3 chances for first year students. Added to this the qualifying exam professor graders taught typically core (first year) courses, and had several exam takers in their class. These graders did not know the "second year student" from Adam, and this did not help. The graders might give a student they personally instructed the benefit of the doubt on an answer. I know this is not supposed to happen but I also know it happens.

In addition the courses you take as a second year graduate student (elective) might not be as useful in passing the qualifying exam than taking the first year (core) courses, which may be tested on these exams.

You could be in a much better position by considered as a "first year student".

Of course, it is best to E-mail, or discuss these matters with the specific graduate school and program specifically.
 

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