The path students take going from undergrad to PhD seems to vary greatly between countries, and I was wondering if some natives could illuminate me on how it works in their country. In Australia the process is (typically) as follows: 3 year undergraduate 1 extra year of undergraduate (honours year) which is about 30% research project, 70% coursework 3-4 years of PhD. My feeling is that Australians graduate very young, and very uneducated, compared to our American and European counterparts. Our universities typically have splotchy curricula - where I did my undergraduate there was no condensed matter physics and no number theory, but I have done a bit of quantum field theory (at the level of Peskin and Shroeder) and algebraic topology. My impressions from are that in America the route is 3 year undergraduate (which is typically very broad - i.e. physics majors having to take humanities subjects) 5ish year grad school Where grad school includes around 2 years of high-level coursework followed by a major graduate exam and 3 years of research leading to a PhD. The European route seems to be roughly: 3 year undergraduate 2 year masters: mostly coursework with a research project at the end 3 year PhD. Can anyone elaborate on this?