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From Undergraduate Computer Science to Graduate Physics

  1. Jul 14, 2013 #1
    Hey everyone,

    I read the pinned topic in this forum as well as a few other topics regarding whether transitioning from a non-graduate field to a graduate physics program is remotely possible. Most threads suggested that doing well on the physics GRE is necessary to be accepted/prepared (definitely a reasonable suggestion). Unfortunately, however, I think I won't have enough time to sufficiently prepare for the exam provided that I'll be a senior starting next semester (I also know that I should've thought about this earlier).

    That said, are there are any graduate physics programs that will provide a year of undergraduate preparation? If needed, a very brief outline of my academic career is as follows:
    • Dual major in computer science and philosophy (don't make fun of me)
    • Mathematics Minor
    • Full scholarship provided by the NSF
    • 4.0 GPA
    • 2x Software development full-time internships at a Fortune 100 company
    • Part-time employment at a Fortune 100 company for two semesters
    • Professor's assistant for a game development course
    • Research in both Computer Science and Philosophy (including two publications in the former and one in the latter)
    • A in Thermodynamics, Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics (PHYS 212)
    • A in Kinetic Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Relativity (PHYS 221)

    I absolutely love physics--I invest most of my free time (of which I don't have a lot) in studying physics and mathematics. I mostly majored in computer science because I received funding (I do enjoy the field, but physics is definitely my passion). The offer was very enticing because I come from a relatively poor family.

    That said, I'd love feedback and advice. I'm assuming I'll be told to merely study for the physics GRE and see what happens, but I'm wondering if anyone else has some other suggestions.

    Thanks a lot guys. I really appreciate your time and help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2013 #2


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    Education Advisor

    The main point of the GRE is to serve as a kind of equalizer between different schools to account for inflated/deflated marks. It alone is not a comprehensive gatekeeper for graduate school admission. So to be honest I think you'll have a hard time getting accepted into graduate school for physics with only two physics courses that weren't even at the senior level.

    If you're really serious, you may want to consider taking an extra year or two to take some senior undergraduate courses.
  4. Jul 14, 2013 #3
    Take a look at the practice GRE's. Do you think the questions are doable for you (given that you didn't yet study for it)? Or do they look completely foreign?
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