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Admissions Graduate schools for a PhD in Physics

  1. Jul 20, 2016 #1
    Hello, I could use some objective feedback on what tier/rank of graduate schools that I should apply to. I am looking to do a PhD in Physics. About me: I have worked in 3 research labs, obtained a 3.0 GPA at a top 30 school, and published a paper. Thank you for the help. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2016 #2


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    A 3.0 GPA is the absolute minimum GPA a school will consider for graduate study. I was in the same position as you when applying to grad school (published paper, three research internships, top school, 3.7 GPA however) and the only physics grad schools I was admitted to were ranked over 100. I didn't apply to every school, but apparently reached far higher than I should have, despite advice from professors. But that's OK. I later found out that grad school rankings in physics is directly related to the number of PhDs they graduate each year. Smaller programs aren't bad, they're just smaller, and might be a top school in a particular subfield. I still got a top postdoc and my dream job from a lower ranked grad school.
  4. Jul 20, 2016 #3


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    How old are you? Are you male or female? How long were you at these three research positions? Did you do meaningful work at each? Was each research position different? Were you first author on said paper? Is there a coherency to your story post college, or does it look like you've been bouncing around? Answers to these questions will help put your 3.0 in context.
  5. Jul 20, 2016 #4
    Also, do you think you would get good recommendation letters?
  6. Jul 20, 2016 #5


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    And probably the most important question of all, what do you want to actually do in physics?

    There is no "one size fits all" program based on rankings for graduate school. Ideally, you should apply to schools that have strong programs in whatever sub-field you'd like to end up doing your thesis on, after researching - and possibly contacting - both the school and faculty. This will also make writing your statement of purpose easier, and not result in it devolving into "I wants to studies da physics to knows the fundamentals of ze universe."
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