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Ph.D. Credentials

  1. Jul 29, 2010 #1
    Keeping it simple: on average for a university Ph.D. program in physics, what are the rough weightings of the different credentials for entrance?

    GPA (~25%) -also, does undergraduate school or class rank matter?
    Research (~30%) -for this: is quantity or the quality more important?
    GRE physics (~25%)
    Recommendation letters (~10%) -helped mostly by discussing with professors?
    GRE reasoning (~10%) -is math more important than verbal, analytical?

    If you think different schools vary widely in these, please provide a rough estimate on a grad program you have researched (if you know)


    EDIT: I just realized this may belong to Academic Guidance, so move it there if you see this
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2010 #2
    I would say its 33% physics GRE, 33% GPA and 33% research/letters. The actual weights used by the admission committee will vary alot around those numbers, maybe as much as +/- 20%.
  4. Jul 30, 2010 #3
    Academic's proportions seem reasonable, although I would label the 33% grades/coursework rather than GPA. As long as it's not horrible, raw GPA matters less than the "story" your transcript tells. Getting a B- in advanced quantum field theory looks a lot, lot, lot better than an A+ in consumer math. Also if you have a bad freshman year but your upper level classes are good, this looks ok. Conversely, if you have excellent freshman classes, but it looks like something bad happened junior year, this is bad.

    The reason that matters is that you shouldn't "pad" your transcripts with high grades from easy classes. Committees realize that people will do try to do this, and will look closely at the transcript to see whether this is going on.
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