1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Grad School Application Deadlines?

  1. Jul 15, 2009 #1
    Would someone be so kind as to enlighten me here? My wife and I were discussing grad school application deadlines (which are still a way off, but it's fun to daydream) and she commented on how early they were at most of the schools we were just glancing at. January 31st was a common date, or something around there, for Fall admission.

    My confusion arises from this: if I am completing my final Senior semester in the Spring of '10, for example, does that mean I cannot apply for admission to the Fall '10 semester? Or is there a tacit understanding that, if accepted, such acceptance is contingent upon successful completion of the remaining coursework? (But that doesn't make sense, because then they couldn't really have an accurate GPA.)

    Also, I'm a bit confused about the distinction between a Master's program and a PhD. program. When I was younger I always thought that one acquired a Bachelor's degree first, and, if one was so inclined, then a Master's degree. Then, if still inclined, one could pursue a PhD. More recently, I came under the impression that the two are generally distinct programs, though there may be overlap as far as some of the coursework is concerned, and that the PhD. program does not require a Master's degree.

    As I said, if someone would be so kind as to help clarify these questions for me I would be much appreciative.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2009 #2


    User Avatar

    You apply for grad school in the fall of your senior year, so all the classes on your transcript at that point contribute to your GPA. They will ask you to submit a transcript after you graduate to show you did in fact graduate and you didn't slack off at the end.

    Many masters programs are incorporated into PhD programs, so you can enter a PhD program after finishing the bachelors and earn a master en route to the PhD. But you can still do a masters somewhere and then apply to another school for the PhD.
  4. Jul 15, 2009 #3

    You can definitely apply to grad school for Fall 2010 and yes it is contingent upon successfully completing your bachelors. They wont see your final GPA so they will base it on what you apply with. If it drops dramatically in your last year or semester then it may affect funding or something not completely sure but it wont have an influence on you being accepted unless you fail.

    As for the masters vs. PhD. They are generally distinct programs. I am also in the process of applying to schools and most programs offer either a masters or a direct to PhD. You usually have to pay for a masters but a PhD should be fully funded. However getting into a PhD program is more difficult and getting a masters first can sometimes be a good idea because it can boost your resume. I have seen programs in my field that require a masters before starting a PhD but from what I can tell its rare.

    Hope this helps.
  5. Jul 15, 2009 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    No, you can and should apply for fall '10 in winter '09/'10.


    They evaluate you based on the courses you've taken so far, presumably on the assumption that you're going to perform similarly during the current (spring '10) semester. In addition, of course, to your GRE scores (if they use them), recommendations from professors and supervisors, etc.

    You didn't wait until after you graduated from high school to apply for college / university, did you? :smile:

    (I'm assuming you're in the USA.)

    In physics in the USA, at least, if your ultimate goal is a Ph.D., you normally enter a Ph.D. program right after you finish your bachelor's degree. During the first two years or so, you do mostly coursework, then concentrate on research. Often, you can pick up a master's degree along the way, by filing an application after finishing your coursework.

    There are also "terminal master's" programs that are separate from Ph.D. programs. I think these tend to be in specific application areas (e.g. medical physics). They don't normally lead into a Ph.D. program.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Grad School Application Deadlines?