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How good is the Ohio State University at high energy physics

  1. Feb 25, 2016 #1
    OSU ranks 31 according to ARWU-Physics-2015 and 25 according to US News/Physics. That sounds good enough, except for two facts which I want to be clarified.

    1) According to gradschoolshopper.com the acceptance rate at OSU-Physics PhD in Fall 2015 was 35%, which seems quite high for a school of this rank. Doesn't that imply something negative about the quality of the enrolled students?

    2) I'm afraid that this good enough rank is largely due to their so strong astronomy program, and therefore maybe their HEP-th/ex (which is what I essentially care about) is not necessarily strong?

    Of course I don't take the rankings too seriously or too strictly, but at least they may be a good first order approximation of quality.

    If all the above was too long to read, my question simply is: How strong is OSU HEP-Th/Exp compared to top tier schools? Can it be safely considered a good second tier department at HEP?

    I simply cannot answer this question based on counting citations of the faculty because that doesn't guarantee the quality of their publications, and I lack the ability to measure that quality at this stage. I also cannot gauge the strength and difficulty of their offered courses, because I don't think there's enough details on their website to do that.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Of course you do. See this thread. (Where, I might point out, you never bothered to reply to anyone - even to say thank you. Pity, because the advice you got there is applicable to the question you asked here).

    The fact of the matter is that people will judge you primarily based on what you do and not based on what other people who graduated from the same school do.
     
  4. Feb 25, 2016 #3
    My current program (non physics related bachelor) had a 100% acceptance rate, and all of us are slackers, so yes. Yes it does. If the acceptance rate of any program is greater than 20 percent then you are dealing with a degree mill. Most likely those "students" are attempting their third degree by now and some would even have criminal records, but all would love to party, graduate 4 semesters late, and perhaps even arrive drunk to classes, some even joined just to have legal precedent to escape the war back home, one 30 year old guy lives in another city 3 hours away joined just so he can have a visa to be with his girlfriend when she came here.

    I'm very sorry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  5. Feb 25, 2016 #4

    micromass

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    Well, apparently Cornell university, Urbana-Champain and Boulder Colorado are degree mills...
    http://www.gradschoolshopper.com/gradschool/rankby.jsp?q=2

    Maybe, if you're only in a bachelors, you shouldn't comment on things where you don't have sufficient knowledge.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2016 #5

    jtbell

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    I suspect KV should have used a "sarcasm" smilie. :oldwink:
     
  7. Feb 26, 2016 #6
  8. Feb 26, 2016 #7
    In fact, the advice in that thread is too generic to be useful for this question and isn't applicable here. The advice says that there are other factors, such as the specific research available and its strength, that are far more important than the ranking which in itself has no absolute meaning. Although true, it doesn't answer my specific question about OSU HEP.

    I apologize for not replying to that thread. Perhaps I didn't reply due to sheer laziness, rather than lack of appreciation. Or maybe I simply got used to the question-answer style of StackExchange.

    Man! You know how obsessed and stressed students are when they're waiting/receiving responses from grad schools, where they're looking for the best and most competitive offers. I abhor lazy science environments full of slackers and I am scared to end up in one. That's why I ask you to excuse me for posting slightly repetitive questions.
     
  9. Feb 27, 2016 #8

    WannabeNewton

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    I would stop worrying about ranking so much. Rankings are not the full story. You need to do substantially more research into a department than just looking at its ranking.

    What kind of hep-th are you interested in? For example OSU has Samir Mathur who is very well known in the quantum gravity community, especially for his work on fuzzballs and black hole information. It's definitely a solid second tier hep-th program.

    And acceptance rates don't tell you much. That's the overall acceptance rate, not acceptance rate by subfield. Hep-th has a very small acceptance rate at basically any school with even a decent hep-th group simply due to things like funding and the small amount of students theory professors take on at a time.
     
  10. Feb 27, 2016 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    And what makes you think any graduate program whatsoever is " full of slackers"?
     
  11. Feb 27, 2016 #10

    Choppy

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    As a comment on the first question, you can't imply much from an acceptance rate alone, because this is determined by both the number of applicants, which can be subject to high variation year to year, and the number of positions available. A program can get a boost in funding one year, or start a new program, or have faculty win more grants etc. You can also have a cluster of students graduate together (maybe because of a new policy or just a random phenomenon). All of this can allow a program to open up more spots and accept more students than they otherwise might on average.

    What this points to for me, is that you have to do your research as an applicant.
     
  12. Feb 28, 2016 #11
    The answer is simple: because I personally know PhD holders who aren't even qualified at undergraduate material, and the names of their graduate schools, which I won't mention, I'm sure you know.
     
  13. Feb 28, 2016 #12

    radium

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    Why don't you just ask your professors/recommenders? They know the reputations of different programs and most likely know professors at each. I don't really understand why you are asking about these schools in particular, you could just ask your recommenders to name some schools that are strong in your interests which you have a reasonable shot of acceptance. They should be happy to help. It's also good to know where your recommenders think you stand in comparison to other applicants

    I have a hard time believing any student from a reputable physics PhD program would be unqualified at the undergrad level. Sure there are slackers everywhere but at the PhD level they get knocked out.
     
  14. Feb 28, 2016 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    I am with radium here. Someone who is unqualified at the undergraduate level somehow has to get through his undergraduate program, score reasonably well on the GRE, get admitted to a graduate program - usually at another university -get through a set of graduate coursework that is more advanced and keep up a B average, and then pass (typically two) qualifying exams at the PhD level. While this is not impossible, it's got to be rare - there is certainly not a reputably graduate program in the USD that regularly churns out such people. If you know of one, name them.
     
  15. Feb 28, 2016 #14

    radium

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    Exactly, and that doesn't even include being able to do original research, publish/complete your dissertation defense, etc.
     
  16. Feb 28, 2016 #15
    Thank you all. If you're wondering why I'm too obsessed with the nature of the environment during my PhD, it's because I, like many other students, find competition to be perhaps the primary motivation to remain a hard worker for long intervals of time.
     
  17. Feb 28, 2016 #16


    Yes. What you mentioned makes it so weird to find a PhD holder too incompetent that I came to the point of questioning their whole department quality.
     
  18. Feb 28, 2016 #17

    radium

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    I just don't really understand your approach. Why are you asking about one program specifically? You should be applying to at least ten schools if you want to do HET. Are you looking for a safer school to apply to? Because if you want competition there are some pretty obvious choices. Also, why don't you just ask your recommenders? They are the ones who are best equipped to give you advice.
     
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