Hello, I am an undergraduate going into my third year working on a double major with honors in Chemical Engineering and Physics and am trying to get a feel for my prospects regarding graduate school and beyond. I only declared my physics major this last semester so all I have taken are the introductory courses in mechanics and E&M, but I will be able to finish both degrees in the next two years My current GPA is less than stellar at around a 3.67 or so, but I am confident that I will be able to bring it up considerably over the next two years. Additionally, due to my GPA, I have been unable to join any honor societies though I am a member of AIChE and SPS. I have also been doing research in the chemical engineering department since freshman year in an area that basically falls between the realms of materials, chemical engineering, and physics. This research has been done during the school year and summer between my freshman and sophomore years. I have received a SURF grant for my personal project, but have not been able to produce any publications yet. Currently, I am doing a REU at a top 20 university in condensed matter physics, but once again I am not sure a publication will result from my work. I plan to continue in the fall in my research group and may try move into some more theoretical physics based work to get a feel for what it's like. I have not decided whether to try for another REU next summer or to continue a project at my home institution. It also may be relevant that I am attending a large state university ranked somewhere around 100 in physics and engineering, but they do seem to have good success with students receiving graduate fellowships and getting into top tier institutions. I expect to receive an outstanding letter of recommendation from my research mentor at home, but I am not sure about my REU. The professor I was supposed to be working with has been gone the entire program, so I have been working under a postdoc. Would a letter from a postdoc have any less impact than one from a professor? I believe that is it for my credentials thus far, so on to the questions... On my current track, how do my odds look for admission to a top tier university? Currently condensed matter physics is my primary interest, but that may change as I learn more. At what skill level should I be able to program? I know the basic stuff like for and while loops and if statements and whatnot, but I have not taken a college level course. This will probably be something I do on my own, so I am looking for a sort of benchmark to be considered proficient for necessary scientific applications. Assuming I get into a good program and get a PhD, would my chemical engineering background help me in getting a job in industry? I have read on here that a lot of jobs look for engineers and that its more difficult for physicists to land these jobs despite being more than capable. Would this close the gap at all? Also, I have a very full schedule for the next two years and will not be able to take a class in optics, and I am relying on a modern physics course to cover particle physics, special relativity, and the "specialized topics" for the physics GRE. The course description is: Introduction to special relativity, statistical physics, quantum physics, and a survey of nuclear and particle physics. Review of thermal radiation, photon, and wave mechanics. It uses Taylor's book. Does this seem sufficient or should I pick up some books to study the additional topics? I plan to self study optics from Hecht's book. Also my thermo will be coming from chemical engineering, so I may need extra study there as well. Another consideration I have to take into account is that I will be married or at least engaged to someone one year behind me when graduation comes around. She knows and fully supports me going to graduate school, but this has led me to consider an extra year of undergrad which would eliminate some of my concerns by affording time for more classes and also more research. Does this seem like a good or bad idea? Just looking for opinions on admissions chances. I understand the other complications regarding her goals and ability to find work somewhere I may already be attending school. I think these are my only questions for now, but I am also looking for any other advice any of you might have. Thanks to any of you who take the time to read all of this and help me out. I greatly appreciate it.