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Physics Interships & Career in physics

  1. Feb 7, 2007 #1
    Hi,
    I am a French student in theoretical physics i am doing a year abroad at the university of Texas at Austin.
    I am taking all the physics senior undergraduate courses UT offers, and my GPA is >3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

    I would like to get into a phd program here (UT or in the US), but i am only taking the GRE in april so i couldn't apply anywhere for Fall 2007.
    The question is : what should i do during fall2007 then ?
    I can only stay in the US if i have an internship ; i also have the opportunity to go to StonyBrook to take some grad courses too, but i dont know if it has a good grad program in physics.

    What should I do ?
    Internship during Fall2007 ? StonyBrook ? Go back to france for a year (in a physics master's degree) ?

    Thanks for your help !
    Benjamin
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2007 #2
    If you take graduate courses, can you get an assistantship? If so, then you'll be making money, and this is much better than doing an internship. If not, then you're probably better off making money for a semester (unless you happen to be rich). The only problem is that it's rather difficult to get internships in physics, at least in the corporate world. Sadly, physics isn't one of the more employable majors. So if you've got a decent math background, you might try finding an internship as an analyst.
     
  4. Feb 7, 2007 #3
    Hey,
    thanks for your quick answer.
    I should have said it in my first message but I actually care more for my academics than for money (-for the moment lol- my parents are still paying for me).

    No but i may be doing some tutoring so yes i would be earning money.

    Is it much better on my resume or for my budget :D ?

    That could be a good idea (i like finance). But I wouldn't like to stay 6months doing finance.../// maybe doing that over summer, but then i wanna do physics ! ;)

    Benjamin
     
  5. Feb 7, 2007 #4
    Oh, I see. If money isn't an issue, then that changes a few things. Based on my own experience, I would say it is better to use the time to take some graduate courses. Of course, take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm more or less in the same position as you (I recently graduated college, and I'm going to grad school this summer). But having spent time doing internships and looking for jobs in industry, I've become semi-competent to speak on this issue.

    Well here's the deal. Doing a physics-related internship is always good for your resume. On the other hand, taking graduate courses will lessen the time it takes you to get your Master's. An internship in physics will certainly look good to grad schools. But again, there aren't that many physics internships in industry. And if you take grad level classes before grad school (and get good grades, of course), then this shows grad schools that you're capable of doing well in graduate work. Based on my conversations with professors, department heads, and a director of graduate studies, demonstrating your academic skill carries more weight than having an internship.

    Oh by the way, you mentioned that your barrier to grad schools is that you haven't yet taken the GRE. Just so you know, there are some grad schools that don't require the GRE. The application deadline for most graduate programs has already passed. But there are a few out there who take applications until February 15. Even grad schools that don't require the GRE might ask for it if you have a low GPA or if you took many courses pass/fail, but since you have a GPA above 3.0, this shouldn't be a problem. I know it's hard to get letters of recommendation in the next 8 days. But if you can do it, you just might be able to get into grad school this fall.
     
  6. Feb 7, 2007 #5
    Hey,
    thanks again for answering !
    Ok, i'll think about that. Maybe i should try to do an internship over summer (if i find one !) - it is even more difficult for me coz most of the interships in the US are for US citizens or permanent residents /// I'll talk to my teachers about that.

    Nope in the US i have only taken 4 senior physics classes (with B's and A's). This semester i am taking 3 senior physics classes again + the senior lab (which is like 15hrs/week !). I can't really tell now (coz semester just started) but my GPA should still be over 3.0 this semester.

    A grad school that doesn't ask for the GRE.... are they good grad schools ? Do you know any ?

    If i find a good grad school, i should be able to get that on time...well i hope !

    Thanks again for your help.
    Benjamin
     
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