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PhD's in theoretical physics

  1. Apr 27, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am a physics master's student in continental europe, and I am starting to look into phd positions in (mostly theoretical) high energy physics. I know this has been discussed quite a few times around here as i browsed a bit around but still, I am wondering which are the best places to apply to in HEP.
    Right now I am mostly interested in theoretical particle physics (qft, and maybe strings when i'll know enough to judge...) and cosmology (but I am also open to a more experimental path like particle phenomenology or even astrophysics if the subject is interesting enough)
    I think I am a pretty strong candidate, I graduated top5% from my bachelor and have some research experience (cern summer student and an internship in planetary physics the summer before but no publications alas), but the more I read, the more I feel like there will be 100 people just as good applying for any interesting positions...

    The places that caught my attention for now are

    -Cambridge, DAMTP
    -Oxford, Mathematical Institute
    but from what i understand it is almost impossible to get into these without doing the part iii in cambridge

    -Oxford, Theoretical Physics
    it seems to be very competitive but they are doing some pretty cool stuff in the particle theory group.

    -ENS Ulm, theoretical physics
    very good on the math side from what i understand

    -Imperial College, theoretical physics
    I don't know too much about the research at imperial. I have heard some not too nice things about the level in math there, but they seem to have a decent group in string & cosmology

    -ETH Zurich
    they have a pretty good theoretical physics department, and also lots of connections with cern on the experimental side

    -Cambridge, Cavendish
    not as theoretical but I am also open to particle phenomenology, and they are involved in interesting experiments.

    -Oxford, Particle Physics
    also not theoretical but they are doing some interesting research on atlas, and on neutrino experiments like SNO. from the website it also seems way less competitive then the theoretical program

    -University of Toronto
    i did an exchange year in canada, and from what i understand they have an excellent physics department

    I didn't really look into US universities as they all seem to require to take the GRE.
    On that topic, how much preparation does it take ? are the scores very important? I'd like to apply to US universities as well but I really won't have time to take more than a week or so to prepare for that this year, and I don't really want to take a gap year on the off chance that i score well enough and get accepted into a better program...

    Any comments or suggestions on other research groups ?

    Sorry if i'm not too coherent, it's 4 am and way past my bedtime...

    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  2. jcsd
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