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Grad school

  1. May 27, 2014 #1
    I'm applying for grad school in the fall and I need some opinions about my chances, where I should good, etc.

    I am majoring in math, with a minor in physics. I went to a community college then a UC. At my community college, I had a 4.0 major GPA, 3.8 overall GPA. At the UC I'm at now, I have a 3.67 overall GPA. A 3.77 math GPA and a 3.86 physics GPA. I have taken three graduate classes (full series of real analysis). I am writing an honors thesis with a professor overviewing statistical mechanics/probability. This paper should be published soon. No other research experience though. I have experience tutoring and I have been a grader for a little over a year. I haven't taken the GRE (taking this over the summer).

    I am interested in mathematical physics, in particular stochastic dynamics.

    I'm not looking to get into a "top tier" school. I just want a decent, funded program. What options are available for me? I think I have a fairly strong GPA. A 3.77 is pretty decent I feel like, especially because of the As in community college (balancing things out gives a 3.87 or so). I feel like I don't have as much research as I'm sure they'd want. But to be fair, I went to a community college for 2 years which has less opportunities. And I am doing some research with a professor.

    As for letter of recs, I can count on my advisor who really, really likes me. He would write me a glowing letter. He's not a big name or anything, but he IS a professor who I've worked with a lot. I took a class with him (got an A+, like top 5 in the class). I'm writing a paper with him, and I'm actually grading for him as well. I know a few other teachers that really like me, say hi to me more than a year after having a class with them.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2014 #2
    I don't even want a top school. To be honest, it sounds super stressful to go to like Harvard or MIT or something. I want to go to a nice PhD program (that's funded is the main thing).
  4. May 27, 2014 #3
    Out of curiosity, which UC do you go to? I plan to do the same thing as your self and was hoping to know more about the transition. It would be much appreciated. Also, I could be wrong, but I don't think you count your CC gpa when applying to grad school.
  5. May 27, 2014 #4
    You need to be a little more specific to be able to nail down some grad programs (ie: stoch. dynamics of what? microbiological systems? In that case look at U. Pittsburgh's biophysics group for example. Some controlled quantum dynamics? Look for quantum optics and condensed matter theory programs...). This is the go-to reference for grad schools in the US, lots of info to be found here :


    and any findings should be followed up by checking the departments' pages to see if what is on the AIP records is correct/up to date. Also do check out the departments of the authors in whatever papers in the topic interest you and their references' institutions, that really is the best way to find schools that focus exactly on what you're looking for.
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  6. May 27, 2014 #5
    Well they look at your classes. Your GPA starts over after you transfer, but they do look at all the classes you've taken and grades you've received.

    I found the most difficult thing about the transition was the stuff around school rather than the actual classes. Living on your own, budgeting, etc. For the actual classes? Everyone always makes upper division math to be completely different. It's not really. Once you get used to proofs, it's the same stuff as lower division. Harder of course. But there's so much more to math than rigor.

    Another thing I've noticed is that although the classes a UC aren't really that much "harder", but it's easier to get Bs. At my CC, we would have 5/6 tests a term. So little mistakes ended up not mattering. At a UC you'll have 2 or 3 tests a term. There was one class where I had multiple choice problems that I calculated each problem to be ~2% of your overall grade. These were sometimes computational. Adding two numbers wrong could drop you down 2%. Easily enough to drop you from an A to A-.
  7. May 27, 2014 #6
    Stochastic dynamics applied to quantum mechanics/QFT. In particular I'm interested in path integration, about creating path integrals in relativity.

    Thanks for the resource!
  8. May 27, 2014 #7
    Also, I want to go to grad school in Applied Math, don't think I mentioned that.
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