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Independent Study vs Research

  1. Apr 16, 2015 #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm an undergrad looking to do hep-th / mathematical physics in grad school, and have a free summer to kill. I have two options:
    a) Independent studies in QFT and GR.
    b) Research in hep-ph that won't be very mathematical, but will probably lead to a paper.
    If you were in my position, which would you choose? I've already done some astro research, but no high energy stuff. Seems like a tough call to me. Have you guys found the independent studies you've done worthwhile? Thanks all.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2015 #2
    Research raises the potential of publication and a good relationship with faculty members who are capable of writing about your research ability (assuming you need that). I'd pick research if I were in your situation.
  4. Apr 16, 2015 #3
    Ah, cool. I was worried that hep-th grad programs would place more value on coursework than on research, but hopefully that's not the case. Thanks!
  5. Apr 16, 2015 #4
    You may want to wait for replies from other users as well, as I'm not too familiar with the environments of theoretical HEP graduate departments. It was my understanding, however, that given that a Ph.D is a degree that teaches one how to do research, research experience (along with LoRs) form one of the most important aspects of a graduate application.
  6. Apr 16, 2015 #5


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    It's hard to get opportunities in HEP theory as an undergrad, so if you do great work you will stand out. Honestly, you will probably have to start learning GR and QFT by yourself anyway to do research.
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