PhD math/applied math/theoretical physics

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Is pure mathematics the only science subject which does not have a practical component at PhD level?

I.e. would applied maths/theoretical physics have a practical component at PhD level (would there be labs associated with doing a PhD in a.m./t.p.)?
 

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  • #2
cristo
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I don't think there are lab components to most PhD's in theoretical physics.
 
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Hootenanny
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I agree with cristo. As far as I am aware, the only 'lab' component that you *may* encounter during an App. Math / Theo. Phys. PhD would be computer simulations/ numerical analysis.
 
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My experience (US) is that many PhD programs require a lab course for all graduates, whether in theory or experiment. (Experimenters have to calculate, so fair is fair). I suspect that schools that encourage early specialization probably have a different set of requirements.
 
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cristo
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My experience (US) is that many PhD programs require a lab course for all graduates, whether in theory or experiment. (Experimenters have to calculate, so fair is fair). I suspect that schools that encourage early specialization probably have a different set of requirements.
Oh, I see that the OP was probably asking about the coursework component to a PhD in the US. Since there's no coursework element to a PhD in the UK I sometimes read 'PhD level work' as 'research' and forget about the coursework element in other programmes, hence I didn't see how theoretical research could involve lab work. I see that isn't the question: my mistake!
 
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Hootenanny
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My experience (US) is that many PhD programs require a lab course for all graduates, whether in theory or experiment. (Experimenters have to calculate, so fair is fair). I suspect that schools that encourage early specialization probably have a different set of requirements.
I had no idea that US PhD programmes require a lab component. How long does a typical PhD programme run for in the US?
 
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4-7 years, average 5-6. Usually there is 1-2 yrs of coursework focused work, followed by 3-5 years of research focused work, though people often do a little research during their first years and take the occasional course during their later years. Less than 4 is rare, as is more than 7.
 
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I know that many, if not all, US physics doctorate programs do not require a lab component for anyone specializing in theoretical physics.
 
  • #9
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Chicago requires a lab component for all of its PhD's.

Considering that at most universities one doesn't have to commit to an area of specialization until the second or third year, but that coursework occurs in the first two years (more or less), I don't even see how it would work to let theorists avoid lab classes.
 
  • #10
I was also hoping to get into theoretical physics but wanted to avoid taking a lab course. I know some schools like Chicago require it but I also saw a few that didn't.
 
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I think it's probably a mistake to decide as an undergraduate what will and will not be useful to you in graduate studies. I'd really be hesitant to select a university based on what you can get away with not learning.
 

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