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Grad schools in california for physics?

  1. Mar 11, 2007 #1
    I have been in Michigan my entire life and I am sick of this state. I want to go to grad school to study physics (I am interested in photonics and solid state device physics) somewhere in California...somewhere in one of the nicer areas of Cali (So Cal?)

    My stats are a 3.5 GPA, double major in EE and physics, and I will have 2 semesters of REU experience at Wayne State U's smart sensors and integrated microsystems lab by the time I apply (I probably won't end up publishing anything). I also had one semester of industry internship experience at an automotive safety engineering firm. I'm not sure what my GRE scores will be.

    Can someone point me to some good universities in Cali in one of the nicer areas that would be in my league? I am doing my ugrad at a smaller university and I went to a very very small HS, and I'd like to go to a larger graduate school just to get the experience.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2007 #2
    UCSC looks appealing and it seems like I have a reasonable shot at getting in. Berkeley is nice, but I doubt I'd be admitted.
  4. Mar 11, 2007 #3
    Yeah, probably any UC
  5. Mar 11, 2007 #4
    When you apply to UC grad schools can you opt to apply to all of the UCs with a single application? I heard this was possible for ugrad, but I am not sure about grad school.
  6. Mar 11, 2007 #5
    What about UC Santa Barbara (http://www.physics.ucsb.edu)? Santa Barbara flies a bit under the radar in the UC system, but the physics faculty includes 3 Nobel laureates, 2 of whom specialize in solid-state (Walter Kohn, 1998 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for density functional theory; and Alan Heeger, 2000 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for discovery and development of conductive polymers). The electrical and computer engineering faculty includes a Nobel Laureate in Physics, Herbert Kroemer, who received the prize for developing semiconductor heterostructures for high-speed- and opto-electronics.
  7. Mar 11, 2007 #6
    hmmm...I will look into santa barbara.

    Also important is the surrounding city. I want to be in a nice clean city with lots of stuff to do. How is the city of Santa Barbara?
  8. Mar 11, 2007 #7
    are you refering to santa cruz or did you add an extra C to USC

    pretty much any UC will get you a good education. I'd say berkeley or maybe Irvine, but you're probably looking for that prestige factor you get from saying 'i went to berkeley'
  9. Mar 11, 2007 #8
    I was actually referring to Santa Cruz.
  10. Mar 11, 2007 #9
    I'm really not that concerned with overall prestige, as long as the school has prestige in the specific area I will be working in. I want to go to a school that will provide a good foundation for a successful career in physics and a school that will give me a good education. Overall prestige takes a back seat to this requirement.
  11. Mar 11, 2007 #10
    sorry. it just seems to me like some people beleive USC is part of the UC system when its actually not.

    either way, california is a great place. hope you dont mind high gas prices though
  12. Mar 11, 2007 #11
    ha, I don't plan on having a car during grad school, and if I do I don't plan on driving it that much. I plan on riding a bike. :tongue: My vehicle is a lease right now that will expire when I start grad school, and I figure I don't need to get a new car since a bike will suffice, and I will get exercise.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2007
  13. Mar 12, 2007 #12
    Since it was brought up :) I'll plug to look in to the real USC (not in santa cruz) since the EE dept has a lot of people in photonics and solid state, etc - plenty of experience and a few new hotshots too. The physics dept here has some people too, but mainly EE for that here. Not to mention that funding in EE could possibly be a lot easier, and it doesn't matter so much dept. because you'll be working in the same field anyways.
  14. Mar 12, 2007 #13
    UC Santa Barbara is a great school for physics. If you go by rankings, it is right up near the top if I remember correctly, right below Berkeley at around #8. As far as the city of Santa Barbara, you would be hard pressed to find a prettier place to live, and it is very nice and clean. Scenic ocean drives are right off campus and it is all green cliffs by the ocean. It is a wealthy area, so I am sure the cost of living is rather high.

    Also, Los Angeles is very close by, so if you are into nightlife and such you will have plenty to do at night about an hour or less away.
  15. Mar 17, 2007 #14
    I'm at UCSC as a 3rd year undergrad in Math/Physics. As far as cities go, I think Santa Cruz is wonderful. The campus is absolutely gorgeous, and the physics department is darn good too. Just got the number 1 national ranking I believe in Impact of Research Publications per Research Faculty.
    While the prestige of the faculty and the reputation of UC-Berkeley or UC-Santa Barbara is still tremendous, I would highly suggest a visit to UC-Santa Cruz. Especially being a safe-school, you can't go wrong.

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