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Schools I want to study cosmology, which university should i apply ?

  1. Aug 29, 2011 #1
    i want to study cosmology,and i am going to apply this year.
    i am not qualified for the top 20 universities' Ph.D program, and i think i should apply some universities ranking from 30 to 100, i mean , ranking of physics, but still strong enough in theory cosmology.
    however, i have no idea which universities should i apply. could you recommend me about 18 universities ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2011 #2


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    Well it would really help if you told us what country you're applying to. Even in the US, it is probably a rough task to find 20 universities who do cosmology on any serious level in the first place.
  4. Aug 29, 2011 #3
    yeah, i am applying to the US only.
  5. Aug 29, 2011 #4
    My gpa is 3.5 . and i am not native american.
    No related research have been achieved during my undergraduate study. So , i am badly need any useful information in cosmology.
  6. Aug 29, 2011 #5


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    It sounds like you want people to help you pick the strongest cosmology departments from among these:

    #26 University of California--Davis 3.6
    #26 University of Minnesota 3.6
    #30 Brown University 3.5
    #30 Carnegie Mellon University 3.5
    #30 Duke University 3.5
    #30 Georgia Institute of Technology 3.5
    #30 Northwestern University 3.5
    #30 University of California--Irvine 3.5
    #36 Michigan State University 3.4
    #36 University of Arizona 3.4
    #36 University of Florida 3.4
    #36 University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill 3.4
    #40 Boston University 3.3
    #40 Indiana University--Bloomington 3.3
    #40 New York University 3.3
    #40 Purdue University 3.3
    #40 Texas A&M University 3.3
    #40 University of California--Santa Cruz 3.3
    #40 University of Virginia 3.3
    #40 Washington University in St. Louis 3.3
    #48 Arizona State University 3.2
    #48 Florida State University--Tallahassee 3.2
    #48 Iowa State University--Ames 3.2

    and also maybe from these:

    #48 University of Massachusetts--Amherst
    Worcester, MA

    #52 North Carolina State University
    Raleigh, NC

    #52 University of California--Riverside
    Riverside, CA

    #52 University of Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh, PA

    #52 University of Rochester
    Rochester, NY

    #52 University of Southern California
    Los Angeles, CA

    #57 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Troy, NY

    #57 University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA

    #57 University of Notre Dame
    Notre Dame, IN

    #57 University of Oregon
    Eugene, OR

    #57 University of Tennessee--Knoxville
    Knoxville, TN

    #57 Vanderbilt University
    Nashville, TN

    #63 Brandeis University
    Waltham, MA

    #63 Case Western Reserve University
    Cleveland, OH

    #63 CUNY Graduate School and University Center
    New York, NY

    #63 Northeastern University
    Boston, MA

    #63 Rockefeller University
    New York, NY

    #63 University of Utah
    Salt Lake City, UT

    #63 Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA

    #70 Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, CO

    #70 Dartmouth College
    Hanover, NH

    #70 Rochester Institute of Technology
    Rochester, NY

    #70 Syracuse University
    Syracuse, NY

    #70 University of Connecticut
    Storrs, CT

    #70 University of Illinois--Chicago
    Chicago, IL

    This is the US News ranking of PHYSICS grad schools as of 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  7. Aug 29, 2011 #6
    Yeah, thank you so much. it can also involve #70 ~ #120 .
    i think some universities do not offer cosmology programs, but i don't know much about US universities.
  8. Aug 29, 2011 #7
    #70 University of Nebraska--Lincoln Lincoln, NE

    #77 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA

    #77 Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO

    #77 Louisiana State University--Baton Rouge Baton Rouge, LA

    #77 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR

    #77 Tufts University Medford, MA

    #77 University of Delaware Newark, DE

    #77 University of Georgia Athens, GA

    #77 Washington State University Pullman, WA

    #85 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA

    #85 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS

    #85 University at Buffalo--SUNY Buffalo, NY

    #85 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS

    #85 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY

    #85 University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM

    #85 University of Oklahoma Norman, OK

    #85 University of Texas--Dallas Richardson , TX

    #93 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA

    #93 George Washington University Washington, DC

    #93 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

    #93 Montana State University Bozeman, MT

    #93 New Mexico State University Las Cruces, NM

    #93 Ohio University Athens, OH

    #93 Tulane University New Orleans, LA

    #93 University of Hawaii--Manoa Honolulu, HI

    #93 University of Missouri Columbia, MO

    #102 Brigham Young University Provo, UT

    #102 Clemson University Clemson, SC

    #102 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA

    #102 Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK

    #102 Temple University Philadelphia, PA

    #102 University at Albany--SUNY Albany, NY

    #102 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL

    #102 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH

    #102 University of Houston Houston, TX

    #102 University of New Hampshire Durham, NH

    #102 University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI

    #113 Baylor University Waco, TX

    #113 Kent State University Kent, OH

    #113 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Socorro, NM

    #113 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL

    #113 University of Alabama--Huntsville Huntsville, AL

    #113 University of Arkansas--Fayetteville Fayetteville, AR

    #113 University of Nevada--Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV

    #113 University of South Carolina Columbia, SC

    #113 Wayne State University Detroit, MI

    #122 Auburn University Auburn, AL

    #122 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL

    #122 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI

    #122 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  9. Aug 29, 2011 #8


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    Yuan, I would say to eliminate everything in your last post (#7)
    and instead focus on the higher ranked schools which are in my post #5,
    These are from #26 to #70. Here is a sample:

    #26 University of California--Davis 3.6
    #30 Carnegie Mellon University 3.5
    #30 University of California--Irvine 3.5
    #36 University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill 3.4
    #40 University of California--Santa Cruz 3.3
    #70 Syracuse University 2.8

    Let's just look at one of these: UC Santa Cruz. I wonder if the department is strong in cosmology. I am not an expert and I do not know. But I would guess that UCSC is a good place to do PhD in cosmology.

    Well, they have a PhD program in astro

    And I see they have this guy Piero Madau:
    "Piero Madau's research interests in the last few years have focused on theoretical cosmology and the high-redshift universe, especially on the physics of the intergalactic medium and the history of star formation in galaxies. At early epochs, the intergalactic medium contains evidence about the epochs of metal production, reionization, and chemical enrichment of the universe, as well as the primordial density fluctuation spectrum of some of the earliest formed cosmological structures."
    "Research Interests
    My research focuses on theoretical astrophysics and cosmology. Specific topics within these broad areas are: the physics of the intergalactic medium, first light and the dawn of galaxies, high-energy radiation backgrounds, the formation and evolution of massive black holes, the cosmic history of star formation. Other recent interests include the "Via Lactea Project", a suite of extremely high-resolution simulations of the assembly of the dark matter halo of the Milky Way."

    this guy might also interest you, Mark Krumhoz:

    and this guy, David Koo:
    http://www.ucolick.org/~koo/home.html [Broken]

    and Garth Illingworth:
    He is a leader in the study of the very earliest galaxies. 13 billion years back in time.

    The more I look the more I think that UC Santa Cruz is quite strong in cosmology and early universe astrophysics.

    I don't have time to examine other departments. My point is that UCSC is rather far down the ranking, so maybe you could consider it.
    It is at rank #40.

    You can use google to find out about the astronomy and astrophysics department of any of these universities. That is what I did just now with UC Santa Cruz.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Aug 30, 2011 #9
    Thank you so much marcus! You helped me much, and I will follow your instructions and find more universities that suit me.
  11. Aug 30, 2011 #10


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    You are welcome to ask for help in navigating the website of some other university. they are not all set up the same way.

    I looked at #30 Carnegie Mellon. Here is how to navigate to the cosmology section, as an example. This is just an example, not a recommendation that CMU is strong in cosmology!

    Google "carnegie mellon"
    go to CMU website http://www.cmu.edu/
    click on ACADEMICS (this is often a good menu word to look for)

    Then you get http://www.cmu.edu/academics/
    and you see a menu on the left and you click on SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
    (these are different parts of CMU, the unversity is divided into pieces like school of this and college of that)
    so you click on schools and colleges

    You scroll way down the page to "Mellon College of Science" and you see a link to "Physics"

    You click on "physics" and this gets the webpage of the Physics Department

    On the left there is a menu where you see RESEARCH (this is a good menu word to look for once you have found a Physics Department webpage). You click.


    Then at last you see, in the menu at the left, the words ASTROPHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY.

    You click, and you get
    http://www.cmu.edu/physics/research/astrophysics/index.html [Broken]

    There will be the names of 5 faculty who do astro&cosmo and a paragraph description of the research of each of the 5 people.

    I think Carnegie Mellon University is very strong in some departments like Computer Science and certain kinds of engineering. I have very high respect for CMU. But I do not see that they are especially strong in Cosmology!

    Still, it would be all right to apply there, because if you get a PhD from CMU that will be worth something. People respect that because of the overall excellence.

    I did this example of web navigation just to show what you have to do to find your way to the astro/cosmo section of the physics department and the description of the faculty member's research interest.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  12. Aug 30, 2011 #11
    It is so kind of you.
  13. Aug 30, 2011 #12
    Physics universities in the US don't work by rankings. This can work against you, because if you don't have a solid undergraduate background, you will find it difficult to get in anywhere.
  14. Aug 30, 2011 #13
    My academic scores is ok, but i did research work in condensed matter. I don't know what kind of perspective students the US universities want to be , I really have passion in cosmology, and will dedicate to it .
  15. Aug 30, 2011 #14
    Everything is connected to everything else, so a lot of condensed matter research turns out to be important in cosmology.

    Don't be so sure. Most people that don't have strong experience with cosmology really don't have that much of an idea of what it involves. You do need to keep your options open, and if you spend the first year of your Ph.D., it's OK to find out that you really don't like cosmology once you find out what it is really about.
  16. Sep 1, 2011 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    If you're not qualified for a Top 20 program (as opposed to guessing you won't be admitted), you're probably not qualified for any programs. The difference between qualifications is small or nonexistent.
  17. Sep 1, 2011 #16
    My concerning lies in the toefl scores. Most top universities need a high score, but i have not mastered English very well. So, will it be questionable ?
  18. Sep 1, 2011 #17
    Plus, will they recruit new students only when bearing research experience ?
  19. Sep 1, 2011 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    Harvard and Southern Methodist University both require an 80 on the TOEFL. If you don't get your scores up, you likely won't be getting in anywhere.
  20. Sep 1, 2011 #19
    Thank you VAnadium, then you mean i can apply all the universities across the US, or none of them? so, I should not pay attention to the rankings, and just find the places suit me ?
  21. Sep 1, 2011 #20

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes. But you should also work on getting your TOEFL scores up.
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