• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

Testing Physics GRE or Math GRE for theoretical physics?

I'm a student from the UK, completing a degree in theoretical physics. I'm interested in pursuing graduate opportunities in both the UK and the US. Of course, I am much more familiar with the 'UK standard' for graduate studies, in that the areas I want to pursue can fall into either the maths department or physics department of the specific university, but my understanding of the US system is somewhat lacking - to say the least.

I have had both a look at the physics GRE and maths GRE, and both seem reasonably manageable. My question is what would be the better route to take in looking at graduate studies in the US in pursuing theoretical physics; the maths or physics GRE?

Many thanks in advance.


Can you just take them both?
Many thanks for your quick response.

Yes, but not in the same 'testing period', and if applications/admissions to graduate studies are similar in the US and UK, the timescales do not necessarily overlap much in applying for graduate studies. (This is a fault on my part, in the sense that I need to do more research into what I plan to apply for next year and the respective application deadlines)

Having had a look at the testing dates, my 'plan' currently would be to take the physics GRE in the first available testing period, and the maths one in the second, although this makes it quite tight in then making further applications for graduates studies in terms of using the score from the second test period.

Perhaps a slight rephrasing of my question could be: Given the choice between the maths and physics GRE for theoretical physics, which would be the wiser option to pursue, given only one option?

Many thanks.

Vanadium 50

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor


Education Advisor
In the US, a graduate program in theoretical physics will typically be offered by the physics dept (perhaps there are outliers). Therefore, you will most likely be applying to the physics dept; in which case, the physics GRE would be desirable, and, in many instances, required.
Nice one, thanks very much Vanadium 50 and CrysPhys. I'll go for the physics GRE for definite then.


Want to reply to this thread?

"Physics GRE or Math GRE for theoretical physics?" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving