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International student in USA

  1. Jan 15, 2009 #1
    Hey, I'm from Poland currently doing undergraduate studying. Now I have a few questions regarding studying in USA.

    In my country undergraduate course is only 3.5 year and then we have 1.5 year of graduate program. When should I apply to graduate program in the USA? I mean after 3.5 year I will already have a engineering title in physic and could do 1.5 year graduate program to become a M.S. I just don’t know if I could apply for graduate course after only 3.5 year course.

    Now I’m thinking of doing either Condensed Matter or Medical Physic. Right now I have options for great research in both discipline.
    What I’m wondering is how hard is it for a international student to get into a graduate course in this subjects?
    I mean I can’t compete with people from English speaking countries in GRE general (writing and verbal) but I’m confident I could get around 90-100% from the mathematic-logic part. I was trying also Physic GRE and it seems quite easy with some studying I could do 80-90%. I have GPA around 4.5 out of 5. TOEFL seems quite easy for me but this GRE general is not that easy. So what chances do I stand for graduate courses?

    Last question is whether is it more expensive to study in USA for a international student than for a USA citizens? I’ve read some diverse opinions about it. How easy is it to get a scholarship?

    Thanks for all the answers.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2009 #2


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    It is very likely that your 3.5 year program is equivalent to our bachelors degrees, so you could apply for an MS/PhD program in the US with just the 3.5 year degree. There are a few European students in my program with 3 year bachelors degrees from their countries.

    General GRE scores matter very little for admission to a physics grad program. Your TOEFL scores may make a difference, but you sound like you'll do fine at that. It's the physics subject GRE that counts, along with GPA, recommendations, and research background. They don't expect international students to have the same verbal and writing skills as US citizens and native English speakers.

    Physics grad programs should offer you an assistantship, either teaching or research (or some combination of the two). Don't accept an offer for grad school if it comes without an assistantship, at least in the US - it's considered standard to offer one.
  4. Jan 16, 2009 #3
    Thanks for your answers.
    I'm still wondering about how it is in USA with your MS/PhD thing. When you apply for a graduate program you automatically apply for a PhD program or it's just an option? In Europe you need to finish MS program first and then you can apply for a PhD, but in most cases it's not hard.

    What's still bothering me, do you have to pay for your education while doing PhD when you are MS already? In my country we earn a little money while doing PhD ( not enough to live but still some) How is it in USA?

    Is it possible to apply to a PhD course, with MS for example from European University? Is it harder or easier to get to PhD program than to a graduate course? And would I still need to take the GRE tests while applying for a PhD?

    I've just got an offer for next year to do one year of research in a great European University in Grenoble, so I'm looking for a variety of options.

    What I'm worried about is that if I would go to study in USA I might not get such a variety of options as I get here were we don't have much students and every student is important and taken care of properly. If I finish my education in Europe I think I would still have chance applying for a job in USA. The job opportunities in industry is the main factor of my interest in going there. Do you have any experiences of guys working in your industry coming directly from Europe?
  5. Jan 16, 2009 #4


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    Please read Chap VI and VII in my "http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df5w5j9q_5gj6wmt" [Broken]" essay.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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