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Grad school in Europe

  1. Jul 11, 2011 #1
    I'm an undergrad at an Ivy League school with very good grades and a lot of research experience. I want to go to grad school in Europe: England (Oxford, Cambridge obviously), Italy(I speak Italian), or Scandinavia (or anywhere where english is spoken in the physics world). I know in the US they pay students to do their grad work and was wondering if there was something similar in Europe (for foreign students in my case). I would love to continue my physics education in Europe to pay an arm and a leg to go to Oxford if I could get a stipend to go to Harvard (all hypothetical at this point of course). Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2011 #2
    That would be anywhere in Europe, and pretty much anywhere in the world, too.

    Yes. PhD positions are usually paid; either you're employed at the university, or you apply for a stipend, or you're employed for tutoring. Haven't heard of any case where this wasn't the case (except for people wanting to work in a group without money so badly that they did it for free, but that's far from the norm).

    I'm not understanding this sentence. You want to go to Oxford (England) if you get admission to Harvard (US)? And why Oxford, anyways? I thought that Oxford is famous for their politics, business, law, history, etc. courses.
  4. Jul 12, 2011 #3
    If you go to Europe with a Bachelor's only, you will have to do a Master's degree first. There are no exceptions in the field of Physics to my knowledge. Master's degrees are never paid.

    On the PhD level, that is different. However, good luck finding funding in the UK. From what I can tell (heresay from friends and fellow students), getting funding in the UK is really really really hard.
  5. Jul 12, 2011 #4
    This is simply not true. I know a dozen people studying their PhD's in the UK who started after 3-year bachelor's degrees. They now study physics/engineering at Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, etc. All you need is a completed degree, 2:1 or better (their bachelors did have a substantial individual project, but it was only worth 25% of their final year marks). There are only one or two exceptions in the UK, like Imperial, and it can vary throughout Europe but it is normal to go straight onto a PhD without MSc/MA.

    Almost all physics departments work English, as they all need to know it to communicate with the rest of the industry. The only trouble I think you may have is that some stipends are ear-marked for EU-based students.

    But, yes, it is absolutely possible for you to study and afford it in Europe.

    EDIT: look here:
    If there is a globe next to it, funding is for every one. Ring of stars = Europe, Union Jack = UK. This doesn't cover Italy, Germany, etc. but no doubt there are similar sites.
  6. Jul 12, 2011 #5

    Note that for PhD in Germany, one is expected have a master's degree, as most PhD students don't attend any courses.

    The way it is in Germany, a PhD student is considered an employee and is paid, hence there is no official 'phd programme' and not many are listed in the website above as it lists only programmes.

    Also, there are no tuition fees for the phd in general.
  7. Jul 13, 2011 #6
    That's right.
    At Cambridge, a PhD in the department of physics do not need a master degree. But a PhD in the department of applied math and theoretical physics need to go through part iii math first, with very few exceptions.
  8. Jul 13, 2011 #7

    Alright, I am sorry; I was under the impression that the same thing applies to the UK as well. Then again, the statement remains true for main Europe. :-)
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