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Grad school costs in USA

  1. Apr 23, 2007 #1
    I plan on doing a PhD at a good grad school in the states, however, I am becoming quite worried with the costs. I am Canadian, so I wouldn't be able to get any loans, and it looks like it will cost ~$60,000 a year at places like MIT and this would be quite difficult. I have enough saved to easily pay for undergrad in canada, but I am uncertain about grad school in the US.

    Does how difficult it is to get scholarhsips at good grad schools, or how many years a PhD would take, etc...?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2007 #2
    You don't pay for grad school. They should have money set aside and pay you, or find another school that will.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2007 #3
    Yeah, I have heard of such things, but I can't find any specific information for physics PhD programs at US schools.
     
  5. Apr 23, 2007 #4

    chroot

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    Graduate school usually involves a stipend which covers your tuition and (supposedly) some of your living expenses. In return, you work as a TA for the university.

    - Warren
     
  6. Apr 24, 2007 #5
    Does this include the Ivies, advanced institutes and so on? If I can (conceivably) go to, say, MIT and not have to pay for it, I might actually look into it. I had already written off such ideas as I would never be able to afford to go to such an institution.

    I'm British, by the way.
     
  7. Apr 24, 2007 #6

    robphy

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  8. Apr 24, 2007 #7

    ZapperZ

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    This applies only to applying to a physics graduate program.

    You should first look at the application form. In MANY schools, there is a section in which you can indicate that your ability to attend that school is contingent upon you receiving an assistantship. Some schools, such as Stanford, make it automatic that you will be considered for an assistantship. But you need to make sure of this. But note also that for many places, if your acceptance is contingent upon you getting an assistantship, if they have none to give, they will probably not grant you acceptance.

    Now, while there are many schools in which you are automatically considered for such assistantship, there are MANY MORE in which (i) you have to apply for it and (ii) the availability is limited. This is especially true if you go to smaller or less well-known schools, or even large state schools. You certainly are not automatically considered for an assistantship when you apply to the physics program at the U. of Wisconsin or Michigan State, and you may not get one either especially if you apply late. Furthermore, students graduating from foreign institutions in which English is not the first language may also not be considered automatically for a TA'ship since many schools now will require the student to demonstrate proficiency in spoken English before being considered for such a position.

    My advice: if you need the assistantship to go to grad school, apply early, and apply to a large range of schools.

    Zz.
     
  9. Apr 24, 2007 #8
    I have a friend who's doing his math PhD at Stanford, and he got an assistantship. And as far as physics is concerned, I've never heard of anyone paying for grad school. It's been my understanding that pretty much everyone who goes to grad school in physics gets a full tuition scholarship and an assitantship.
     
  10. Apr 24, 2007 #9

    robphy

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    A few years back, a friend of mine was a student at UMaryland-CollegePark, which has a large physics graduate student population. He told me that not every student has an assistantship... and that one had to compete for teaching assistantships. (Of course, one has to compete [in a different way] for research assistantships... assuming the group you want to work with has funding.) Things may be different today.
     
  11. Apr 24, 2007 #10
    Well, I don't know about the physics department, but MIT's EE department admits about as many grad students as they have assistantship funding for.
     
  12. Apr 24, 2007 #11

    nrqed

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    I am Canadian too and I did my PhD at Cornell. When they accepted me, they offered me a teaching assistantship which basically meant that my tuition was paid and I had a small salary in exchange for being a teachin assistant (and after two years, I was paid as a research assistant instead). I think that everybody in my class also had their tuition paid by some form of scholarship (either from Cornell or external). You should probably contact the departmenst you are th emost interested in to find out more, or at least get the application forms.
     
  13. Apr 24, 2007 #12

    ZapperZ

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    Stanford, MIT, Harvard, etc... are the exceptions. I mean, their endowment alone can pay for the tuition of every student there. For physics, they have such a huge amount of research grant money and overhead payment to the school, there's enough money to support all the physics graduate students.

    So it is wrong to say that everyone who goes to grad school in physics gets a full tuition scholarship. Many international students, for example, do not get any financial assistantships until they pass their qualifier.

    Zz.
     
  14. Apr 24, 2007 #13
    Perhaps. Actually, until I started reading grad-school related threads on this forum, I wasn't aware that there were physics students out there who payed for grad school. The acceptance letter I got from my grad school mentioned that virtually all of the grad students in the department are supported by assistantships. All the other grad schools I applied to (except one) required me to apply directly for assistantships, and getting an assistantship was actually a prerequisite for admission. One of the professors at my school also mentioned, during an open house earlier this year, that the department is very well funded, and has the ability to support all of its grad students. Not sure if I should interpret this to mean that other schools don't support their students well, or that financial support is more common these days.

    Do you know if this is more common in some geographic regions than others? Not saying you're wrong, it's just that when I was applying to grad schools, the universities I looked at supported all of their grad students.

    Of course, I'm a domestic student, so maybe that's why I haven't heard of this.
     
  15. Apr 24, 2007 #14
    I didn't know such things were so widespread.

    ZapperZ, is usually the only thing holding back international students an english requirement?
     
  16. Apr 24, 2007 #15

    Stingray

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    I've never heard of anyone who had to pay for grad school in physics (or any other science). I think everyone had funding at both my undergrad and current grad institutions. I was also offered stipends at every school I was accepted to while only filling out the standard application. I think it's very rare not to have everything paid for.
     
  17. Apr 25, 2007 #16

    ZapperZ

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    I know first hand of graduate students paying their own fare at U. of Wisconsin-Madison. And there was a thread here asking about the Illinois Institute of Technology. You don't get automatics assistantship there either, even though the chance of getting one is very good since they do need graduate students to the labs. Same with U. of Illinois at Chicago. These are all schools that I have first hand knowledge with that do not automatically give you an assistantship just because you got accepted into the physics graduate program.

    Look at large state schools or small private schools. Chances are, they don't guarantee assistantships upon acceptance.

    Zz.
     
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