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Interested in Nuclear Physics - How's my grad school list?

  1. Dec 1, 2014 #1
    Hey guys, I've been asking around trying to see what schools on my list are 'reach', 'safety', or 'matches' for my profile. I was wondering if you guys could take a look and let me know if there's something that's too crazy or well within reach (or if I should just wait 'till next semester based on my PGRE haha). If you guys know any Nuclear schools that fit my profile, lemme know!


    Undergrad Institution: Top 40 US World News (2014) - Big State School
    Major(s): Physics, Mathematics, French
    Minor(s): N/A
    GPA in Major: 3.3 Physics, 3.5 Math, 4.0 French
    Overall GPA: 3.6
    Length of Degree: 4 years
    Position in Class: Slightly above average
    Type of Student: Domestic white male

    GRE Scores :
    Q: 164 (89%)
    V: 159 (81%)
    W: 4.5 (80%)
    P: 640 (38%)

    Research Experience: Studied CLS limit setting for a semester, then moved on to FIR filtering programming for the current semester. No publications, but total research time is around a year.

    Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Deans list in a few semesters.

    Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Software Engineering Intern for a summer learning Javascript, Node.js, and general large networking problems. Not super relevant to physics, but it adds credibility to my programming skills.

    Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: N/A

    Special Bonus Points: 3 majors in 4 years.

    Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I've working fluency in french. Of my three letters, one comes from my experimental methods professor, whom I worked a lot with on an independent research topic, will be doing research with him the next semester. The other is from my Nuclear/Particle Physics course and the ~semester research, got along well with him. The last one comes from a french professor whom I've had for 3 courses, we get along very well. At least 2 of them will be very strong.

    Also I have 2 anomalous C's, one in Proof Writing, and the other in Electromagnetism 2, the only sub-B grades I've gotten. I also have a W in independent research for this semester due to time constraints.

    Applying to Where:
    Will be considering PHD -> Nuclear Theory/Experiment in all areas

    United States:

    Michigan State
    U Massachusetts Amherst
    Notre Dame
    U Connecticut
    U Delaware
    U William and Mary
    Virginia Tech
    George Washington U
    Temple U
    SUNY Buffalo
    UC Riverside

    U British Columbia

    U Pierre-Marie Curie
    U Joseph Fourier
    École Polytechnique/ETH Zurich (Joint Masters)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    A few things to consider:
    • 3.3 is not a high GPA
    • 38% is not a high PGRE
    • "Best student this year" is an average letter of recommendation, not a strong one. (Except perhaps at MIT or other giant schools)
    • Michigan State is the best school for nuclear physics in the country.
  4. Dec 2, 2014 #3
    • I know that for sure
    • That's the reason I'm asking around, because I really messed that one up
    • Luckily I have the research side to help my letter on that one
    • I'm aware of that, do you think it's too reach? Or is it worth a shot?
    Basically I'm stuck at whether I should just take a year off to fix up my PGRE and maybe take some grad classes to up my GPA. I'd like to apply this semester, but it's not looking super good.
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